Upon his return to the American Hockey League, Jacob Markstrom and the Utica Comets shutout the Chicago Wolves 4-0 on Saturday night at the Allstate Arena for this 18th victory and fifth shutout of the season.
Alex Friesen (1-1-2), Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2), Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) all dipped their hands in the goal column tonight that helped Markstrom secure their 35th victory of the season. Cory Conacher (0-2-2), and Bobby Sanguinetti (0-2-2) had some helpers through the Comets three periods of dominance.
The Comets got things going in the first stanza and never looked back after Hunter Shinkaruk netted their first of the game and his eighth of the season at 8:58. Grenier set it up for Shinkaruk who lifted it past Matt Climie with a wrist shot on the far side to give them the early lead. Peter Andresson received the secondary assist.
It seemed as if that was all she wrote for the first period, but with the clock winding down the Comets broke out on a 3-on-1 and Friesen was able to bury puck over Climie’s shoulder as it slid across the blue paint. Cal O’Reilly tallied the primary assist.
The Comets continued to add on to their lead with another goal on the power play almost hallway through the second period. Grenier took advantage of a screened Climie and guided it into the net on the backhand while the goaltender was preoccupied on the opposite side of the net. Grenier’s power-play goal put the Comets up 3-0 with the help of Sanguinetti who tallied his second assist of the game.
The game was put to rest in the third period once Gaunce found the empty-net goal at 18:10 to make it a final score of 4-0. Conacher was credited with his second assist of the game on Gaunce’s goal and Friesen tallied another point by receiving the secondary assist.
Only one power-play goal (Grenier) was scored the entire game out of a combined total of 13 power-play opportunities.