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AHL hockey player scores goal after being hit in mouth by puck

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Hockey players score whenever they can, but one AHL player probably didn’t want his latest game to turn out this way.

The Utica Comets, an AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, played against the Rochester Americans, an affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, last Friday night, and Comets forward Graham Clark skated toward the goal and headed toward the net. He hit a wrist shot.

The only problem was that teammate Joe Gambardella was in front of the net and the puck was heading straight for his face. I ended up making contact, but the result was more than just bleeding from the mouth.

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Utica Comets center fielder stands on the ice during the third period of the American Hockey League game between the Utica Comets and the Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 2, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. , Joe Gambardella (15 years old). (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gambardella’s face gave the puck the bounce it needed to redirect toward the goal and past the American netminder.

The Comets immediately knew whose goal it was when Gambardella quickly grabbed his face and skated toward the bench to get the trainer’s attention.

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The Comets defeated the Americas 4-0, and it was Utica’s second goal of the game and Gambardella’s sixth of the season.

Joe Gambardella celebrates his goal

Utica Comets right wing Graham after Gambardella scores in the third period of the American Hockey League game between the Utica Comets and the Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage on Dec. 2, 2023. – Clark, 92, and Utica Comets center Joe Gambardella, 15, are happy. Field House in Cleveland, Ohio. (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gambardella, an alternate captain for the Comets, is a native of Staten Island, New York, and has played several NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers in the 2018-19 season.

He joined the Devils’ system in the 2021-22 season and has so far appeared in 37 games this year, scoring 6 goals and 14 assists for 20 points.

Joe Gambardella shoots

Utica Comets center fielder during the third period of the American Hockey League game between the Utica Comets and the Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 2, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe Gambardella (15 years old) took a shot and scored. (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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And one of those goals he won’t soon forget. The pain was temporary, but the memory will last forever.

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