The Utica Comets (31-30-5-4) gained some ground on a playoff position this past week picking up three of a possible six points, but a late third period collapse on Saturday cost them a valuable point.
Friday, April 4: Utica Comets 5 – Toronto Marlies 1
-After being outplayed and trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, a couple second period scraps seem to spark the Comets as they netted five goals in the middle stanza en route to a 5-1 win on Friday night.
-Pascal Pelletier (16, 17) scored twice, while Alex Friesen finished with a goal (4) and one assist.
-Frank Corrado (6) and Brandon DeFazio (16) added singles for the Comets.
-Joacim Eriksson turned aside 21 shots in the Comets crease, earning his 22nd win of the season.
-Darren Archibald took on former NHL pugilist Brad Staubitz early in the second period and less than two minutes later Alex Mallet earned the decision over former Portland Winterhawk Brad Ross in a short scrap.
-Kellan Lain grabbed two helpers on the night, while Alex Biega, Alexandre Grenier, Cal O’Reilly, Henrik Tommernes and Jeremy Welsh all finished with one assist.
-Tommernes and Welsh led all skaters with a plus-2 rating, while Pelletier led the Comets with three shots on goal.
Saturday, April 5: Syracuse Crunch 6 – Utica Comets 5 (OT)
-Holding a 5-2 lead with just 1:39 remaining it appeared the Comets were going to coast to a victory. Then, it all fell apart. The Crunch scored three times in the final 99 seconds of the game to force overtime where they would secure the extra point midway through the frame.
-Alex Friesen (5, 6) scored twice and added an assist, while Cal O’Reilly (4) and Jeremy Welsh (5) both finished with a goal and a helper.
-Patrick Kennedy (1) notched his first career AHL goal to round out the scoring for the Comets.
-Joacim Eriksson made 25 saves on the night.
-Alex Beiga, Kellan Lain and Yann Sauve all picked up one assist in the game, while Lain also finished with a team-high plus-2 rating.
-Henrik Tommernes led all Comets skaters with five shots on goal.
Sunday, April 6: Toronto Marlies 3 – Utica Comets 2
-Two goals in a span of one minute and 43 seconds early in the first period gave Toronto a 2-0 lead and the Comets, playing in their third game in less than three days (with travel), couldn’t climb back, falling 3-2 on Sunday.
-Cal O’Reilly (5) and Pascal Pelletier (18) both tallied for the Comets.
-Alexandre Grenier registered two assists in the game, while Brandon DeFazio picked up one helper.
-Joe Cannata stopped 33 of the 36 shots fired his way between the barber poles for the Comets.
-Darren Archibald led all skaters with five shots on net.
Comet of the Week
It’s been quite the change for Alex Friesen over the last month of the season. An expanding role has led the St. Catherines, Ontario product to produce at a point-per-game pace as of late, as Friesen has notched 14 points (6-8-14) over the past 14 games, including five points (3-2-5) in three games this past week. With just two assists in his first 34 games, the sudden outburst in production is an encouraging sign for the Canucks prospect who posted a combined 197 points (75-122-197) over his last three seasons in the OHL.
Just six games and two weeks of action remain for the Comets to gain some valuable points and lock down a playoff spot. The Comets will wrap up their five-game road trip this week with games in Lake Erie on Thursday and Friday against the Monsters (29-32-0-9), before traveling to Adirondack on Sunday to take on the Phantoms (27-36-1-3).