Courtesy of Utica Comets Facebook
24 hours after beating the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 the Comets were back on the road for a game against the Binghamton Senators. After a much more eventful game where goals, chances and the lead were traded back and forth it was Frank (The Tank) Corrado who pulled the Comets to give the Comets a 3-2 regulation win.
Continue past the jump to learn how it all went down.
The Binghamton Senators (33-15-1-3) (BSens) are the AHL Affiliate of the… (take a guess, you’ll never figure it out).. a few more seconds.. Ottawa Senators! They’re a very strong team as Ottawa has done an admirable job of stocking them with strong prospects. They’re currently ranked third in the AHL East, but puck possession estimates have them somewhere closer to the middle of the pack. This is the third time these two teams have met this season, with the BSens taking their last meeting 4-3 in regulation.
Benn Ferriero and Alexandre Grenier were not available for this game, which really hurt the Comets as those are two of their top scorers. No one seems to know how but apparently Grenier was hurt in the third period of last night’s game.
Eriksson got the nod in net, which wasn’t that surprising, since the Comets have played him twice in back-to-back scenarios before. It’s always the better bet to play the rested backup over the tired starter, but Eriksson has been playing very well recently so it’s hard to argue with the decision to keep riding him.
Because tonight’s game is just a short drive from Utica there were plenty of Comets fans in the stands. Here’s a period-by-period breakdown of how the game went down:
This game started off like many others with the first few minutes of the first period quiet with a lot of neutral zone play; the first shot wasn’t even registered until 16:46. In what is becoming a trend with this team, the Comets were the first ones to take a penalty and put themselves on the penalty kill. Fortunately, they managed to kill it off efficiently.
Later in the period Lain started getting into some pushing and shoving with a few of the BSens players Mark Stone and Michael Sdao. Both Sdao and Lain got penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct before the whistle but since they weren’t offsetting, the game went to two minutes of 4 on 4 action. With the open ice Mike Hoffman, currently in second for AHL scoring, managed to beat Eriksson with a blocker side wrist shot off of the faceoff to put the BSens up 1-0.
As the first period wound down, the Comets had to go back on the PK as Andersson was called for holding. Despite that, though, the Comets had a few good chances to even it up including two good shots from Kennedy and Marshall. The shot count at the end of the first was 12-10 for the BSens with the chances fairly even. Only one first period goal has been scored by the Comets in their last six games, as they have been awfully slow starters.
The start of the second period brought much of the safe.. Hoffman got a 2-on-1 chance (which Eriksson stopped, this time), and a bunch of post-whistle pushing and shoving resulted in the Comets going back on the penalty kill. Once again, the Comets actually managed to get the best chance despite being a man down, as Cal O’Reilly nearly put home a highlight reel shorthanded goal.
It was Colin Stuart who finally got the Comets on board and tied up the score 1-1 shortly thereafter. But the tie didn’t last long as Hoffman managed to generate another goal just two minutes later, this time by banking it off of Stephane De Costa’s skates and into the net.
The rest of the period was all Utica, as they seemed to turn on the “Score Effects” setting on their console. There were plenty of good chances from Mullen, Welsh and Stuart, but they still couldn’t tie the game up..
The first penalty called on Binghamton finally came at 18:34 into the second when Da Costa received two minutes for tripping. That penalty carried over into the third and the second period ended 2-1 for the BSens with the Comets winning the shot differential battle for the period 12-8 (making it 22-20 for the game).
Things didn’t look great for the Comets heading into the 3rd; they’ve yet to win when trailing after two, and the BSens have been 25-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes. But remember: there’s a reason they play the games!
.. and sure enough, just 19 seconds into the period the Comets managed to finally tie the game up at 2. It was Jensen and DeFazio who seemed to push the puck into the net at the same time, and after video review to see whether it was kicked in or not, the goal was finally credited to Jensen.
For the next six minutes the Comets conitnued to maintain possession. Lain was involved in more pushing and shoving after Eriksson was bowled over (following a handful of splendid saves). Ben Blood and Darren Kramer tried to convince Lain and DeFazio to get into a fight but no penalties were called.
6:31 into the third it was Corrado who broke the deadlock shooting the puck from the point off of the faceoff. The remainder of the period was spent with the Comets displaying their defensive skills trying to stop the BSens from tieing the game up to sending it to OT. Archibald was seen establishing his dominance with the puck down low, and on the other end Eriksson locked things down when called upon.
The final score was a 3-2 victory for the Utica Comets, as they garnered themselves a big two points by beating a quality opponent for the second straight night.
With the final score 3-2 for the Comets, they managed to win the shot count 30-29 (22-20 in Close situations). Comets goals came from Stuart, Jensen and Frank “the Tank” Corrado (the game-winner). Assists went to Welsh, Mallet, Mullen and O’Reilly (x2). This is Mallet’s first point since January 4th, which isn’t exactly a great sign for him. Despite starting in back to back games, Eriksson made 27 of 29 saves, good for a .931 Sv% and another Quality Start. He is now up to a solid .914 Sv% on the year.
Specials teams went 1 for 1 on their Power Play while the Penalty Kill stepped up large again going 5 for 5. Corrado earned the first star of the game, while Cal O’Reilly earned the third.
Courtesy of @CometsInGame
With 51 points the Comets continue to climb the standings as they are in 12th in their conference, 3rd in their division and 21st in the league (which is close to where puck possession places them). They’re now just 6 points out of a playoff spot and the possibility of them competing for the Calder Cup continues to become more and more feasible.