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Comets End First Season with Shutout Win

(Artwork from Utica Comets)

The Utica saved one of their finest defensive efforts of the
season for last, as they put together a dominant effort to shutout the
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2-0 on Saturday evening at the Utica
Memorial Auditorium. The AUD was once again sold out, as 3,815 fans were in
attendance for the final game of the Comets’ inaugural season, which
concluded with a 35-32-5-4 record.

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Peter Andersson and Pascal Pelletier found the back of the net for the
Comets who, despite a winless start over their first ten games, will finish
their season just two points out of playoff contention.  Joacim Eriksson was
a rock between the pipes, as he finished his AHL rookie season with his
fifth shutout, courtesy of 27 saves on as many shots.

The Comets surged out to an early lead courtesy of a blast from the point by
Andersson, who collected his second goal of the season on the play. The
Swedish blueliner took a feed from Alex Friesen at the point and let go a
slap shot that tickled the twine behind Matt Murray.  For Friesen, the
assist was Friesen’s 20th point of the season.

The second period saw a lack of scoring, mainly do to the outstanding
efforts of Murray and Eriksson between the pipes.  Eriksson stole the show,
as he turned aside all 13 shots he saw, including a series on a 5-on-3
Penguin power play in the period’s final minute.  Murray’s best of ten came
on a breakaway from Pelletier, who went to the backhand but could not slip
his finish through the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender’s pads.

The Comets would get redemption for that save, however, as midway through
the third period, the Utica Comets 2013-14 season ended just as it started:
With a Pascal Pelletier goal.  Cal O’Reilly fed Alex Grenier on the left
side of the net, where the big winger received and sent the puck to
Pelletier in one motion and Utica’s leading scorer buried his 22nd of the
season.  O’Reilly finished the campaign with 38 assists over just 52 games
played.

With the shutout, Eriksson finished in a tie for third in the AHL with five
on the season.  Eriksson was one of just three goaltenders to crack the
3,000 minute mark on the season, in addition to finishing third in total
saves. The Galve, Sweden native’s 24 wins moved him into the league’s top
ten.

For the first time this season, the Comets will not have a set date for
their return to the ice, as their season concludes here tonight.  The Comets
will return to action sometime next October in the sequel to their inaugural
season.

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