Photo via Utica Comets. All rights reserved.
After last night’s seven period barn burner in Utica, the Barons and Comets revved the engines for round two less than 24 hours later. Curtis Hamilton became the king of wishful thinking, and defeated the Comets in game one with a major (and I do mean major) assist to Richard Bachman.
With the game going deep, lineup changes were expected. They were few for Utica, but non-existent for the Barons as the away team iced an identical lineup to that on Thursday night. Noticeably absent from the Utica lineup was Darren Archibald, who was injured in game one. Archibald was an incredible workhorse for the Comets the night before, and his absence would be felt.
The game would again be a defensive battle from the goal out. Penalty killing was good despite penalties being few. Bachman and Markstrom duked it out again with both facing 30+ shots a piece. In all, it was nearly a carbon copy of the night before except the teams looked a bit gassed from the get go.
Connor Jones would opening the scoring nearly nine minutes into the game with assist to brother Kellen and sort-of-brother (in distant appearance only) Matt Ford. It seemed that the Barons would be ready to test Markstrom often.
Nearly a period and a half later the Utica Comets would tie the game. Adam Clendening, scoring his third of the postseason, would pot the games tying goal. Bachman had been beat, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.
The Barons sort of cooled off late in the game, and did their best to help tighten up defensively. It paid off, but earned another overtime appearance.
Ryan Hamilton would hold up a Utica player in the final seconds of regulation to give the Comets a power play to start the overtime frame. It was a smart penalty, in some regards, because it saved a potentially hostile scoring chance against Bachman.
As we all prepped our pajamas for another long haul of overtime, Alexandre Grenier scored the game winner a minute after the Barons killed off the Hamilton penalty. The game would end quickly this time around.
Utica would tie the series on Friday night, sending the two teams back to Oklahoma City for three straight starting Monday night.