Comets Militia Postgame: They came in like a wrecking ball!

Josh W
February 15 2014 09:33PM

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Courtesy of @UticaComets

With the hopes of quickly forgetting the results of last night's 7-3 loss to Rochester, the Utica Comets partook in a back-to-back against that very Amerks squad, but this time on their own terms at the Utica Auditorium. 

This game made for much more pleasant viewing from a Comets perspective; Joacim Eriksson made sure to bring his A-Game after he was pulled early last night, and the #JensenTrain continued to gain more steam.

Read on past the jump for a recap of their 2-1 revenge victory.

The Background

If you have forgotten already, the Rochester Americans (24-17-3-3) are the Buffalo Sabres AHL affiliate and are currently sitting in 8th in the AHL West.  They have gotten a large amount of puck luck this season as they are ranked dead last in the AHL for puck possession during score close situations but are still in a playoff position. They're the opposite of the Comets, who are a mid-pack possession team, but are still trying to dig out of the hole their piss poor goaltending dug them at the start of the season.

This game marks the 9th time the Amerks and the Comets have played each other, an average of once every 4.9 games. Thankfully they only have to see each other one more time this season. 

The Comets also got some help on the back-end as it was the season debut for Vancouver native, John Negrin who was hurt during the Canucks pre-season training camp after receiving a concussion. He has spent the better part of the last 6 months recovering and trying to get fit to play again. His insertion into the lineup helped make up for the lack of both Peter Andersson and Henrik Tommernes.

Here's a period by period breakdown of how it went down:

The Rundown

The game started off as if it were a continuation of last night's game with the Amerks getting on the board just 3:38 into the game. Unlike their last meeting, though, it was the Americans who dominated possession in the first ending with a 14-6 shot differential. A handful of penalties were given to both team in the opening frame but none lead to a goal for either team.

In the second things were quiet for the first two minutes until Jensen managed to get the Comets on board with a nice spinning effort from the goal line. Eriksson made a few great saves in the second, keeping the game tied at 1 until the Comets finally managed to break through and take the lead.

At 12:06 of the 2nd period DeFazio, working with Lain, managed to get one past Rochester's goaltender Matt Hackett. From a tough angle DeFazio's shot was deflected off of his check Brayden McNabb. Considering how misfortunate they were in last night's meeting, I'm sure they were more than happy to take a lucky bounce there.

The third period was very eventful for the most part (which is good news if you're the team trying to hold onto the one goal lead). When he was tested, Eriksson came up big making a number of key saves, including one with only 16.5 seconds left. I'd say that this outing more than made up for his stinked last night.  

After almost half a game without a penalty being called the referees started handing them out like candy near the end. A total of 10 penalties (30 min) were given in the last twelve minutes of the contest. Most noticeably Rochester's Johan Larsson was given a double minor and a game misconduct for giving a show of his feelings when he was first sent to the box for tripping. Later, with Bagnall high-sticking Welsh and drawing blood the Comets had a 5 on 3 for almost four minutes. Despite all of that not a single goal was scored. This allowed the Comets to win 2-1 and walk away with a big two points.

The Conclusion

Comets goals scored in this game came from Jensen and DeFazio, with the assists credited to Sauve, Lain and Biega. The final shot tally was in favour of the Americans at 32 to 27. No power play goals were scored in this one as the Comets went 0 for 3 on the PP and 4 for 4 on the PK. Eriksson was once again really impressive in earning another quality start after stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced.

DeFazio and his line mates Lain and Archibald really stood out in this game. Head coach Travis Green gave them credit in the post game press conference for generating a lot of energy for the Comets. It's great to see a number of Canucks prospects really make themselves stand out. Even Friesen, who has been scratched more often than not, had some great opportunities to get his first goal (which he's unfortunately still waiting for..)

With the two points the Comets were able to temporarily jump up in the conference, for the first time all year. That didn't last very long as Lake Erie walked away with two points over Oklahoma City shortly thereafter, putting them back ahead of the Comets once again. With some patience the Comets will continue to make their way up in the rankings as long as they keep on getting this kind of goaltending from Eriksson.  

Comets Standing.08 PM

Tomorrow after the Canada/Finland Olympic game the Comets will play for the 3rd night in a row. That's the AHL for ya, folks. They'll go to Toronto to take on the Marlies with this game being available on Sportsnet 360 at 3 pm EST/noon Pacific. So make sure you watch that, and if you live near Toronto go out and support the Comets!

We'll be back with the recap something tomorrow afternoon. 

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I am a Van Fan in Bytown. Living in Ottawa for work, I research Sports Analytics and Machine Learning at the University of Ottawa. I play hockey as well as a timbit but I compete in rowing with hopes of 2016 Olympic Gold. Follow me on twitter at @joshweissbock and feel free to give me a shout.
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