Comets Road Winning Streak Hits Franchise-High Eight Games
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Dec 26, 2015
Riding a 32-save performance from Richard Bachman, the Utica Comets ran their franchise-high road winning streak to eight games with a 3-1 win over the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena Saturday night.
Cole Cassels (1-0-1), Blair Jones (1-0-1), and Jordan Subban (1-0-1) each found the back of the net. The Comets were outshot by the Amerks 33 to 31 in the victory.
After Patrick Kaleta was able to goad Darren Archibald into an unsportsmanlike penalty, the Amerks’ power play opened up the game’s scoring 5:55 into the first period.
With the Comets pinned in their own zone, Chad Ruhwedel received a pass from Cal O’Reilly and wristed a shot from the high slot. The shot went wide and caromed off the end boards to the opposite side of the net. Defenseman Matt Donovan streaked in and scored his third of the season.
Four minutes the later the Comets pounced on a mistake by the Amerks’ goaltender to tie the game back up. Andrey Makarov misplayed the puck in his crease where a mad scramble ensued. The goal light was turned on before the referee, Peter MacDougall, waived it off after consulting with his linesmen. After a brief video review, the call on the ice was overturned and Cole Cassels was credited with his first professional goal. Joseph LaBate, and Ashton Sautner picked up assists on the goal.
In the second period, the Comets narrowly missed cashing in on their fourth power play opportunity of the night when Jones scored his eighth of the year, mere seconds after Robak emerged from the penalty box. From along the boards at the blue line, Jones collected the puck, spun, and fired a quick wrist shot on net that sneaked over Makarov’s shoulder, pinged off the post, and across the goal line. Danny Syvret picked up his third point in as many games, and Brendan Gaunce extended his point streak to four games.
Subban added an insurance goal in the third period and doubled the Comets lead when he rifled home a wrist shot from a step inside the blue line through heavy traffic in the slot, and past Makarov. The goal was the rookie defenseman’s fifth goal of the season, which paces Comets blue liners.
The Comets improved their record to 15-10-2-2, and now sit just one point back of the third place St. John’s IceCaps in the Western Conference’s North Division, with 34 points.
The Comets get back to business tomorrow night when the Syracuse Crunch come to The AUD in this year’s fourth installment of the Galaxy Cup rivalry. Puck drop is scheduled for 3p.m. Be sure to bring your skates! There will be a post-game skate with the players for season ticket holders.
Tonight’s Game: With the unofficial halfway point of the season now in the rearview mirror, the Comets gear up for four games in six days, starting tonight vs the Rochester Americans. Puck drop from the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, N.Y. is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The Comets currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference’s North Division with 32 points, and sit just three points out of second place. The Amerks are hot on the Comets tail with 30 points.
Last Game: The Utica Comets scored 4:31 into the game, and could not find the back of the net again in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) scored for the third time in three games, and Richard Bachman turned in yet another stellar performance and stopped 33 of the Wolf Pack’s 34 saves including several high-quality chances late in the third period.
Scouting the Amerks: In their last six games, the Amerks are a perfect 4-0 against teams not named the Utica Comets. In those four games, two have come against the third-place St. John’s IceCaps. They have outscored teams 17-5 during those victories. The team has recently gotten a boost from their parent club, when the Buffalo Sabres reassigned the Amerks’ captain, and second-leading point scorer, Cal O’Reilly (3-14-17), back to Rochester. O’Reilly had missed the previous two contests vs Utica. Right winger Jason Akeson, is the only Amerk with more points, with 19 (6-13-19). In net, Andrey Makarov and Nathan Lieuwen have split time recently. Makarov has played in 14 games, and has posted a 6-5-2-1 record, a .911 save percentage, and a 2.95 goals against average. Lieuwen, on the other hand, has played in 12 games and has posted a 7-5-0-0 record, along with a 3.31 GAA, and a .902 save percentage.
Road Warriors: The Comets are in the midst of a franchise-high seven game winning streak on the road. In that stretch, the team has outscored their opponents 33-19.
Attacking When Short: The Comets eighth-ranked penalty-killing unit has scored seven times when on the ice this year. Their seven goals is tied for the second most in the league, trailing only the Milwaukee Admirals.
Milestone Alerts: Head Coach Travis Green is four regular season wins away from 100 career wins. Alexandre Grenier is closing in on his 100th career professional point, with 98.
Lucky Number 3: When the Comets fail to reach the three-goal mark in a game, the team is 0-9-2-1 this season. When they successfully strike three times, the team is 14-1-0-1.
Next Game: The Comets get back to business tomorrow night when the Syracuse Crunch come to The AUD in this year’s fourth installment of the Galaxy Cup rivalry. Puck drop is scheduled for 3p.m. Be sure to bring your skates! There will be a post-game skate with the players for season ticket holders.