Big Comets Win Over Syracuse Crunch
NOTE: Saturday night's Utica Comets game is nearly sold out. Some limited tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
The Utica Comets turned the Aud pink on Friday night and logged one of their most impressive victories of the season against nearby rival Syracuse. Utica beat the Crunch 3-1 in front of a sell-out 3,815 fans and goalie Joacim Eriksson was nearly perfect.
The Comets and Crunch went scoreless in the first period, put two on the board in the second and another in the third to take a 3-0 lead with just seconds remaining. Syracuse added a one man advantage by pulling their goalie in the final two minutes of play and with just 65-seconds left in the game, was able to get the puck past Eriksson.
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Brandon DeFazio, Pascal Pelletier and Darren Archibald each
scored for Utica, who moved to 16-20-2-4 on the season. Joacim Eriksson made 31
saves on 32 shots for the victory.
Utica struck first just 3:24 into the second period as Brandon DeFazio put a
silky smooth feed from Cal O’Reilly past Desjardins to open the scoring.
DeFazio’s goal was his sixth of the season, while O’Reilly picked up his
fifteenth helper, third most on the Comets this season.
Pelletier doubled the advantage for Utica just over ten minutes later as he
went backhand, forehand on Desjardins and slid the finish past the Syracuse
netminder’s stick side. With the goal, Pelletier moved to within two of the
500-point mark for his professional career. Wingers Alexandre Grenier and
Darren Archibald picked up assists on the play.
Utica added an insurance goal with just over five minutes to play in the
game, as Archibald drove the net and deflected Grenier’s rebound past
Desjardins. Pelletier moved back to a point-per-game pace with the secondary
assist on the play. With his second helper of the evening, Grenier is now
tied for seventh in the AHL amongst all first year players with 29 points
The Crunch peppered Eriksson with shots down the stretch and were finally
able to end the Swede’s shutout bid with just 1:05 to play in the game.
Defenseman Andrej Sustr slotted one past Eriksson, his first goal of the
season, off of assists from Panik and Connolly. The helper was a team high
eighteenth for Connolly, who is an AHL All-Star.
With the victory, Joacim Eriksson has moved to 12-10-1-2 on the season.
Eriksson has been victorious in eight of his past ten starts and has moved
into the AHL’s Top 20 with a .915 save percentage. Defenseman Peter
Andersson continued his team with another positive outing. The blueliner has
netted a plus rating in each of his past six games and currently leads the
team with a +9 rating this season. Despite two shots on net, winger Benn
Ferriero saw his point scoring streak end at nine games.
The win gave the Comets their fifth win over their past six games.
Utica is back in action as they faceoff with the Rockford IceHogs for the
first time in franchise history, Saturday evening in the Mohawk Valley. The
Comets are already nearing back-to-back sellouts for the second time this
season. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.