Tag Archives: Joacim Eriksson

Utica Comets Players in World Championships

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Utica Comets goalie Joacim Eriksson of Sweden, winger Nicklas Jensen of Denmark and defenseman Yannick Weber of Switzerland are playing in the International Ice Hockey Federation champions that began Friday in Minsk, Belarus.

Eriksson played in 52 games for the Comets, an American Hockey League high, and had a 24-20-2 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and 0.911 save percentage. He had five shutouts.

Jensen had 15 goals and six assists in 54 games with Utica, and added three goals and three assists in 17 games with the Vancouver Canucks. Weber played just seven early-season games for the Comets before being recalled to Vancouver. He had two goals and five assists in seven games in Utica.

 

UTICA COMETS: The Surprise Kids

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The season did not start out well. The Utica Comets were winless in their first 10 games in their inaugural season in the American Hockey League, and they struggled mightily through the first couple of months.

I wouldn’t say worried,” said coach Travis Green, who was making his professional debut behind the bench. “I had high expectations of starting the year off right. There were some trying times for our coaching staff. There definitely was a time we wondered if we were doing the right things.”

The 0-8-1-1 start put the Comets in an enormous hole. That, plus a six-game winless streak in early January and an epic collapse against the Syracuse Crunch on April 5 that cost them two crucial points in the standings didn’t help at all.

But despite a dearth of goal-scoring – 2.46 goals per game, 26th in the 30-team league – the Comets eventually figured it out. After an 8-3 home loss to the Albany Devils on Jan. 17, they went 24-12-3-1 to finish 35-32-5-4, two points out of the Calder Cup playoffs.

The desperate run over the last three months, and a season-long penchant for playing dramatic, one-goal games (24-22 in 46 of them) provided a lot of drama, and seemed to win over the majority of fans, thousands of whom saluted the team wildly after Saturday’s finale, a 2-0 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

 

Guys had a better understanding of how Travis wanted us to play, and when Cal (O’Reilly) came in,” he said. “(O’Reilly) provided a lot of things, and not just points – leadership and skills, on and off the ice.”

Green felt the team played better than its record early.

We had young guys in goal, we had young guys on defense,” he said. “Our team had never played together. It seems simple, but it isn’t. Even how your voice sounds matters. … When we added Husky (Kent Huskins) and O’Reilly, it made a difference. Both goalies (Joacim Eriksson and Joe Cannata) began developing after 15 or 20 games. That might be the biggest thing.”

Green plans to pound home the lessons learned this season next season.

Pat Conacher, the Stanley Cup winner and former Utica Devils captain who is the team’s director of operations, said he doesn’t know if all or any of the players who fall under the AHL’s veteran rule – Pelletier, O’Reilly, Huskins, Colin Stuart, Benn Ferriero, Alex Biega – will be back, or short-term vets like Brandon DeFazio, the only Comet to play every game this season, who had his best year in three AHL seasons at 17-17 -34 and plus-6.

He does know he is looking for better results as the Comets try to win and develop talent for the parent Vancouver Canucks.

It is not satisfactory,” he said. “The goal is to not only make the playoffs, but to win championships, every year. … They all want to be in the NHL. They have to do their work down here. Every game is important, first to last. If they play 12 minutes or 15 minutes, they have to make themselves the very best they can be in those minutes. The kids have to learn that down here.”

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Utica Comets to miss Playoffs

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Pascal Pelletier has missed the playoffs only twice in his 10 professional hockey seasons.This is one of them.“It’s not a good feeling,” the Utica Comets veteran said after he and his teammates eliminated from Calder Cup contention in a 4-1 American Hockey League loss to the Rochester Americans Wednesday before 3,316 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Colton Gillies scored twice in the second period for the Amerks, who nailed down a playoff berth of their own with the win. Kevin Porter and Phil Varone scored the other goals and Andrey Makarov made 31 saves.

David Marshall scored the only Comets goal, with assists from Ray Kaunisto and Yann Sauve, and Joacim Eriksson made 18 stops.

The loss ended a desperate stretch of must-win games for the Comets, who have had a winning record – 33-24-4-3 – since going 0-8-1-1 in the first five weeks of the season.

“It’s been pretty hard,” said Pelletier, the team’s leading scorer (20-40 – 60). “But when you’re in it, you don’t really think about it. We’ve been trying to battle back from that horrible start.”

