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GOTTA SEE IT: Devils Prospect Scores Unique Shorthanded 6-on-3 Empty-Net Goal

Ryan Schmelzer scores a shorthanded, 6-on-3 empty net first period goal.

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New Jersey Devils

Well, you certainly don’t see this every day. The New Jersey Devils American Hockey League affiliate, Utica Comets, scored a unique shorthanded goal on Monday that you don’t typically see at any level.

Playing against the Syracuse Crunch, the Comets went down two men after Tyler Wotherspoon was sent to the box for cross-checking.

While the Crunch were holding a 2-1 lead just halfway through the first period, Syracuse head coach Joel Bouchard opted for a different strategy. 5-on-3 seemingly wasn’t enough for Bouchard as he pulled goaltender Matt Tomkins to give the Crunch a three-man, 6-on-3 advantage.

Fortunately for the Comets, it backfired against the Crunch.

An errant pass by the Crunch on the power play wound up on the stick of Comets captain Ryan Schmelzer in the Comets’ end of the ice. As a result, Schmelzer quickly attempted to clear the puck from Utica’s zone, and instead of just a standard clear, the puck wound up in the back of the Crunch’s net.

Schmelzer essentially scored a tri-shorthanded goal, his ninth goal of the 2023-24 AHL season. It’s certainly a unique goal that we’re not likely to see again for a long, long time. Perhaps Bouchard will think twice before pulling his goaltender so early in a game. The Crunch coach turned his team’s advantage into a disadvantage.

The unique Utica shorthanded goal was just one of six goals scored between the Comets and the Crunch in the first period. The chaotic first period ended in a tie. Joining Schmelzer on the scoresheet was Justin Dowling and Topias Vilen. Vilen’s goal is the Devils prospect defenseman’s first career AHL goal.

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