Comets Tales: Eriksson in Charge

by Don Laible

Mar 26, 2015

With Jacob Markstrom replacing the void left by Ryan Miller in Vancouver, Joacim Eriksson went from splitting duty in the Comets, to being the guy in net for the playoff stretch run.

Three years removed from his final game in his native Sweden, the 24 year old is even more passionate about getting his career to the next level. Fortunately, the Utica Comets are the benefactors.

Sunday’s victory over the Rochester Americans was Utica’s 39th of the season and brought the Comets their North Division leading 84th and 85th points. Another important number coming out of the game is 19 – that is how many victories Eriksson has collected on the season thus far.

“I want to be as good as possible,every game,” said Eriksson. “Staying focused and helping the team. This is always on my mind.”

Eriksson’s status with the Comets has made a back to the future turn. Last season, his first in Utica, Eriksson finished the season as the clear-cut number one netminder, with Joe Cannata backed him up. Due to the Ryan Miller injury, Cannata is once again serving as Eriksson’s back-up.

With Jacob Markstrom being recalled by the Vancouver Canucks on March 16, Eriksson’s work load has increased substantially. This is a role the native of Gavle, Sweden welcomes. The tale of two seasons for Eriksson couldn’t be more different. Posting a 24-24-2 record during the 2013-14 season, the Comets were on the outside looking in, when it came to planning for possible post-season action.

Now, after a sweep of a three-in-three this past weekend, the Comets are nipping at the heels of the San Antonio Rampage for first place honors in the Western Conference. Utica is solidly leading the North Division, and have already surpassed last year’s team in total points. With the real possiblity of the Comets serving playoff time this spring, Eriksson seems motivated to individually turn up his game.

Stong and balanced on his blades, Eriksson is holding on to the puck when others in his position would be searching for one behind them. Having Cannata alongside him again also adds a comfort level to Eriksson’s approach.

“Cannata is a great goalie. He will help us a lot.” said Eriksson.

Eriksson heads into the weekend home series with the goal of racking up as many points as he can for the Comets, who are close to clinching their first playoff spot. After last Friday’s victory at The AUD, cool and confident, accepting of his vital role during the Comets’ march to the playoffs, Eriksson made the short walk back the the dressing room alone -like he owned the building. The way he has been playing, there’s an argument to say he does.

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