The Comets went last night’s game needing to defeat the Amerks and then win at home against Toronto Friday and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday, with the hope that everyone else in contention would fall apart. Oklahoma City could have come close to securing a spot Wednesday, but lost 2-1 to Texas. They and Charlotte and Rockford all have two weekend games apiece to settle the eighth and final playoff spot.

That leaves the Comets with two so-called “meaningless games” to play.

“Everybody needs to be a pro about it,” Pelletier said. “People pay money, so play like you mean it.”

Which is what Comets Coach Travis Green expects.

“Part of being a pro is playing the right way,” he said. “This group has come a long way since the start of the season. I don’t expect that to change.  It’s tough to play games when you know you’re out of it, but this will show me who they are. It’s part of character. Playing in tough games is not easy, but it will tell you what kind of players you have.”

Green did not have a problem with his team’s effort Wednesday, and thought the first period was excellent. Several turnovers led to goals in the second, though, and that turned the game.

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OOOPS! Utica Comets Blew A Big Lead, At The Wrong Time

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The Utica Comets blew a 5-2 lead in a span of 46 seconds over the last minute and a half of regulation, then Brett Connolly scored at 2:36 of overtime as the Syracuse Crunch pinned a devastating, 6-5 loss on them Saturday at the Onondaga War Memorial.

The collapse seriously injured but did not end the Comets’ desperate hopes to make the American Hockey League playoffs. They are four points out of playoff position with seven games to play, including at 3 p.m. Sunday in Toronto.

Alex Friesen scored two goals for the Comets, and Cal Reilly and Patrick Kennedy scored the others. Alex Biega had two assists, and Welsh, Friesen, O’Reilly and Kellan Lain an dYann Sauve also had assists. Joacim Eriksson made 25 saves for the Comets.

The Comets, who played without defenseman Frankie Corrado after he was recalled to Vancouver late Friday, also have road games at Lake Erie Thursday and Friday and at Adirondack Sunday before finishing the regular season at home against Rochester April 16, Toronto April 18, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton April 19.

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WOW! Utica Comets Take Down Toronto Marlies 5-1

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Pascal Pelletier (pictured above) got the first of 5 goals.

To some eyes, the Utica Comets were flat as a pancake.

They trailed the Toronto Marlies 1-0 after the first period, had been outshot 9-3 and had definitely gotten the worst of the territorial battle.

“We weren’t really flat, but we needed a little energy,” Pascal Pelletier said.

They got it early in the second period, when Darrren Archibald traded some big, heavyweight punches with Toronto’s Brad Staubitz, and Alex Mallet dropped the gloves with the Marlies’ Brad Ross just a couple of minutes apart.

“It got the boys going and it got the crowd going, and we got the train rolling,” said Pelletier, who played a large role in the whole thing.

The Comets suddenly ripped off five goals in 13 and half minutes, rumbling to a 5-1 victory over the Marlies before a nominal sell-out crowd of 3,815 – there were quite a few empty seats – Friday at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, keeping their flickering American Hockey League playoff hopes alive.

It was the first game in a third straight three-in-three weekend for the Comets, who head up the road to Syracuse to play the Crunch today, then immediately leave for Toronto to play the Marlies again at 3 p.m. Sunday. Utica (31-29-4-4, 70 points) trails Charlotte, which holds the last Western Conference playoff berth, by five points, is four points back of Rochester and three behind Oklahoma City, and has a game in hand on all of those teams.

Pelletier scored on the power play and shorthanded to cap Utica’s explosive second period run, and Frankie Corrado, Brandon DeFazio and Alex Friesen scored the other goals. Kellan Lain had two assists for the Comets, Friesen, Henrik Tommernes, Alex Biega, Jeremy Welsh, Alexandre Grenier and Cal O’Reilly had the others, and Joacim Eriksson made 21 saves.

Friesen, the Comets’ small – he is listed at 5-foot-10, 186 pounds, which most would say is generous – and highly energetic forward, had another good night playing with Lain and Welsh. He thought the Comets did a much better job of managing the puck and keeping the Marlies in their end in the second period – Utica had a 14-6 shot bulge – but agreed that Archibald and Mallet played big parts as well.

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Utica Comets keep drive alive, down Abbortsford Heat 3-1

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Colin Stuart scored two goals, Brandon DeFazio added another, and Joacim Eriksson made 38 saves as the Utica Comets downed the Abbotsford Heat 3-1 Saturday night in British Columbia.

