FINAL: Comets 3 @ Lake Erie 2
- Updated: November 8, 2013
For the first time in franchise history, the Utica Comets were victorious. With a 3-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena on Friday Night, the Comets snapped a franchise starting 10-game losing streak.
Stuart, along with Alex Mallet and Patrick Mullen recorded goals for the Comets as Stuart netted the first game-winning goal in Comets history. Joacim Eriksson, who has been in net for each of Utica’s four points this season, made 22 saves on 24 shots as he earned his first career American Hockey League victory. The Swede’s record improves to 1-5-1-1
It seemed like another example of “here we go again” for the Comets, as the Monsters struck first. Comets goaltender Eriksson made the save on the initial shot from Paul Carey, but the rebound was directed right to Mikael Tam, who netted the first goal of the game. Brad Malone would pick up the second assist. The Monsters goal marked the ninth time in eleven games that the Comets have allowed the opening goal.
The Comets would not back down, and tied the score at the 16:17 mark of the first. DeFazio would begin the scoring play, side stepping a Monsters defender, and firing a shot on goal. Mallet would get two whacks at it, with the second finding the back of the net to tie the game at one. The Mallet goal was his first career AHL goal. Kellan Lain picked up the secondary assist.
Just a few minutes later, the Comets would strike again, this time a power-play goal to take the lead. Grenier fired a puck on net that rattled around Monsters defender’s legs before it fell onto the stick of David Booth. Booth slid the puck across the crease to Mullen who was camped-out at the back door, and Mullen would not be denied The goal would give the Comets their first road lead in franchise history.
The Monsters accounted for all the scoring in the second period, with a goal at the 8:25 mark. An Agozzino shot from the point resulted in a mad scramble in front of the net, and ended with Monsters captain Bryan Lerg knocking home the tying goal.
In what turned out to be a thrilling third period filled with back and forth action and plenty of Comets pressure, Stuart buried the historic Comets goal. Deep in the Monster zone, Zach Hamill found Colin Stuart at the top of the circle. From there, Stuart would not miss, as he rifled a shot that beat Pickard high and to the glove side. Niklas Jensen picked up an assist on the play, his first as a Comet.
The win gave Utica, N.Y. their first win from a Utica-based franchise in 7,518 days. The last win was a 6-3 victory coming on April 9, 1993 at the Baltimore Skipjacks.
Calvin Pickard recorded 25 saves on 28 shots against after he shutout the Comets last evening. The Monsters goaltender fell back beneath the .500 mark as his record falls to 3-4-0-0. Eriksson improves to 1-5-1-1 on the season with the win. His .917 save percentage in tonight’s game is his second highest on the season, behind only his strong effort against Syracuse.
The Comets now have four points on the season and look to carry their momentum to Hamilton on Sunday. The Comets and Bulldogs meet for the second time this season and the first at Copps Coliseum in Ontario. Hamilton was able to fight off a late Comets surge in Utica on Oct. 28 as they won by a 3-2 final score. Puck drop is set at 3 p.m. for the first game across the border in Utica Comets history.
UTICA COMETS (0-8-1-1) @ LAKE ERIE (5-5-0-0)
Quicken Loans Arena, 7:00 p.m.
Radio: 94.9 K-Rock
The Comets have revenge on their minds as they square off with the Lake Erie Monsters for the second straight night. Utica dropped a 4-0 decision in Cleveland in their first ever meeting with their North Division foes and the young Comets are still in search of their first victory of the season. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.
When They Last Met: Utica was shutout last night against tonight’s foe, the Monsters, by a 4-0 scoreline. Mark Olver and Bryan Lerg each recorded two assists for the Monsters, while Colin Smith, David van der Gulik, Trevor Cheek and Andrew Agozzino each found the back of the net. Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard made 17 saves for the shutout while Joacim Eriksson made 38 saves on 42 shots against in defeat for the Comets.
Road Woes Continue: The Comets have still failed to earn a point away from home as they dropped their fourth straight regulation loss on the road. The Comets have been outscored 17-6 over their four road games, and have never led during that span.
New Comets: Forward David Booth and defenseman Kent Huskins each made their season debuts for the Comets against Lake Erie. Both players recorded two shots on net and Booth added Utica’s best scoring bid of the game as his backhand attempt found the iron. In the third period. The two veterans bring a combined 706 NHL games of experience to the Comets roster.
Penalty Kill Struggles: After they surrendered two power play goals to Lake Erie, the Comets have now given up a PPG in eight of their ten games this season. Utica’s penalty kill now ranks 29th of 30 teams in the league at just 73.9 percent. The Comets are also one of just eight teams who have yet to score a shorthanded goal.
Fight Club: After picking up five for fighting against Lake Erie, Comets’ center Kellan Lain has moved into fourth in the AHL in penalty minutes with 46. Lain, who also ranks as the leader amongst league rookies, has now dropped the gloves four times this season, tops on the team.
Capital Connection: Utica head coach Travis Green and Lake Erie head coach Dean Chynoweth were teammates for parts of three seasons from 1990-1993 with the AHL’s Capital District Islanders. Both men rank in the team’s all-time Top 10 in games played with Green fourth and Chynoweth ninth.
Calvin And Hobbes: With his blanking of the Comets last night, Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard recorded his first shutout of the season and the sixth of his AHL career. The Colorado prospect was tied for sixth in the league a season ago with five shutouts.
Scouting The Monsters: After his two point outing against the Comets last night, Bryan Lerg became the first Monster to reach double digits in points as the winger now has 11 (6-5-11) on the season. Lerg’s six goals rank first on the team and tied for twelfth in the AHL. Center Mark Olver joined his teammate not long after, as his two assist performance also vaulted him into double digits with ten points (3-7-10). Olver’s seven assists are a Lake Erie high as he passed teammate Andrew Agozzino (six assists) for the team lead.
Defenseman Stefan Elliott leads all Lake Erie blueliners with five points (1-4-5). Karl Stollery leads all Monsters players with a +5 rating and has also contributed four points (2-2-4) over his nine games played. Tyson Barrie chipped in with an assist in his season debut against the Comets.
Calvin Pickard recorded his team high third victory of the season against Utica, which moved him out of his tie with fellow netminder Sami Aittokallio. Pickard, who earned his first shutout of the season, improved his goals against average and save percentage to 2.70 and .906 respectively as he evened his record to 3-3-0.