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Ready to rebound

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
It’s odd being in a hockey rink mid-June, then again, the Utica Comets never left.

The Comets, the Vancouver Canucks American Hockey League affiliate, have added nearly two months of outstanding hockey to a fantastic regular season and are now competing in a best-of-seven series for the AHL Championship trophy, the Calder Cup.

Standing in their way: the Manchester Monarchs.

The series began last weekend with Games 1 and 2 played in Manchester; the Monarchs were a goal better in both outings, twice beating the Comets in overtime.

Checking in with the Comets Wednesday morning at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica, New York, one might assume the Comets are leading the series 2-0 instead of trailing. The guys were loose and playful and after a group of eight players watched Live! with Kelly and Michael (featuring 50 Cent) while eating breakfast, preparations for Game 3 began.

The Comets know what’s at stake: win and it’s a whole new series. Lose and, “that’s not an option actually,” smiled Jacob Markstrom.

The x-factor Wednesday night, as the Comets mentioned, will be home ice advantage and a whiteout home crowd as rowdy as they come in the AHL.

Tickets for Games 3, 4 and 5 sold out in 124 minutes and that’s good news for the home team, which boasted a 17-7-2-0 record this season during sellouts and 25-10-3-0 record at The Aud overall (best in the Western Conference).

For as much as the players are preparing for Game 3, Comets fans are as well. Puck drop isn’t until 7 p.m. EST, yet the organic, fan-driven festivities will start roughly three hours prior in a gravel parking lot adjacent to the Aud.

It’s obvious Uticans take their hockey seriously when they arrive at the rink before the players.

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Check Canucks.com regularly for exclusive content from Utica; we’ll be posting stories and videos daily throughout the Calder Cup final.

For up the minute updates, follow @VanCanucks on Twitter and Canucks on Instagram for the latest.

Also, all games can be streamed free on-line at ahllive.com; you can watch on your desktop or laptop through ahllive.com, or download the official AHL Live app from iTunes or Google Play to watch on your mobile device or tablet.

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