It was the ninth win in 13 games for the Comets (27-27-3-4, 61 points), who had a four-game win streak broken by the Heat Friday. The Heat, missing many of their top players for a variety of reasons, have just one win in their last 10 games.


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The Comets will be off until next weekend, when they will be very busy – the Adirondack Phantoms visit the Utica Memorial Auditorium Friday, the Comets go to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday, and then play the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday at the Aud.

 

Calahan Patrick O’Reilly is Utica Comets Hero in Victory Over Penguins on Irish Night

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The Utica Comets styled it “Irish Night,” and wore green, shamrock-decorated sweaters.

Naturally, Calahan Patrick O’Reilly took it all to heart.

O’Reilly set up Brandon DeFazio’s dramatic tying goal with just 7.2 seconds to play in regulation, then, after five minutes of scoreless overtime, scored the only goal of the shootout on the last attempt of the night, bringing down a roaring, sold-out house at the Utica Memorial Auditorium and giving his team a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

“Luck of the Irish for us tonight,” said O’Reilly, who has been a reliable and creative puck-possessor and playmaker (4 goals, 25 assists) since joining the team 15 games into the season. “It was a huge comeback for us, getting two points that we really need, in front of this crowd.”

Ferriero’s Goal Gives Utica Comets Win Over Bridgeport

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Benn Ferriero scored a power play goal early in the third period, Cal O’Reilly had two assists, and Joacim Eriksson made 29 saves to lead the Utica Comets to a 2-1 American Hockey League victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday in Connecticut.

Utica Comets’ Eriksson blanks Milwaukee Admirals 3-0

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Darren Archibald scored twice, defenseman Kent Huskins added his first goal of the season, and Joacim Eriksson posted his fourth shutout as the Utica Comets downed the Milwaukee Admirals 3-0 Friday.

The Comets are 18-22-2-4 for 42 points and are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. They travel to Rockford to play the IceHogs at 5 p.m. Sunday, then are off until next Friday when they play the Americans in Rochester. They return to the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday to play the Amerks.

Neither team scored in the first period Friday, but the Comets got everything they needed in the second, when they outshot the Admirals 13-4. Archibald scored with an assist from Alex Biega at 3:55, and then Huskins, who seldom ventures deep into the offensive zone, steamed down the slot and took a pass from Colin Stuart to score at 8:08. Archibald added his ninth goal of the season at 15:01, with Biega and Jeremy Welsh assisting.

Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140207/Sports/140209363#ixzz2siVfHiVB

Coach Green Happy With Utica Comets After Another Win

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Travis Green is happy with his hockey team.

Why wouldn’t he be?

His Utica Comets won for the fifth time in six games, and collected their 11th point over that stretch, with a 3-1 American Hockey League victory over the Syracuse Crunch before a sold out, Pink-the-Rink crowd of 3,815 Friday at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

“I like how we’ve been skating,” said the first-year coach, who hopes things continue along the same lines when the Rockford IceHogs visit the Aud at 7 p.m. Saturday. “We’re working hard, playing smart hockey. When there’s a play to be made, we make it. “

Joacim Eriksson had another big game, turning aside 31 shots and not allowing a goal until just over a minute remained in winning for the fourth time in five games. Brandon DeFazio, Pascal Pelletier and Darren Archibald scored the goals for the Comets (16-20-2-4, 38 points, and 16-12-1-3 since their 0-8-1-1 start to the season). Alexandre Grenier had two assists and Pelletier, Cal O’Reilly and Archibald had one apiece.

Andrej Sustr scored the only goal for Syracuse (17-20-2-4, 40 points) with 1:05 left in the game as the Crunch skated 6-on-5. Cedrick Desjardins made 26 saves for Syracuse, which has dropped six straight.

The Comets have allowed just nine goals in the last six games, five wins and a shootout loss, in a streak that began after an 8-3 beating at the hands of the Albany Devils Jan. 17. Utica began the streak with a 3-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs with Joe Cannata in net, and Eriksson has had the duty the last five, since returning from his stay with the parent Vancouver Canucks.

“Yokie has been playing great,” said Alex Biega, the former Harvard hockey captain who has been a solid presence on defense all season. “And the defensive corps, not just the defensemen but everyone, has been very solid. We’re boxing guys out, taking away seams, taking away the Grade A chances.”

Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140131/SPORTS/140139765#ixzz2s6C17pes