Wild Finish As Comets Win in OT
The Utica Comets won for the fourth straight time away from
home in a truly wild finish, as they defeated the Iowa Wild 3-2 in a
shootout at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
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Alex Biega won the game in the ninth round with his first shootout goal this
season. Goaltender Joe Cannata put together a career high 43 saves as he
earned his fifth victory as a Comet. Nicklas Jensen and Colin Stuart each
found the back of the net for Utica, which moved to 17-22-2-4 on the season.
Jeremy Welsh and Patrick Mullen also scored in the shootout for the Comets.
The visitors got off to a shaky start as Iowa center Carson McMillan scored
his team leading 11th goal of the season to put the Wild ahead by one, 6:17
into the game. McMillan put a backhanded deke through Cannata’s legs off of
a nice feed from defenseman Jon Landry. Jon Blum also picked up an assist on
the play, his 18th of the season.
Utica knotted the score at one as Jensen found the back of the net for the
second straight game, with a power-play marker at the 14:44 mark of the
first. Jensen buried a nifty feed from Benn Ferriero, who moved to within
three of team leader Pascal Pelletier, with his 36th point of the season.
Mullen also picked up an assist on the play.
A series of firsts gave Utica its only regulation lead of the evening with
just 42 seconds left in the first period. Colin Stuart deflected a
shorthanded Jeremy Welsh shot past Iowa netminder Jonas Gustafsson to make
it 2-1. The tally was also the first shorthanded goal Utica has scored this
season that hasn’t come on an empty net. Welsh’s assist was his first point
in a Comet jersey.
Iowa had a golden opportunity to knot the score at two 4:24 into the second
period, as McMillan was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Peter
Andersson. Cannata was huge with a pad save and Utica remained on top for
the time being.
The Wild would tie the game just over 90 seconds later, however, as Zach
Phillips scored a power-play goal from the slot. Defenseman Steven Kampfer
recorded the primary assist, his eighth of the season, while Landry netted
his second point of the night on the play as well.
A back and forth third period did not result in any goals and the Wild would
head to overtime for their sixth straight game and fourteenth overall, with
the Comets playing bonus hockey for the eleventh time this season. The
overtime session saw eight shots fired between the two teams, but neither
could break the deadlock.
The Comets took an early lead in the shootout as Jeremy Welsh converted on
his first attempt of the season in the opening round. After a Phillips goal
in the third round and a Connolly goal in round seven, Patrick Mullen’s shot
trickled across the line to keep the Comets alive. After the two team’s
traded misses, Biega ended the game in the ninth round as he snapped a shot
past Curry to secure the two points.
The Comets continue their road swing when the visit Milwaukee on Friday
evening to face off with the Admirals. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 p.m.
from the BMO Harris Bradley Center.