Phantoms Scare Off Comets
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Dec 2, 2015
The Utica Comets fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday night by the score of 3-1 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The loss snapped the Comets four game-winning streak.
Richard Bachman made 16 saves for the Comets, and Michael Zalewski (1-0-1) netted the lone goal for the Comets. Utica outshot the Phantoms 28-19.
The Phantoms scored the only goal of the first period, when Tyrell Goulbourne passed the puck from behind the net and Evan Rankin finished it off to give Lehigh Valley the 1-0 lead 9:04 into the first period. Andrew MacDonald also assisted on the play.
After a scoreless second period, the Comets came out firing in the third, as Mike Zalewski took the puck around the back of the net, and from below the goal line, banked it into the net off of a Phantoms defender to tie the game at one just 43 seconds into the third. Alex Freisen recorded an assist on the goal.
The Phantoms came back to take a 2-1 lead at the 9:10 mark of the third on a slap shot goal by Jesper Pettersson. Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Alderson assisted on the Pettersson goal.
Lehigh Valley scored again just 1:25 later on a goal from Danick Martel to cap of the scoring for the night. The Martel goal was unassisted.
With the win, Lehigh Valley improves to 10-11-1-0. The loss dropped the Comets to 9-9-1-1 on the season.
The Comets will stay at home on Friday, as they welcome the St. John’s IceCaps to the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tonight’s Game: The Comets return home tonight to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the second time this season. The Comets are now 1-0-0-0 this season against the Phantoms after a 7-1 win just one week ago. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.
The Comets currently sit in fifth place in the North Division with 20 points, while the Phantoms possess the fifth spot in the Atlantic Division with 19 points.
Last Game: The Comets ran their win streak to four games on Saturday night with a 6-3 win over the Portland Pirates. Travis Ehrhardt (2-2-4), Michael Zalewski (1-1-2), and Alexandre Grenier (0-2-2) all enjoyed multi-point nights for the Comets, while goaltender Joe Cannata made 31 saves and collected his sixth win of the season. Ashton Sautner (1-0-1), Alex Friesen (1-0-1) and Nicklas Jensen (1-0-1) also found the back of the net for the boys in blue.
Scouting the Phantoms: Riding Petr Straka’s ridiculous eight goals in the team’s last nine games, the Phantoms have collected a point in six of those games (5-3-1-0). Boasting an offense that is sixth in the league in goals, the Phantoms have eight players that have posted double-digit point totals. Those players are forwards Straka (14-3-17), Chris Conner (5-11-16), Tim Brent (5-9-14), Daniel Martel (7-4-11), defenseman Andrew MacDonald ()1-9-10) and (currently in the NHL) Nick Cousins (5-13-18), and Shayne Gostisbehere (2-8-10). In net, Anthony Stolarz’s 1.96 goals against average is fifth-best in the AHL, amongst goaltenders that have appeared in at least 10 games.
Comets Penalty Kill: Last week the Comets’ penalty-killing unit successfully killed off all nine of their opponent’s power-play attempts. The unit has allowed just one power-play goal against since Nov. 1 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Since then, the team has killed off 19 of their opponent’s 20 (95%) power plays. On the season, the Comets currently sit fifth in the AHL for successful penalty kills with 86.9%.
Bancksgiving Weekend: Carter Bancks celebrated his 300th professional game (298 in the AHL, 2 in the NHL) last Friday with first ever two goal game. He scored the game’s first goal on a deflection, and then added an insurance tally with an empty-net goal. He also chipped in an assist on Blair Jones’ empty-net goal for his second-career three point night. He followed up with another successful night in Portland with another assist, giving him a six-point week.
Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts: The Comets offense exploded for seven goals, and matched a franchise-high, the last time these two teams met just a week ago at The AUD.
Goals: During the Comets win-streak they have scored 20 goal, which is a franchise-best mark for a four-game stretch. 17 of those goals came during last week’s three-game stretch, which is also a three-game best total for the franchise.
Lucky Number 3: When the Comets fail to reach the three goal mark in a game, the team is 0-7-1-0 this season. When they successfully strike three times, the team is 9-1-0-1.
Countdown: Head Coach Travis Green is 9 wins away from his 100th win as a professional coach. All 91 wins have come as the bench boss of the Comets.
Jonesin’ For One More: Blair Jones is one point away from his 300th career professional point. The veteran forward has recorded 282 points in the American Hockey League for the Springfield Falcons, Norfolk Admirals, Abbotsford Heat, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Utica Comets. The Comets assistant captain has also scored 17 points in the National Hockey League during his time with the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Keeping the Streak: After Comets faced a four game losing streak, they regained their spark by finding four straight wins. Three of these wins were found on the road, while one was a home win. Comets had a high scoring week with a total of 18 goals between their three games.
Looking Ahead: Comets will continue their short home run with a game against the St. John’s IceCaps. This will be the first time that the Comets take on the Montreal Canadiens affiliate this season, they sit third in the North Division with 27 points. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night.