The Comets got another remarkable effort from their goaltender Saturday.
Rookie Mike DiPietro was locked in with the Comets not sharp in other areas against the Hershey Bears.
DiPietro made a career-best 38 saves — and halted all three Bears in a shootout — and Reid Boucher got the winner to help the Comets earn a 2-1 victory Saturday in Hershey.
Perhaps almost more important is that the win pushed the Comets to 7-0-0-0, which is the team's best start in their seven seasons. Combined with Toronto’s overtime loss to Binghamton on Saturday that means the Comets are the lone undefeated team in the American Hockey League. Utica has accumulated 14 points and trail Hartford by one for most in the AHL.
Boucher — who is tied for the AHL-lead with nine goals — ended the game in the third round of the skills competition when the veteran forward weaved in wristed a shot over the leg of Vitek Vanecek, who was also sharp with 18 saves.
The Comets — who were coming off a 5-1 victory over Binghamton on Friday — have totaled an AHL-best 36 goals in the seven games while holding the opposition to 13, which is tied for fewest in the league.
DiPietro — who had a standout junior career and is a touted prospect in the Vancouver Canucks organization — was especially sharp over the final 45 minutes when the Bears had control of the game. He turned in six saves in overtime, including on Beck Malenstyn with 41 seconds remaining. He
The effort was all part of what has been a strong start for the 20-year-old DiPietro, who has won all three of his starts. He has a 1.62 goals-against average. Zane McIntyre is also 4-0 with a goals-against under 2 in his first season with the Comets.
Adam Gaudette — playing his second game with the Comets since being assigned Thursday — gave the Comets a 1-0 lead in the first period when he sent a laser over Vanacek’s shoulder from the left circle less than 10 minutes into the game. Sven Baertschi and Guillaume Brisebois each had assists on the goal.
Hershey was the better team over the final 40 minutes of regulation and peppered DiPietro, who made several quality stops. The Comets’ defense was especially solid in the second period with several quality blocked shots. Utica was also 3-for-3 on the penalty kill in the period.
However, the Bears forced extra time when Philippe Maillet’s shot from the right circle glanced off DiPietro’s glove and in with 13:51 to play.