Laval, Que – Nikolay Goldobin scored a hat trick and Michael DiPietro made 41 saves as they led the Utica Comets to a 4-2 win over the Laval Rocket on Saturday at Bell Place.
For the fifth straight game, early pressure allowed the Comets to score the first goal of the contest, with Jonah Gadjovich registering the opening strike of the night. Crashing to the net on the left, Gadjovich was on the receiving end of a pass from Kole Lind, who saw his teammate slashing to the net. The pass angled off Gadjovich and over the line, extending his goal-scoring streak to three straight games and putting Utica ahead.
It was the only marker of the first period, as DiPietro came up with 11 saves and allowed the Comets to head into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The second period saw Utica earn an early power play try that helped them achieve a two-goal lead. Carter Camper walked the puck into a soft spot and waited long enough to draw Laval goalie Charlie Lindgren out of position before snapping a backdoor feed to Goldobin for an easy tap-in. The goal was Goldobin’s sixth of the year and team-lead-tying fourth on the power play.
The Rocket chipped away at the Comets’ lead just under a minute later, with David Sklenicka wiring a long slap shot from the right side that sailed over the shoulder of DiPietro and into the goal at 4:26 of the period. Riley Barber tied the contest later on in the period by capping off a crafty passing play created by Matthew Peca.
Utica thought they had re-established the lead seconds later, but upon further review, an Ashton Sautner put-back play was overruled after an official review. The energetic second period came to a close with the teams deadlocked at two.
Breaking the stalemate during the third, Goldobin cashed in for the second time on the night and put the Comets ahead 3-2. Mitch Eliot flung a long shot that was sticked aside to the goal line, but Goldobin one-touched the rebound from an impossible angle and into the goal at 8:41 of the final frame.
Capping off his hat trick and sealing the win for the Comets down the stretch, Goldobin helped in the defensive end with a blocked shot and was rewarded with a pass from Justin Bailey, freeing Goldobin to throw the puck into the empty net.
The Comets return to the ice Wednesday night when they host the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Box Office, over the phone by calling (315) 790-9070, or online at www.empirestatetix.com The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.
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