Laval, Que. – The Utica Comets went back and forth with the Laval Rocket during a spirited affair, but it was Laval who earned a 5-3 victory on Saturday night at Bell Place.
After going nine games without a first period goal, the Comets were able to take advantage of an odd-man rush up the ice and find the back of the net in the opening frame. Brendan Woods raced over the line along the left before setting up Kole Lind, who flung a shot over a sliding Charlie Lindgren.
Michael Leighton, who became the eighth goalie in AHL history to appear in 500 games, made seven stops in the first, and the Comets had a 1-0 advantage after the first period.
Laval evened the score early in the second period and while operating on a power play. Winning a faceoff in the attacking zone, the Rocket established possession and Cale Fleury saw a window for a long range shot that sailed into the net. Continuing to plug away, the Comets re-established their one-goal lead late in the period. Holding the zone, Colton Saucerman dished to Jalen Chatfield, whose tape-to-tape pass to Vincent Arseneau generated an easy tap-in, earning Arseneau his seventh of the season.
Early in the third, the Comets forced a steal in their own end, and a perfectly executed two-on-one yielded another goal. Lukas Jasek swiped the puck free and moved it to Woods, who pinpointed an open corner to deposit a wrist shot into. Utica’s two-goal lead lasted for about six minutes before a power play goal from Alex Alain brought the game back to within a goal.
The Rocket took over from there, scoring three more times before the end of the game, including twice in 34 seconds at 16:15 and 16:49, and a Lukas Vejdemo empty-netter at 19:42. The four unanswered goals from Laval smothered Utica in a 5-3 final.
The Comets are back in action Wednesday night when they hit the road to take on the Rochester Americans. Puck drop at Blue Cross Arena is at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.