The Utica Comets didn’t disappoint the home crowd after defeating the Rochester Americans 4-2 Friday night in their first game at The Utica Memorial Auditorium since March 4th . The Utica Comets captured another two points to put them at a total of 81 before heading out on the road to finish their three-in-three weekend.
Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2 (pictured above), Darren Archibald (1-0-1), Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) all found goals for the Comets during Friday night’s victory. Bobby Sanguinetti (0-3-3) and Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) both found their way on to the scorer’s sheet with a combined total of five assists.
Despite outshooting the Americans 16-9 in the first stanza, the Americans were the only ones to find the back of the net in the opening period. Evan Rankin slipped a shot past Eriksson after a faceoff in the Comets zone at 18:02 with assists from Brady Austin and Michael Pelech.
The Americans found their second goal with only 12 seconds left after Justin Kea just beat Alex Biega into the zone. With Biega on his trail, Kea protected the puck and one handed it in through Eriksson’s legs for the 2-0 lead.
The Comets answered in a hurry once they hit the ice for the second period. Archibald received a pass inside the slot from Brandon DeFazio and popped it past Andrey Makarov to get the Comets within one just 12 seconds after the second period puck drop. Mike Zalewski received credit for the secondary assist.
At 6:17 Baertschi recorded his seventh point in seven games after a slap shot from the left point ripped past Makarov for the equalizer and the power-play goal. Both Bobby Sanguinetti and Cal O’Reilly chipped in on the play.
Utica found their third unanswered goal on a two-on-one opportunity that resulted from a smart heads-up play from Alexandre Grenier who jumped out of the penalty box just at the right time. With Gaunce rushing in on the left wing, Grenier fed the puck across the slot and Gaunce banged it into the mesh to put the comets up 3-2 at 12:52. Saguinetti also received credit on the play.
The Comets continued to cause havoc in the crease as the teams entered the third period. One minute after a hooking penalty was called Drew Bagnall, Grenier tipped in a wrist shot from Sanguinetti for their second power-play goal of the game that gave the Comets a final score of 4-2.
With Friday night’s victory over the Americans, the Comets now have a 12-point lead over their North Division foe, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Comets will continue their three-in-three weekend with a game in Syracuse tomorrow evening. The 7 p.m. match-up at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena will be their second to last meeting with the Crunch this season.