Cal O’Reilly (top) and Pascal Pelletier (bottom) scored for Utica Comets.
Centers Pascal Pelletier and Cal O’Reilly scored Sunday’s goals for the Comets, who were trying to rebound from Saturday’s devastating, 6-5 overtime loss in Syracuse. Utica lost a 5-2 lead in the final 1:39 of regulation – the Crunch scored three goals with their goalie pulled in a span of 46 seconds.
On Sunday, the Comets fell behind when Toronto’s Sam Carrick scored on a rebound just 3:06 into the game and moments later, teammate Kenny Ryan converted a Utica turnover into a 2-0 lead for the Marlies.
Pelletier scored his 18th goal – his team-leading eighth power-play score – and cut Toronto’s lead in half with 3:01 left in the second period. Brandon DeFazio had one of the assists, raising the winger’s season total to a career-high 15.
But early in the third period, a double-minor on Utica’s Alexandre Grenier led to a power-play goal by Carrick and a 3-1 Marlies lead.
The Comets failed to score on back-to-back power plays of their own before pulling goalie Joe Cannata in the final minute and getting a goal from O’Reilly with 43.5 seconds remaining.
The Marlies (42-22-2-4) clinched the North Division title with the win.
Utica slipped to 31-30-5-4 and remains on the outside looking in in the Calder Cup playoff race. The Comets have six regular-season games remaining. They travel to Cleveland to play two games against the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday and Friday night.