UTICA — The first goal for Utica Comets fans on game night is scoring a good parking spot without risking a penalty from the Utica police.

That could be harder this year with on-street parking and lots on sections of Lafayette, Columbia and State streets and Broadway taken out of play by the downtown hospital project.

But city officials say there’s no reason to face off with other drivers. There are plenty of spots to go around, city officials say — especially for those willing to pay $5.

The $5 paid parking lot at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium has 550 public spaces that don’t fill up for every game, according to a Comets spokeswoman. And the city will open the 450-space Kennedy Parking Garage at Columbia and Cornelia streets for the game tonight, said Deputy City Engineer Michael Mahoney. It will cost $5 because the city has to pay an attendant, he said.

"If people end up parking in there, then we’ll keep it open for the games," he said.

The Washington Street Parking Garage also will be open for games, Mahoney said.

There is free parking around as well, including 42 spaces available in the city lot at Broadway and Oriskany Street, across from the city court building. The city has worked on the lot since last season, including painting lines and putting in a new electrical system, Mahoney said.

"That lot is lit, is clean and parkable," he said.

It is, however, unattended, he cautioned.

If that lot is full, there are other free parking options.

"It all depends how far people want to walk," said Utica police Lt. Bryan Coromato.

There are 185 parking spaces in "underused" lots next to Compassion Coalition and across Court Street at the Columbia side of the Brodock Press lot, Mahoney said. But not all those spaces are public, he cautioned.

There is also on-street parking in many areas across downtown.

"The police department does ticket, so I would urge people to pay attention to the signs," Mahoney said.

Coromato didn’t know of any particular illegal spot where fans tend to park.

"I’m sure there’s tickets issued to people at different events," he said. "We do get complaints here and there."

Mahoney did point out one lot where fans would be parking on thin ice.

"Don’t park in the Enterprise (Rent-A-Car) lot, that’s for sure," he said. "Enterprise will tow."