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

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Hockey players will take goals whenever they can get them, but one AHL player probably didn’t want his latest to happen the way it did. 

The Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, played the Buffalo Sabres’ affiliate, the Rochester Americans, this past Friday night when Comets forward Graeme Clarke skated toward goal and lifted a wrist shot toward net. 

The only problem was his teammate, Joe Gambardella, was in front of the net and the puck was heading straight toward his face. It ended up making contact with it, but the result wasn’t just a bloody mouth. 

Gambardella’s face provided the ricochet the puck needed to redirect back toward goal and get past the Americans’ netminder.

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


It was the second goal of the game for Utica and Gambardella’s sixth of his season, as the Comets went on to defeat the Americans, 4-0. 

Joe Gambardella celebrates goal

Gambardella, an alternate captain with the Comets, is a Staten Island, New York native who has a few games of NHL experience which came during the 2018-19 with the Edmonton Oilers. 

He has been in the Devils’ system since the 2021-22 season, and he currently has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 37 games this year. 

Joe Gambardella shoots

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

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