After a pre-game ceremony that saw the Utica Comets receive the Sam Pollock Trophy for conquering this season’s North Division, the Comets (44-19-6-1) extended their win streak to 10 games on Tuesday evening. The Comets pocketed a 3-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs (32-27-12-0) at The Utica Memorial Auditorium and took the season series 5-3-0-0.
Cal O’Reilly (1-1-2) extended his league best 13-game point streak with an assist in the first period. Both Cory Conacher (1-1-2) and Nicklas Jensen (1-0-1) netted goals to help push the Comets towards their 44th victory of the season. Joacim Eriksson received the first star of the night after stopping 28 of the 29 shots Hamilton released on net.
It took some time but the Comets finally found the net with 2.6 seconds left in the first period after an offensive zone turnover by the Bulldogs. O’Reilly forced the puck out of a Hamilton defender’s possession and slid the puck over to Conacher who then rifled a shot over the shoulder of Mike Condon to give the Comets a 1-0 lead.
The puck didn’t get reacquainted with the back the net until the third period when the Comets found their second goal of the game after a couple of rebounds that Condon was unable to control. Jensen picked up the second rebound and popped it in on the short-side for the 2-0 lead at 7:18. Both Conacher and Alex Friesen tried picked up assists on the goal.
The Bulldogs found their first goal of the game at 11:53 after a handful of pucks were thrown at Eriksson. T.J. Hensick caused some havoc in the Comets zone after the forward spiked a couple on net before eventually assisting Daniel Carr on their lone goal of the game.
With just under five minutes left in the game, the Comets took back their two-goal lead for good after O’Reilly swung one towards the net from the corner boards. The puck zoomed in and bounced off of a Bulldog defender, which popped past Condon for a final score of 3-1 and O’Reilly’s second point of the night. Both Adam Clendening and Frank Corrado received assists on the Comets last goal.
The Comets improved their penalty kill to 87.3% percent after killing all five penalty-kill situations they had during Tuesday’s game.
After tallying another two-points to their league standing (95), the Comets have held onto their first place spot within the Western Conference.
Another heated rivalry will be taking place right back at The AUD this Friday when the Comets face the Adirondack Flames for the 11th time this season at 7 p.m. In their previous 10 games the Comets have compiled an impressive 9-1-0-0 record against the Flames and a 4-1-0-0 record on home ice.