Tag Archives: Toronto Marlies

Utica Comets Win Important, Even With No Playoffs

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Yes, the Comets were out of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoff picture.

Still, this was an important game.

“People are always watching,” said Comets goalie Joe Cannata.

Friday, a sellout crowd of 3,815 – including long ago Utica Devils heroes Tommy McVie and Eric Weinrich – at the Utica Memorial Auditorium watched the Comets come from behind to edge the Toronto Marlies 3-2, a victory that ensured them of a winning season and deprived the Marlies of a chance to move up from third in the Western Conference playoff seedings.

Spectacular goaltending by Cannata – he stopped 37 shots, many of them eye-popping and some of them that might best be described as miraculous – and a pair of third-period goals by veterans Pascal Pelletier and Cal O’Reilly did the job for the Comets.

Yann Sauve scored the other goal, and Alex Mallet, David Marshall, Nicklas Jensen, Alex Friesen and Alex Biega – who took a slap shot to the face in the third period and had to be assisted from the ice and eventually taken to the hospital – had assists for the Comets, who will take a 34-32-5-4 record into the season finale against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday at the Aud.

The winning record discounts five overtime and four shootout losses, but the Comets have 77 points, more than half the 152 available over the 76-game schedule.

“We know the season was ended (in terms of playoff possibilities), but nobody likes to lose,” said Cannata, who has been outstanding the second half of the season and is 8-2 in his last 10 starts, allowing just 24 goals. “They (the Marlies) had something to play for. We tried to play spoiler.”

And succeeded.

Comets coach Travis Green said the game was important for many reasons – the chance to finish over .500, to be a spoiler, to play for the fans and for each other – and the result, especially being down entering the third period, was gratifying for him.

“It says a lot about our group,” he said. “They’re resilient, determined. There is no quit in them.” Read more about the Utica Comets

Utica Comets Rally Not Enough to Beat Toronto Marlies

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Cal O’Reilly (top) and Pascal Pelletier (bottom) scored for Utica Comets.

Centers Pascal Pelletier and Cal O’Reilly scored Sunday’s goals for the Comets, who were trying to rebound from Saturday’s devastating, 6-5 overtime loss in Syracuse. Utica lost a 5-2 lead in the final 1:39 of regulation – the Crunch scored three goals with their goalie pulled in a span of 46 seconds.

On Sunday, the Comets fell behind when Toronto’s Sam Carrick scored on a rebound just 3:06 into the game and moments later, teammate Kenny Ryan converted a Utica turnover into a 2-0 lead for the Marlies.

Pelletier scored his 18th goal – his team-leading eighth power-play score – and cut Toronto’s lead in half with 3:01 left in the second period. Brandon DeFazio had one of the assists, raising the winger’s season total to a career-high 15.

But early in the third period, a double-minor on Utica’s Alexandre Grenier led to a power-play goal by Carrick and a 3-1 Marlies lead.

The Comets failed to score on back-to-back power plays of their own before pulling goalie Joe Cannata in the final minute and getting a goal from O’Reilly with 43.5 seconds remaining.

The Marlies (42-22-2-4) clinched the North Division title with the win.

Utica slipped to 31-30-5-4 and remains on the outside looking in in the Calder Cup playoff race. The Comets have six regular-season games remaining. They travel to Cleveland to play two games against the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday and Friday night.

Read more about the Comets.

Upcoming 3-Game Weekend Critical for Utica Comets

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It’s another full weekend for the Utica Comets, this time with three games in a space of 44 hours.

And there is much hanging in the balance.

The Comets are still trying to somehow scratch and claw their way into the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs. They 30-29-4-4 for 68 points and are seven points out of the eighth and final berth in the Western Conference with nine games to play.

They seem eager to get after it.

The Comets play the Toronto Marlies tonight ( 7 p.m. FRIDAY) at the Utica Memorial Auditorium , head up the road to play the Syracuse Crunch at 7 p.m. Saturday, then head immediately to Toronto to play the Marlies again at 3 p.m. Sunday.

It’s obviously a grind, but it’s why you play the game,” said forward Brandon DeFazio, the only Comet to play all 66 games this season. “It’s an opportunity to play three big games in a weekend. … It’s exciting. It really is.”

Read more about this exciting weekend

Brandon DeFazio has been named the Utica Comets’ IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year Award winner.

DeFazio is being honored for his contributions to the Utica community during the 2013-14 American Hockey League season. It is the third consecutive time he has been named his team’s Man of the Year, after previous honors with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2011-12 and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2012-13.

DeFazio has been involved in a number of activities, including Utica’s Quality of Life Sweep with several teammates and preparing and serving meals at the Rescue Mission of Utica. The team later raised $32,000 for the Rescue Mission at its March 7 game. He also has volunteered at local schools, libraries and hospitals and has assisted at practices of the Utica Jr. Comets.

More on Brandon DeFazio

Pelletier, Comets penalty kill gives Utica hard-fought AHL win

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Pascal Pelletier scored the game-winning goal with 34 seconds left, and the Utica Comets killed off eight of nine Toronto Marlies penalties to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win in an American Hockey League game Sunday in Toronto.

Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140216/Sports/140219370#ixzz2tZ8vUKxR