TORONTO — The Utica Comets rebounded on the road against the Toronto Marlies.
Veteran Reid Boucher and rookie Adam Gaudette each played prominent roles for Utica.
Boucher scored twice on the power play and added an assist and Gaudette had a goal and two assists as the Comets grabbed a 7-4 victory over the Marlies on Saturday in the opening game of the back-to-back series.
The effort continues a scorching start for the 25-year-old Boucher, who played in his 350th career pro game Saturday. According to the American Hockey League, Boucher is the first AHL player with seven goals in his team’s first four games since Providence’s Frank Vatrano during the 2015-16 season.
The Comets’ seven goals match a team record for the most in a game. It is the sixth time the Comets have scored seven goals.
The North Division rivals have combined for 21 goals in two meetings; Toronto won the first game 7-3 on Oct. 5 in Utica.
Utica (2-2-0-0) also got multi-point efforts from Darren Archibald (goal, assist) and Tanner Kero (two assists) and nine other players picked up at least a point against the struggling Marlies (1-3-0-0).
Tanner MacMaster, Brendan Woods and Lukas Jasek also scored in support of goaltender Ivan Kulbakov, who had 30 saves in his Comets debut to earn his first AHL win. Kulbakov, signed in the offseason, split time between the AHL and ECHL last season.
For the second time in as many days, the Comets got off to a flying start. Unlike the previous game, Utica built a comfortable lead.
Archibald gave Utica 1-0 lead 1:59 into the game when he tapped in a backdoor feed on the short side from Gaudette. The goal was setup with a nice cross-ice feed by defenseman Jesse Graham.
The Comets made it a four-goal first period after MacMaster finished a 2-on-1 rush with Boucher, Woods redirected in Guillaume Brisebois’ shot and Gaudette cleaned up his own rebound. The goals were scored over a span of 4 minutes, 12 seconds.
Utica pushed the lead to 6-0 on Boucher’s power-play goal and then Jasek’s tally on a backdoor feed from Carter Bancks over a six-minute span in the second period. Jasek’s goal also ended Kasimir Kaskisuo’s night with 18 saves on 24 shots.
Toronto didn’t go away quietly, though. Utica gave up its league-worst fourth shorthanded goal when Dmytro Timashov scored late in the second. Toronto also go goals less than two minutes in the third form Jeremy Bracco and former Comets forward Griffen Molino to make it 6-3.
The teams traded power-play goals later in the third. Boucher put his own rebound in with 11:39 to play to help Utica finish 2-for-6 on the advantage before Emerson Clark’s shot deflected off Dylan Blujus’ skate and in about five minutes later.
Comets 7, Marlies 4
Utica;4;2;1 - 7
Toronto;0;1;3 - 4
1st Period-1, Utica, Archibald 2 (Gaudette, Graham), 1:59. 2, Utica, MacMaster 1 (Boucher, Kero), 13:48. 3, Utica, Woods 1 (Brisebois, Chatfield), 16:19. 4, Utica, Gaudette 2 (Archibald), 18:10. Penalties-Bancks Uti (instigating, fighting, misconduct - instigating), 5:39; Clark Tor (fighting), 5:39; LoVerde Tor (interference), 13:58; Graham Uti (holding), 19:20.
2nd Period-5, Utica, Boucher 6 (Juolevi, Kero), 2:39 (PP). 6, Utica, Jasek 1 (Bancks), 7:04. 7, Toronto, Timashov 1 (Moore, Rosen), 19:34 (SH). Penalties-Cracknell Tor (tripping), 1:21; Blujus Uti (hooking), 3:15; Cracknell Tor (tripping), 7:17; MacEwen Uti (interference), 9:12; Sautner Uti (cross-checking), 11:29; Dahlen Uti (slashing), 14:14; Subban Tor (checking to the head), 18:04.
3rd Period-8, Toronto, Bracco 1 (Borgman, Gagner), 0:15. 9, Toronto, Molino 1 (Nielsen), 1:10. 10, Utica, Boucher 7 (Dahlen, Gaudette), 8:21 (PP). 11, Toronto, Clark 1 (Moore, Nielsen), 13:41 (PP). Penalties-Chatfield Uti (holding), 4:46; Timashov Tor (diving/embellishment), 4:46; Borgman Tor (boarding), 7:39; Sautner Uti (high-sticking), 11:59; Cracknell Tor (holding), 19:57.
Shots on Goal-Utica 19-8-8-35. Toronto 13-13-8-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 2 / 6; Toronto 1 / 6.
Goalies-Utica, Kulbakov 1-0-0 (34 shots-30 saves). Toronto, Kaskisuo 1-2-0 (24 shots-18 saves); Glass 0-1-0 (11 shots-10 saves).
Referees-Michael Markovic (47), Mackenzie Nichol (68). Linesmen-Kyle DeCoste (29), Jean Menard (12).