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The Utica Comets surrendered three first period goals and fell 3- 1 to the Syracuse Crunch at the OnCenter War Memorial to open up their home-and-home preseason series with their I-90 rival on Saturday night.

In his first game wearing a Comets sweater, Thatcher Demko started and played in two periods and stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced. Kevin Carr stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period. Jordan Subban (1-0-1), and Cole Cassels (0-1-1) tallied points for the Comets in the loss.

The Crunch jumped to a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal from Adam Erne just a few minutes into the first period. Erne redirected Dylan Blujus’s blast past Demko for his first of the preseason.

Just seconds later, Cameron Darcy cut to the net from the sideboards, and snuck the puck under Demko’s left leg pad for the 2-0 Crunch lead.

After scoring a power-play goal and an even strength goal, the Crunch chipped in a short-handed tally when Gabriel Dumont put the finishing touches on a breakaway that Demko originally denied.

The score stayed 3-0 until halfway through the third period, when Subban found the back of the net for the Comets. On the power play, the sophomore defenseman wristed a shot over the glove of Wilcox from the top of the circle, for the Comets lone marker. Cole Cassels assisted on the goal.

The two-game preseason series shifts back to the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the Comets first ever preseason game on home ice. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. Prior to the game, the fourth annual Fan Fest will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside The AUD.

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