Three straight losses in Oklahoma and Texas this past week have the Utica Comets (11-19-2-3) feeling the blues as of late as the Canucks AHL affiliate have now dropped five in a row and seven of their last eight. However, on a bright note, it appears prospect Nicklas Jensen is getting back on track after producing his best week of the season.Weekly ResultsThursday, January 9th: Oklahoma City Barons 3 – Utica Comets 2 (OT) -The Comets couldn’t hold onto a late lead as the Barons scored with just four seconds remaining in the third period, sending the game to overtime where they would net the game-winner just 17 seconds in.
-Nicklas Jensen scored his second and third goals of the season to pace the offence for the Comets. This was Jensen’s third multi-goal game of his AHL career with the previous two coming in the final game of the 2011.12 season when he notched a hat trick before scoring twice in Game 1 of the Chicago Wolves playoff series against San Antonio the very next game.
-Joe Cannata turned aside 29 saves in the loss for the Comets, while Benn Ferriero, Alexandre Grenier, Cal O’Reilly and Yann Sauve all had assists.
-Brandon DeFazio had a game-high eight shots, which is matches his career high set on November 15th, 2011.
-Jensen was the lone Comet to finish with a positive plus/minus, finishing the game plus-1.
-This game was originally scheduled to be played on Wednesday, but was pushed back a day due to weather issues. Only 1,873 were on hand at the Cox Convention Centre, which holds 13,846.
Saturday, January 11th: Texas Stars 5 – Utica Comets 3
-The Comets dug themselves a 4-0 hole and eventually dropped their fourth straight contests, losing 5-3 to the West Division leading Texas Stars.
-Brandon DeFazio, Alexandre Grenier and Cal O’Reilly all found the back of the net for the Comets, who scored three unanswered goals to get within one, but Texas was able to seal the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute.
-O’Reilly, Benn Ferriero, Nicklas Jensen and Yann Sauve all had assists in the game.
-Defenseman Alex Biega had a team-high five shots on goal, while Jensen, O’Reilly and Peter Andersson all finished plus-1 on the night.
-Grenier’s goal, his 11th of the season, extended his point streak to four games, which is a career high for the Laval, Quebec product.
-Joe Cannata allowed four goals on 21 shots before being replaced by Mathieu Corbeil in the second period. Corbeil, who was making his AHL debut, stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Monday, January 13th: San Antonio Rampage 3 – Utica Comets 2 (SO)
-Despite trailing 2-0 in the third period, the Comets, off the strength of two goals from Nicklas Jensen, were able to get themselves back in it and force overtime to gain a valuable point.
-This was the second time in three games Jensen netted two goals in game, as the 6-foot-3 forward banged home two rebounds for his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Jensen also had a career and team-high seven shots on goal.
-Jensen, Benn Ferriero, Alexandre Grenier, Pascal Pelletier and Colin Stuart were all robbed by Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom in the shootout, while Bobby Butler scored the lone-goal for San Antonio.
-Mathieu Corbiel made 21 saves between the pipes for the Comets in his first career AHL start.
-Ferriero, Pelletier, Kent Huskins and Henrik Tommernes all picked up helpers in the game.
-Huskins, Pelletier and Tommernes were a team-best plus-1 on the night.
-The Comets haven’t won on the road since Nov 30th in Abbotsford, dropping their last seven away from home.
Comet of the Week
Without a doubt, Nicklas Jensen is the Comet of the Week after posting four goals and one assist in three games. After a slow start factored by an injury and bad luck, Jensen appears to be on the right track to get to the level Canucks fans have seen before. The speedy winger scored both Comets goals on Thursday and Monday and picked up an assist on Saturday against Texas. The Herning, Denmark product was all over the ice this past week, using his speed to get involved in the play, including the back check. Jensen also had a career-high seven shots on goal in Monday’s loss.Coming up…
The Comets return home on Friday night to square off against the Albany Devils (21-11-3-2). On Saturday, Utica travels north of the border to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs (19-15-0-4).