Kimberley native Carter Bancks and the Utica Comets have been eliminated from the American Hockey League post-season following a 6-3 loss to the Albany Devils in Game 4 of the teams’ best-of-five first-round series Thursday.
“Anytime you lose, it’s not a lot of fun, it’s not a great feeling in that dressing room right now,” Bancks said in a post-game interview with uticacomets.com. “We battled through some adversity this year. You’ve got to give [Albany] credit — they’re a good hockey team over there.
“We fought hard and laid it all on the line, made our best push.”
The Comets fell behind 4-0 before getting on the scoreboard late in the second period, though the Devils responded to take a 5-1 advantage into the dressing room after 40 minutes.
A third-period push saw the Comets claw back with two goals before a late empty-net tally clinched the series for Albany.
“We pushed hard, we got some big goals from some guys,” Bancks said. “The energy in the building was buzzing and we had total belief that we could come back in that game.
“No one quit. Everyone laid it on the line. We did everything we could to tie that hockey game and we came up short. It’s extremely disappointing, but that’s hockey. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The 2015-16 campaign was a career best for the 26-year-old Bancks, who registered regular-season bests in goals (14), assists (25) and points (39), while being recognized with the Tom McVie Award as coach’s most valuable player as well as the Utica Comets Man of the Year Award for his community initiatives.
The Comets finished the regular season third in the AHL’s North Division with a record of 38-26-8-4 a year after making a trip to the Calder Cup championship.
“It’s definitely been a fun ride here,” Bancks said. “Obviously, last year we had a great run but came up short. This year we came up a little shorter. There are definitely positives you can take from it. We’re building an identity for ourselves as a team. I think teams expect a hard game from us every time we show up.”
In 357 career AHL regular season games split between the Comets and Abbotsford Heat, Bancks has tacked up 35 goals, 70 assists and 105 points, adding one assist in 39 post-season contests.
The Albany Devils advance to the AHL’s second round where they face the Toronto Marlies in the North Division final.