A late second period goal from Blair Jones stood up as the winner in the Utica Comets 3-2 victory over the Portland Pirates Wednesday night at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The Pirates got off to a good start, opening the scoring on a Vincent Saponari tally at 8:19 of the first period. The goal was set up by Zac Larraza (just up from ECHL Manchester) and Chase Balisy.
Utica tied the game at the 18:04 mark when Darren Archibald beat Mike McKenna, with the assists going to Alex Friesen and Joseph Labate.
The Comets struck again 56 seconds later to go ahead 2-1. Ashton Sautner got the goal from Hunter Shinkaruk and Jones.
Veteran winger Rob Schremp evened the game for Portland at the 6:53 mark of the second period. The power-play goal was Schremp's team-leading sixth, with the helpers going to Cameron Gaunce and Rob Flick.
Jones' game-winner came with 1:21 left in the middle frame with the lone assist going to Carter Bancks.
Joe Cannata made 9 of his 25 saves in the third period to preserve the Comets one-goal advantage.
McKenna finished with 19 saves for the Pirates and saw his record drop to 2-3.
Portland (3-5) returns home to Cross Insurance Arena to face the Springfield Falcons (3-4-1) on Friday night.
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