UTICA, N.Y. – Darren Archibald scored 10:58 into overtime to lift the Utica Comets to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night at the sold-out Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Despite 50 saves by goaltender Jordan Binnington, the Wolves trail the Comets 2-1 in their best-of-five Western Conference Quarterfinals. The series could be 2-1 the other way if not for Utica’s controversial game-tying goal in the third period.
Comets defenseman Adam Clendening was credited with a goal at 6:58 of the third, though multiple replays did not confirm his shot crossing the goal line. Officials did not use the video replay system to review the play.
“I was screened and I heard it hit the crossbar,” Binnington said. “Immediately as a goalie, you go into a snow angel and I felt it under my back or butt there. The ref’s initial reaction looked like he wasn’t sure, but they told me I hit it in after. I haven’t seen (a replay), so I can’t comment on it, but I didn’t think I dragged it in.”
The Wolves held a 1-0 lead most of the night on center Colin Fraser’s goal. Utica outshot the Wolves 17-5 in the opening 18 minutes, but Fraser jumped on a turnover in the neutral zone, pulled up above the right circle and unleashed a shot that whizzed past Comets goaltender Jacob Markstrom’s blocker at 18:31 of the first.
“I was just trying to get it on net,” Fraser said. “I got a little bit lucky and went 7-hole on him.”
The Comets delivered Clendening’s equalizer as the Wolves tried to kill Utica’s fifth and sixth power plays of the night following Petteri Lindbohm’s high-sticking double-minor.
After an extended possession in the Wolves zone, Clendening’s slap shot from the high slot hit the crossbar and dropped to the ice. While Binnington lay prone on the puck and several players jostled in the crease, the arena lights dimmed and the officials waited several seconds before ruling Clendening’s shot a goal.
Archibald delivered the game-winner in overtime as he carried the puck down the left side and fired a wrister that beat a lunging Binnington on the glove side.
Binnington (1-2) set a season-high with his 50 saves. Markstrom (2-1) posted 26 saves for his second overtime win of the series.
— Courtesy Chicago Wolves