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FINAL: Comets 3 vs. Hamilton 4 (SO)

(Comets Photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)


The Utica Comets were able to pick up a hard earned point courtesy of the first third period comeback in franchise history, but were unable to complete the win in the shootout, falling 4-3 to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Comets and Bulldogs skated in front of the second consecutive sold out Utica Memorial Auditorium as a capacity crowd of 3,815 was on hand for the third shootout contest of the season in the Mohawk Valley.

Alexandre Grenier, Darren Archibald and Henrik Tommernes each scored for the Comets, as Tommernes’ late third period goal sent the game to overtime. Joe Cannata, who was named the game’s third star, made 37 saves in defeat. Nicklas Jensen and Grenier scored in the shootout for the Comets, the second of the season for each.

The Comets used a late first period goal to head into the locker rooms with a 1-0 lead. After a hooking minor by Jerred Tinordi with 21 seconds left in the frame, Grenier beat Dustin Tokarski just 10 seconds into the man advantage to put Utica in front. Henrik Tommernes and Benn Ferriero had assists on the goal, which was the third in three periods for Grenier.

Joe Cannata stole the show in the first period as he put together an impressive sixteen save performance to keep Hamilton off the board. Cannata was one save away from tying his season high for saves in a period, which he set with 17 saves in the second period against Adirondack on Dec. 7.

Hamilton leveled the score at one just 27 seconds into the second period. Gabriel Dumont collected a loose puck in the offensive zone and fired past Cannata.  Dumont’s tally, which was unassisted, was his fifth of the season.

The two teams traded chances for the majority of the second, with just a 12-10 shots on goal advantage for the Bulldogs, before Louis Leblanc put Hamilton ahead 2-1 as a ricocheted shot got past Cannata. Leblanc’s goal was a team leading ninth of the season.  Maxime Macenauer picked up his third point in three games against the Comets and Darren Dietz also added an assist.

The Bulldogs added what at the time appeared to be an insurance goal as Greg Pateryn beat Cannata with a slapshot from the point, 47 seconds into the third. Dumont picked up his second point of the game on the play with the primary assist while Mike Blunden added an assist of his own.

Darren Archibald cut the deficit in half on a superb individual effort at the 4:27 mark of the third period. The power forward collected the puck near the right point, beat three Hamilton defenders and fired a wrist shot past Tokarski. The goal, the second in as many nights for Archibald, gave the Comets life with 15:33 to play in the final full period.

In a dramatic finish to regulation, Tommernes unloaded on a one timer from the point to tie the game with just 1:04 on the clock. After a hooking minor from Sven Andrighetto put the Comets a man up, Ferriero dished the puck into Tommernes’ wheelhouse and the Swedish defenseman would not miss as he put a howitzer past Tokarski.

After a scoreless five minutes of overtime, Macenauer scored the first shootout goal in round three as he slotted one past Cannata. Nicklas Jensen opened the scoring for Utica in the third round as he replicated his one handed drag move from Utica’s win over Lake Erie 13 days ago.

After Grenier scored for the Comets in round four and Martin St. Pierre equalized for the Bulldogs in round five, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu beat Cannata to give Hamilton a 3-2 advantage. Colin Stuart could not convert on his attempt and the Comets fell to 1-2 in the shootout this season.

The loss dropped Utica to 3-1-0-1 on their current seven game home stand.  The Comets were, however, able to pick up their first point of the season in a game where they trailed after two periods of play. Utica had previously been 0-13-0-0 in those situations.

The Comets are back in action on Wednesday as the Monsters return to the Mohawk Valley for the third time this season. Puck drop is set for 3:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day, with all tickets just 14 dollars as the Comets bring in 2014.

HAMILTON BULLDOGS (14-14-0-4) @ UTICA COMETS (10-16-1-1)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7 pm
Radio: 94.9 K-Rock

 

Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets look to get back to winning ways after they lost a nail-biting 4-3 decision to the Binghamton Senators last evening at The AUD. The Comets, who are in the fifth of a seven game stretch of home games, have gone 3-1 thus far on this road trip.

