Closing in on the post-season.
After splitting a home-and-home with the Rochester Americans on Friday and Saturday, the Utica Comets (20-23-3-4) closed out the weekend with a gritty 2-1 victory in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. The Comets are now 10-7-3-2 in 2014 and currently sit nine points out of a playoff spot with 26 games remaining.
Friday, February 14: Rochester Americans 7 – Utica Comets 3
-The Rochester Americans used a four-goal second period to hand the Comets one of their worst losses of the season on Friday night.
-Frank Corrado (4), Brandon DeFazio (7) and Kent Huskins (2) provided the offence for the Comets.
-Joacim Eriksson allowed five goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Joe Cannata for the third period. Cannata allowed two goals on eight shots. This marked just the second game this season Eriksson has been pulled.
-Darren Archibald led all Comets skaters with four shots on goal, while Corrado, Stuart, Kellan Lain and Alex Mallet all finished plus-1.
-Shots on goal: Utica 34 – Rochester 23
Saturday, February 15: Utica Comets 2 – Rochester Americans 1
-Joacim Eriksson was back in fine form on Saturday night, making 31 saves to lead the Comets to a 2-1 win over the Rochester Americans.
-This was the second half of a home-and-home between the in-state rivals. The Comets are now 3-6-0-0 against the Amerks this season, in what was the ninth meeting of the year between the two clubs.
-Brandon DeFazio (8) and Nicklas Jensen (12) both found the back of the net for the Comets.
-Eriksson has now allowed one goal or less six times in his last 13 starts, while holding the opposition to two goals or less 11 times in his last 16 games.
-Shots on goal: Rochester 32 – Utica 27
-Three Stars: 1. DeFazio, 2. Eriksson, 3. Jensen
Sunday, February 16: Utica Comets 2 – Toronto Marlies 1
-Playing on an empty tank, the Comets were able to weather nine penalty-kills and pull of a victory over the Toronto Marlies on Sunday.
-Immediately after their win over Rochester on Saturday, the Comets jumped on the bus for the five-hour bus ride to Toronto to play their third game in 44 hours.
-Pascal Pelletier scored the game-winner with 34 seconds left in regulation, tipping in an Alex Biega point shot for his 10th goal of the season.
-Jeremy Welsh netted his first goal as a Comet to open the scoring late in the first period, becoming the 19th player to a score a goal for the Comets this season.
-Biega, Kent Huskins and Colin Stuart all picked up helpers in the game.
-Joe Cannata was brilliant between the barber poles, making 25 saves in the game. The Massachusetts product is now 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .962 save-percentage in his last three starts.
-Nicklas Jensen led the Comets with five shots on goal.
-The Comets found themselves shorthanded nine times in the game, but were able to kill of eight of those penalties, while only receiving three power-plays in their favor.
-Shots on goal: Utica 28 – Toronto 26
-Three Stars: 1. Pelletier, 2. A Marlie, 3. Cannata
Comet of the Week
Alex Biega continues his impressive play on the Comets blue line this season, picking up three points in three games this past weekend, all assists. The sturdy 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has inserted himself as one of the more physical defensemen on the Comets while also being able to chip in offensively with 15 points (1-14-15) in 48 games, which ranks second among Utica defenders. The smooth skating product of Montreal, QC, leads all Comets skaters with a plus-10 rating this season. The Canucks signed Biega to a one-year contract on July 5th.
The Comets have their second consecutive three-game in three-night weekend as they travel to Syracuse on Friday to take on the Crunch (18-23-3-5) before traveling to Binghamton to face the Senators (31-15-1-3) on Saturday and then Albany to take on the Devils (26-17-3-5) on Sunday afternoon.
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