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Comets Fall in Squeaker to Rockford, 2-1

Utica Comets 2/1/14
(Photo courtesy of Utica Comets)

The Utica Comets lost to the Rockford Icehogs, 2-1 on Saturday in front of another sellout crowd at the Utica Aud.

Pascal Pelletier scored Utica’s lone goal just 28 seconds into the game.
The marker set a milestone for Pelletier, as it gave him his 500th career
professional point. Joacim Eriksson made 28 saves in defeat, which gave him just his second regulation loss over his past 11 starts.

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The Comets were lightning fast out of the gates as Pelletier put home a
power-play goal just 28 seconds into the game. The goal maintained
Pelletier’s point-per-game pace for the season.  The Labrador City, NL
native now has 39 points (8-31-39) over 39 games this season. Center Cal O’
Reilly and defenseman Patrick Mullen collected assists on the play, the
third straight game with a helper for O’Reilly.

Rockford answered back less than two minutes later, as Pat Mullane beat
Eriksson on the glove side from close range for his fourth goal of the
season.  Zach Miskovic picked up the primary helper on the play, while
Auburn, NY native Jeremy Morin also added an assist, his 25th point of the
season.

The IceHogs netted the second period’s lone goal as winger Brandon Mashinter
put a nice move on Eriksson to give Rockford its first lead of the evening.
The goal was the sixth of the season for the IceHog winger. Center Joakim
Nordstrom and winger Garret Ross each picked up assists on the play.

Despite a high octane third period that saw Utica outshoot their opponents
by a 14-5 margin, the Comets were unable to solve Rockford goaltender Kent
Simpson. Benn Ferriero had the period’s best opportunity as he took a feed
in stride from O’Reilly and deked to his forehand, but was unable to finish
into a gaping net. Simpson finished the contest with 34 saves and a first
star nomination.

With the defeat, the Comets fell to 1-4 in month opening games this season.
Utica also moved back to ten points behind the IceHogs, who currently sit in
the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

The Comets remained hot on the penalty kill as they killed off the only
minor they took on the evening.  Utica has now successfully killed off 28 of
their last 29 shorthanded opportunities.  Defenseman Peter Andersson saw his
consecutive plus streak come to an end at six games, as he finished even on
the evening.

The Comets now take to the road for their only trip to four different
Western Conference cities.  Utica is next in action on Tuesday afternoon as
they take on the Chicago Wolves in a matinee matchup, with puck drop
scheduled for noon from Allstate Arena.

The Comets do battle with their fellow first year franchise, the Iowa Wild,
the following night, an 8:00 p.m. puck drop from the Iowa Events Center.
Utica will not return to The AUD until Feb. 15, when they host the Rochester
Americans.

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