UTICA, N.Y (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The long-awaited first puck drop at the Nexus Center occurred on Wednesday night as the Utica Junior Comets NCDC team played host to the Mercer Chiefs in a regular season game, winning 1-0.

It was a big night for Central New York locals, the entire starting line and starting defensive pair are from the greater Utica area, defensemen Will Hilton and Jason Shafer from New Hartford and Westmoreland respectively, Proctor grads and Mohawk Valley Raider alums Peyton Kimball and brothers Kyle and Andrew Martino the starters, with Andrew taking the ceremonial first puck drop. JD Speer, a Hamilton native who played at Cazenovia High School until 2019 scored the third-period game-winning goal and Waylon Esche, son of Utica Comets owner and former NHL and Team USA goaltender Rob Esche, posted a 40-save, 1-0, shutout victory for the Junior Comets.

The building was not open to the public for this game but will be starting on Friday. It will host the first part of its Grand Opening Series starting at 9:30am as the Clinton Comets take on the Squirt AA Junior Comets on the Mastrovito Hyundai main rink.