Courtesy of UticaComets.com
While the Comets have recently been reloaded with all of their players being returned to them due to the Olympic break, it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Rochester Americans last night.
With recent injuries to Canucks prospects Henrik Tommernes and Peter Andersson the back-end for the Comets was severely depleted, so it’s not exactly a total surprise that they were giving out goals against like they were hot cakes.
Read past the jump for a recap of their 7-3 loss on Valentines Day. Where is the love?
The Rochester Americans (24-17-3-3) are the Buffalo Sabres AHL Affiliate and are currently ranked 7th in the AHL West, the same conference as the Utica Comets. According to the #fancystats the Amerks are currently ranked in dead last in possession during score close situations, which means that they’ve been pretty damn fortunate thus far. Their place in the standings isn’t all that indicative of how good they actually are, and if this keeps up they’re in for some serious regression.
This meeting marked the 8th time these two teams have met this season, and they’ll play twice more. That seems like an excessively large amount, no? Despite the difference in possession (with Utica actually being much more proficient at it than Rochester) the Amerks have been the Comets’ kryptonite this season for whatever reason. In the previous 7 games the Amerks have won 5 times, and scored 6+ goals in two of those games.
The narrative did not change in this one. Here’s a period by period breakdown of how it went down:
Things actually started off very well for Utica, with the Comets dominating possession, and spending a large amount of time in the offensive zone. This trend continued till about 8:39 into the first, and then all of a sudden.. everything went south after Ben Ferriero was whistled for a hooking penalty.
The Americans were able to score on the ensuing power play to get on the board, and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite the shot count reading 13-6 Comets.
The second period was hideous one for the Comets. 5:23 in the Amerks scored again on the power play, with Grenier in the box for a high hit, making the game 2-0 for Rochester. A minute later the Amerks scored again. A fourth goal against was scored, and then not long after with Kellan Lain in the box, the Amerks made it 5-0. Eriksson – who had been playing some darn good hockey leading up to this game – was finally given a mercy pull at the end of the period.
One mup was replaced by another as Cannata started the third, but the lighting up didn’t stop. It eventually got to be 6-0 before Utica finally showed signs of life again, when DeFazio deflected Colin Stuart’s shot into the net. Lepine received an assist on the play, and now has points in all 4 games he has played with the Comets despite receiving limited ice time.
Huskins then scored, short handed, only three and a half minutes later. I think he’s been watching some Kevin Bieksa tape or something, because he took a shot from the red-line which bounced off of the stanchion and into the net. The last of the scoring on this night came when Frankie Corrado put one in with just 5.7 seconds left in the contest, making it 7-3. I guess you could say that the final score line looked a lot prettier than it actually was for a large chunk of the game.
Goals in this game were scored by Corrado, Huskins and DeFazio. The assists came from Stuart, Lepine, Ferriero, Friesen and Biega. Final shots on goal were in favour of the Comets at 34-23. Eriksson played the first two periods and made 10 of 15 stops which is going to hurt his Sv% after a long period of good play. Cannata made 6 of 8 stops for the Comets in the third period.
Utica could not score on any of their 6 power play attempts and were only able to stop 3 of 7 penalty kill attempts. You can call it regression, or bad luck, as the Comets have done very well on their penalty kill as of late. Despite being near dead last in the league they have recently managed to go through a stretch of 33 PK attempts against with only one goal. This night will put them right back to last in the league, most likely for the rest of the year. Two steps forward, a million steps back.
The Comets will play again tomorrow night in Utica against the very same Rochester Americans for a rematch. While the Comets have been unsuccessful this year in terms of staying out of the basement of the league, the organization has done well in giving prospects like Archibald, Grenier, Jensen and Corrado huge playing time which they wouldn’t have received in Vancouver, or with the Chicago Wolves. Hopefully next year with an infusion of prospects like Dane Fox and possible NCAA prospects the Comets will improve.
See you guys tomorrow!