Glens Falls, NY – The Adirondack Flames dropped another nailbiting decision to the Utica Comets, a 2-1 final at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Joni Ortio was stellar between the pipes with 32 saves in defeat, while Bryce Van Brabant had the lone goal for the visitors, his seventh of the season. Van Brabant’s goal now places him tied for third on the Flames in total goals with teammate Garnet Hathaway.
It was the Comets who struck first, for the second consecutive meeting, as Frank Corrado put a wrist shot from the right flank over Ortio’s blocker hand. Corrado was fed by center Cal O’Reilly, who collected his league high 25th assist of the season on the play. Wacey Hamilton also collected a helper on the play as Utica took a 1-0 lead.
The Flames got a quick one to open the second as Van Brabant redirected home a Tyler Wotherspoon shot just ten seconds after the puck dropped to begin the middle stanza. The goal was Van Brabant’s seventh of the season and the goal was the fastest in franchise history to open a period. Winger Michael Ferland also had an assist on the play, his third since he returned from Calgary.
Utica regained a one-goal advantage midway through the third period as Hunter Shinkaruk knocked home a loose puck in the crease past Ortio. Corrado had the primary helper on the play, as his original shot snuck through Ortio and fell right to Shinkaruk on the back post. Forward Ronalds Kenins also had an assist on the play for the Comets.
Adirondack nearly knotted the score late in the third period as they put a puck on the goal line with just a second to play but the buzzer sounded before the puck could cross the line. The loss was Adirondack’s fifth in as many meetings against Utica.
The Flames will return to action tomorrow as they visit the Hamilton Bulldogs in a 7:00 p.m. start, before they travel to Toronto for a 3:00 p.m. matinee with the Marlies on Sunday. Adirondack won’t be back home until December 31st, for a New Year’s Eve tilt with the Toronto Marlies. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with an indoor fireworks show to occur after the game. Tickets are still available for that contest and all remaining Flames’ home games. Visit the Flames box office, call 518-480-3355, or order online at glensfallscc.com to be a part of a New Year’s Eve celebration with the Flames.