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Dominate Play in Binghamton Devils Win Over Utica Comets

Four first period goals led the way in a 5-1 rout past Utica, as Binghamton earned four out of a possible four points on the weekend to stay in the thick of things in the North Division in third place

Binghamton, NY - Binghamton Devils’ goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (#29) stopped 30 shots on way to a 5-1 drubbing over the Utica Comets on Friday.
Photo provided by Alicia Strauch

Binghamton came out roaring in the opening period scoring four times in the first 8:29 as the Devils cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Utica Comets on Saturday at The Floyd. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 30 of 31 shots and Pavel Zacha had two assists as the Devils completed the weekend sweep.

It took just a 1:17 for Nick Lappin to net one on the team’s first shot for his team-leading eighth, as he punched in the puck amongst traffic in front of Utica netminder Ivan Kulbakov. Marian Studenic then followed up with a great individual effort near the crease, as he batted in his seventh goal of the season from his knees.

Photo provided by Alicia Strauch

Binghamton would tack on another just a minute later from a tip-in by Kurtis Gabriel again in front, for his first goal that chased Kulbakov after it was 3-0. He was replaced by back-up Connor LaCouvee, who is on a PTO and made his first career AHL appearance.

Devils would test the rookie goaltender with the first shot from defenseman John Ramage, as LaCouvee looked to have control issues as the puck bobbled behind him and into the net.

Utica would have some solace in the period with a late tally by Lukas Jasek as he flipped the puck up and over the outstretched glove of Blackwood for his fourth of the season that made it a 4-1 game after twenty minutes.

Photo provided by Alicia Strauch

Rookie Ryan Schmelzer would top off the scoring 4:11 in the second, as he took a backhand pass from behind the net from Michael McLeod and sent the puck by LaCouvee for his second of the season. Binghamton would go on and control play the rest of the night behind some steady saves in-between the pipes by Blackwood, as the team out-shot the Comets 32-31.

Line-Up, Game #15

Forwards: Quenneville - Zacha - Studenic, Pietila - Rooney - Lappin, Bastian - McLeod - Schmelzer, Gignac - Sharangovich - Gabriel

Defensemen: White - Gryba, Kapla - Ramage, Hammond - Jacobs

In Goal: Mackenzie Blackwood, Eddie Lack

Scratches: Eric Tangradi, Brian Strait both out injured. Healthy, Colby Sissons, Brandon Baddock and Blake Spers

Post Game Notes

  • Quenneville, Ramage and Rooney with the A’s.
  • The club has a record of 7-6-2-0 and in third place, a point behind second place Cleveland as the North Division starts to shape up with 3 games left in the 1st quarter.
  • Lappin finally ended a scoring drought after starting the season on fire with his second goal in the last three contests.
  • McLeod with 4 points on the weekend, 9 points in 14 games. Zacha with 2 assist, has 5 points in 4 outings and JQ with an assist tonight that gives him 7 points in 8 games.
  • Studenic with 2 goals on the weekend and now has 7, one behind team leader Lappin. Very smooth puck handler and fast on his feet. He’s been a treat to watch so far.
  • Ever since the TO called by Dennehy in Friday’s game, the club has responded with 7 goals in four periods. Perhaps this will be remembered as the turning point of the Devils’ season in looking back.
  • I noticed starting Comets’ goalie Kulbakov didn’t look sharp in warm-ups, and he definitely wasn’t with the early yank. It’s the little things you pick up on when coming to the rink early.

Three Stars

#1. Mackenzie Blackwood (30 saves), #2. Pavel Zacha (2a), #3. Marian Studenic (1g)

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Binghamton takes I81 N to Syracuse to face the Crunch on Wednesday.