When They Last Met: Utica scored twice in the third period to defeat the Bulldogs 3-1 on Nov. 10.  Alexandre Grenier had the game-winning goal at the 2:59 mark of the final stanza, while Colin Stuart added a late empty netter. Zach Hamill also scored for the Comets, who, at the time, won back-to-back games for the first time all season. Joacim Eriksson turned aside 29 of 30 shots to earn the win.

Comets Outlook: Alexandre Grenier had a banner day with three points (2-1-3), but the Comets could not extend their winning streak to five games on home ice as they narrowly fell 4-3 to the Senators. Darren Archibald also scored for Utica, which also got two points from Pascal Pelletier (0-2-2).  Joe Cannata, who started on home ice for the first time since Nov. 1, made 30 saves on 34 shots and fell to 2-7-0-0 on the season.

Bulldogs Outlook: Behind a two-goal effort from Mike Blunden, the Bulldogs defeated divisional rival Toronto, 4-2, in front of more than 8,000 at Copps Coliseum. The Bulldogs outshot the Marlies 49-22 and Sven Andrighetto, who finished with a multi-point game, scored the game winning goal 1:38 into the third period.  Greg Pateryn also finished with a multi-point effort (0-2-2) and Dustin Tokarski picked up his eleventh win of the season as the Bulldogs moved to .500 with 14 wins and 14 losses.

Alexandre The Great: Utica forward Alexandre Grenier tied his career high with three points (2-1-3) in last night’s meeting with Binghamton. Grenier, who also potted two goals for the first time in his career, moved into a tie for 16th in rookie scoring in the AHL. The Laval, QC native has now scored 18 points (8-10-18) this season.

Pascal Of The Wild: Pascal Pelletier continues to shoot up the AHL’s scoring charts, as his two assists against Binghamton moved him into a tie for ninth in the league with 18.  Pelletier, who also leads all Utica players in assists and points, is approaching the 200 mark for his AHL career as he currently sits 184 over his tenure in the league.

We Got That Power: Despite going just one for eight with the man advantage against Binghamton, the Comets were able to extend their power-play streak on home ice. Utica has now scored at least one power-play goal in its last eight games at The AUD, a franchise record.

First For Once The Worst: The Utica Comets failed to record a point for just the third time this season when they score the first goal, falling to 6-3-0-1 in those situations.

To Kill A Mockingbird: Utica continued to struggle on the penalty kill, as they allowed three power-play goals to the Binghamton Senators. The Comets man down unit is now ranked last in the AHL, having successfully killed off just 74.3 percent of all opportunities. The Comets are also one of just five teams to allow over a power-play goal per game, having surrendered 29 goals over their 28 games played.

Corb Curriculum: With Joacim Eriksson now with the Vancouver Canucks, the Comets have called on Mathieu Corbeil to complete their goaltending tandem. Corbeil comes from Wheeling of the ECHL, where he amassed a 2-1-0 record, with a 2.29 goals against average and a .905 save percentage.

Scouting The Bulldogs: Hamilton is led by Martin St. Pierre with 25 points (7-18-25). St. Pierre is tied with Utica’s Pascal Pelletier for ninth in the AHL in assists.  A quartet of forwards, Nick Tarnasky, Louis Leblanc, Mike Blunden and Sven Andrighetto, lead the Bulldogs with eight goals apiece.

Defenseman Greg Pateryn leads all Hamilton blueliners with 14 points (5-9-14) over 25 games played.  Pateryn’s five goals are tied for twelfth in the AHL amongst all defensemen. Pateryn also leads all Bulldog skaters with a +9 rating, while teammate Morgan Ellis is just behind at +8.

Dustin Tokarski has carried the load between the pipes for Hamilton, with 11 of the team’s 14 wins this season. Tokarski has also been one of the league’s most active goaltenders as he enters tonight fifth in the AHL with 1252:32 played and third with 569 saves. The Humboldt, SK native also ranks tenth in the league with a 2.32 goals against average.

 

 


 

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