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Of all the ways to get noticed by your boss, Utica Comets defenceman and New Jersey Devils prospect Nikita Okhotiuk may have picked one of the boldest.
The gritty blueliner, who finished second on the Comets in PIMs this year, laid an absolute beatdown on Rochester Americans defender Casey Fitzgerald in AHL playoff action Tuesday night.
Perhaps more notable than the tilt, which ended in a Okhotiuk takedown, is that Casey is the son of Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald, who runs the NHL affiliate of the Comets.
The one-sided scrap saw the two defenders trade blows before the larger Okhotiuk took charge and wrestled Fitzgerald to the ice, much to the dismay of the home crowd.
— Josh (@joshlangerr) May 18, 2022
Okhotiuk was selected by Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils with the 61st pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. After spending the entirety of last season in the AHL, the Russian defenceman made a five-game cameo with the Devils this year, picking up a goal and an assist.
Casey Fitzgerald, a third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres back in 2016, made his NHL debut this year as well after spending three years in the minors. The Massachusetts native played 36 games for Buffalo, serving mostly as a depth piece and picking up six assists.
As for the game itself, the Comets ultimately came out on top in the scrap and on the scoreboard, pushing their best-of-five semifinal series with the Americans to a decisive Game 5.
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