Comets Win Home Opener Behind Shinkaruk’s Hat Trick
A raucous crowd welcomed the return of hockey at the Utica AUD on Wednesday night as the 2015-16 Utica Comets earned their first win of the young season, 4-2 over Rochester.
The electric atmosphere was sparked by a pregame video tribute to last year's team, which made a deep playoff run and battled for the Calder Cup crown. Opening ceremonies included the unveiling of two banners that will fly over the playing ice: One for their North Division title and the other for their Western Conference title, a bit ironic considering Utica has since switched to the Eastern Conference.
Ironic, as well, as possibly the biggest ovation during introductions came when Cal O'Reilly, now a member of the opposing Rochester Americans, was announced. He was part of the pre-game festivities and was on the ice with the current Comets for the tribute, albeit in a Rochester uniform.
Meanwhile, the home crowd had plenty to cheer about during the game, as Hunter Shinkaruk tallied a hat trick.
The Comets (1-2) continue their homestand at the AUD with games on Friday and Saturday nights.