Utica! liveblog

The Utica Comets have a long and storied history. Sorta.

They moved this year from Peoria. They moved to Peoria in 2005 from Worcester, Mass. (Last Bridgeport game against this franchise: Feb. 20, 2005, Sound Tigers 4, IceCats 1).

Roy Boe bought that team from Peter Cooney (now a player agent; you may’ve seen him around the arena) to move to Worcester in 1994. For most of the previous almost-60 years, that team was in Springfield, and for most of those most-ofs, they were the Springfield Indians, Eddie Shore’s Springfield Indians.

So these aren’t the Utica Devils of Marty Brodeur and one Scott Pellerin. But they have a long and storied history. Sorta.

This was a trip I was hoping to make — a Western Conference game? Be still my heart — but we’ll be listening to Comets broadcaster Brendan Burke and following him, the Observer Dispatch and of course Corey on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Dave Stickney tweeted the other day that both he and Utica’s Dustin Flynn hail from the same hometown and the same high school. Neat little note. (Lancaster, N.H., and White Mountains Regional in Whitefield, if I’ve done the math right.)

From yesterday, RIP, the great Nelson Mandela.

The ECHL announced yesterday that Wes Goldie will be among the inductees to its Hall of Fame on Feb. 7. Goldie played two games for Bridgeport in Norfolk in 2004. They turned out to be his only two AHL games.

More in a bit.

–Word from up there is Parker Milner gets Start No. 2 up here.

F: Lee-Strome-Halmo
Sim-Sundstrom (A)-Wiles
Larson-Langkow-Bruton (C)
D: Donovan (A)-Cantin
G: Milner

The box will be here: R: T.Koharski. L: Kotyra, Sylvester.

Prescout, eventually: Teddy Bear Toss tomorrow.

–Audio just kicked in for me, but looks like Joacim Eriksson in net for Utica.

–Keenan had a big early chance, but it sounds as if the Comets have most of the chances the rest of the way here, roughly midway first.

–But Bridgeport puts some pressure on and keeps the Comets from changing, leading to a turnover and Quine’s second goal 12:48 into the game.

–Jon Sim makes it 2-0 with his first goal at 17:11. Long shot on the rush.

–That’s how it stands after one. Shots on the gamesheet at the moment are 12-10 Bridgeport.

–Ol’ buddy Brandon DeFazio was in on a few Utica scoring chances in the first. He’s in on the first Utica goal, on the rush, a two-on-one setup to Patrick Mullen, 2-1 early second.

–A good shift from the top line, a good chip-out (not positive if it was Donovan or Cantin), a good Strome pass, a good Lee shot, and a good job by Halmo to bury the rebound. 3-1 Bridgeport. Strome’s got an eight-game scoring streak.

–And with that it’s time for our regular joke that Strome ties Josh Bailey for the longest current active Sound Tigers streak.

–Strome’s is the 25th regular-season streak of eight or better by a Sound Tiger (Raffi Torres, 11, and Justin Mapletoft, 8, both did it in the 2002 playoffs.) The record is 12, by Jeff Hamilton and Frans Nielsen, ending exactly a year apart, 2006 and 2007.

–Cantin takes a shot to the face early in a Quine hooking minor, the first penalty of the game. He goes off under his own power, very quickly, so hopefully the visor got most of that. Benn Ferriero scores soon after to make it 3-2.

–Cal O’Reilly and Ferriero move it back and forth across the dots on that goal, a couple of guys who know what they’re doing out there.

–Dallas Jackson gets a hit on David Marshall that earns a penalty. Terry Koharski takes Brandon DeFazio for going into the scrum after Jackson. Two minutes of four-on-four.

–The Sound Tigers get their first four-on-four goal of the season with 25.4 seconds left in the second. A three-on-two; Bridgeport keeps working at it, and Donovan puts in a rebound with Lee and Strome. It’s 4-2 Sound Tigers after two.

–Brendan Burke is running down all the undrafted players on Bridgeport. Hadn’t thought about that as much as that, of the 20 guys the Sound Tigers dressed tonight, just nine are on NHL deals.

–Have been informed I should refer to Marshall as “Quinnipiac’s David Marshall.” (Cough)

–Halmo leads Strome, who gets a step on the defense and scores on a wrister a bit over seven minutes into the third, making it 5-2 Bridgeport.

–Could swear Brendan said the goal came with 12:49 left. It’s been announced at 7:10. Details. Anyway. The Sound Tigers have played only six games without a power play in 12 and a quarter seasons; if Terry Koharski doesn’t find one in the next 10 minutes, not only will this be No. 7, but it’ll be the second in seven games. Meanwhile, Strome takes a bump from Pascal Pelletier, and they jab at each other after the whistle to earn penalties. … and Mayfield gets an extra minor… and off the draw, Weber scores to make it 5-3.

That paragraph got complicated. Sorry.

Center point through traffic with 9:25 left.

–Bridgeport kills a Nick Larson hooking penalty that comes with 4:01 remaining, but then ices the puck and calls time out with 1:46 to go.

–Most of, if not all, the same group is still on the ice for another icing with 1:05 to go.

–They get through it (and do get through it without a power play): Bridgeport 5, Utica 3, final.

–In the first period, Scott Pellerin said, Bridgeport turned the puck over 16 times. Pellerin aims to keep it under 15. In three periods. “(Utica) really put a lot of pressure on us early. The D were pinching,” Pellerin said. “I told them after the first period, it was unacceptable. They know it.” He said Wetmore and Johnson were able to sustain some zone time and play physical and tuurn some momentum. “The other guys started to kind of follow along,” Pellerin said.

On Strome, he has seen improvement in a lot of different areas, using his transition game, playing in all three zones, getting in on the forecheck, competing, using his shot: A lot of things have been coming along for him.

Pellerin said Cantin was cut near the ear on that shot and didn’t return.

They’ll ride home tonight; Hershey’s coming in from Binghamton, which is a slightly shorter ride, but I think Bridgeport’s game ended a few minutes earlier.

Michael Fornabaio