For the first in the history of the franchise, the Utica Comets (39-19-6-1) pushed their winning streak to five games after Sunday afternoon’s match-up against the Rochester Americans (25-33-5-0) resulted in a 4-1 victory at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.
Darren Archibald (1-0-1) (picture above) scored his second goal in three games and Frank Corrado (1-0-1) scored his first since returning from the Vancouver Canucks to help give them the early lead. Both Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) both found the back of the net later on in the game, which was more than enough to secure the Comets 39th win of the season.
It didn’t take much for the Comets to open up the scoring in the first period of play as Archibald found the net just past the three-minute mark. Negrin set up the opportunity in front as he directed one towards the net from the point. Mike Zalewski got a hold of the puck first and tipped it down towards the ice, but Archibald was there to collect the puck and bury it top shelf on Andrey Makarov’s blocker side for the early 1-0 lead.
With less than two minutes left in the first, Corrado took advantage of the Comets second power play of the period as he raced down the right wing. A slapshot is all that it took for Corrado to bury the power-play goal on the far side that gave the Comets the two-goal lead before heading into the second period. Jeremie Blain was credited with the only assist on the play.
The Americans answered back halfway through the second period at 10:20 after the Comets defenders were caught out of position. Matt Pelech found the hole and snuck through towards the left of the slot as he put it through Joacim Eriksson’s legs to make it 2-1.
The Comets took their two-goal lead back in the third period after a nice heads-up play by Alexandre Grenier. A dish to the center slot was enough for Shinkaruk to snipe it off the crossbar and in to make it 3-1 at 7:20. Cal O’Reilly tallied the secondary assist.
And for the second night in a row, Baertschi sealed the deal at 19:15 with his second empty-netter in just as many games to give the Comets the 4-1 win. Carter Bancks assisted Baertschi’s tenth point in nine games since being dealt to the Comets from the Adirondack Flames.
After defeating their fellow North Division foes Sunday afternoon, the Comets have secured a total of 85 points and could be gunning for the first place standing within the Western Conference depending on the outcome of the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Adirondack Flames game this afternoon.
The Utica Comets will be heading back to The Utica Memorial Auditorium for back-to-back home games that begin next Friday night March 27th. It will be their second and final meeting of the regular season against the Oklahoma City Barons and the action begins at 7 p.m.