The Utica Comets returned to the Utica Memorial Auditorium for their second home game of the week as they took on the Springfield Falcons in their continued push for a playoff spot. A four goal third period lifted the Comets to a 5-2 victory over the Falcons for their second consecutive come from behind victory. Coupled with Syracuse Crunch’s regulation loss to the Toronto Marlies, the Comets magic number was reduced to nine points.
T.J. Hensick (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (1-2-3), Alex Friesen (1-0-1), David Shields (1-0-1), Brandon Marino (1-0-1) picked up goals for the Comets, while defenseman Jon Landry (0-2-2) recorded a multi-point night. Joe Cannata stopped 18 of the Falcons’ 20 shots on goal for the victory.
After dominating for the vast majority of the first period, the Comets were held scoreless in the first period for the second consecutive game. Despite outshooting the Falcons 10-5 after twenty minutes of fast-paced hockey, the Falcons maintained a 1-0 lead off of a goal from Dominic Mondardo, his sixth of the season. Monardo found the back of the net at 10:31 of the first with a shot that came from the left of Comets goaltender Joe Cannata. The puck trickled its way between the goaltender and the near post and, after withstanding review, the call on the ice stood.
The Comets finally got on the board as T.J. Hensick netted his ninth goal of the season off a feed from defenseman Jon Landry (0-1-1) to even the score. Hensick (1-0-1) rifled a shot past the glove of Falcons goaltender Niklas Treutle at 12:48. Alexandre Grenier (1-2-3) also collected an assist on the play for his team-leading 37th point.
The Falcons responded within minutes to regain the lead as Springfield’s Ross Mauermann collected his sixth goal of the season, unassisted, at 2:03 of the second period. Despite out-playing and out-shooting the Falcons 27-13, the Comets returned to the locker room trailing after two.
The Comets began both the second and the third periods on the penalty kill, however were able to rebound in the third. Alex Friesen (1-0-1) redirected a shot from Taylor Fedun (0-1-1) for his eleventh goal of the season at 17:21 of the third, once again knotting the two teams.
Three minutes later Grenier put a shot on net from the perimeter that found its way past Treutle for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Comets offense did not take a break and propelled itself to score two more goals for a total of four goals in nine minutes. In a span of 20 seconds David Shields and Brandon Marino added insurance goals to push the final score to 5-2.
Overall, eight different Comets combine to tally a total of six points on the night. With the win, the Comets record improved to 34-23-7-4 on the season for a total of 79 points.
The Comets get no time off as they travel to Binghamton tomorrow to take on the Senators for the second time in a week, before returning home to play the Syracuse Crunch at The AUD on Sunday. Game time for Saturday is scheduled for 7:15pm.