UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets connected twice on the power play but could not quiet the Sound Tigers in a 5-3 defeat at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Comets fell to 1-8-1-1 on home ice this season as their struggles at The AUD continued.
Patrick Mullen, Benn Ferriero and Yannick Weber were the goal scorers for the Comets in a game that marked just the third regulation loss when Utica scored three or more goals. Ferriero had a three-point night with points on each of the Comet goals, while Cal O’Reilly had a two-point night with a pair of helpers and Weber picked up an assist for his first multi-point game of the season. Joacim Eriksson made 27 saves on 32 shots and was handed his ninth loss of the season in regulation.
The Sound Tigers struck first midway through the first period as Alan Quine beat Eriksson for his second of the season. After an extended shift in the offensive zone by Bridgeport, a tired Utica defensive group turned the puck over in front of their own net and Quine capitalized, going to his forehand to beat a sprawling goaltender.
Bridgeport doubled its advantage with less than three minutes to play in the stanza as Jon Sim snuck one past Eriksson on the short side. Sim took an outlet pass from Riley Wetmore and fired one in stride from the left hand circle which Eriksson could not keep out. The goal was the first of the season for Sim, while Wetmore picked up his seventh career point, his sixth this year.
The Comets cut the deficit in half off of a nice play from Brandon DeFazio, who led a 2-on-1 rush and dished off a beautiful feed to Mullen, who buried it past Milner. Mullen’s goal, his fourth of the season, moved him past Henrik Tommernes for the team lead amongst defensemen. DeFazio and Ferriero each picked up their sixth assists on the season on the play.
Bridgeport extended its lead to two goals for the second time on a marker from Mike Halmo. Halmo’s goal, his team leading ninth of the season, came from an outside shot that got past a screened Eriksson. Ryan Strome and Andres Lee picked up assists on the play.
The Comets once again responded as they scored for sixth time in seven games on the power play. For the second time in as many games, Ferriero unleashed a one timer from the left hand circle off of a feed from Cal O’Reilly and the shot beat Milner near post. Yannick Weber extended his scoring streak to six games with the second assist on the play.
Bridgeport struck just before the end of the middle frame to make it 4-2 on a Matt Donovan goal. Lee put the puck through Eriksson’s legs and into the crease where Donovan was on hand to bang it home. The goal was the second of the season for the Bridgeport defenseman, who has now recorded five points in five games played since being loaned from New York. Strome also picked up an assist on the play, his 21st of the season, which leads the AHL.
Bridgeport extended its lead to 5-2 on a nice individual effort from Strome, who recorded a three-point night of his own. The Mississauga, ON native took the puck at center ice and was able to separate space from the Utica defense before he unleashed a wrist shot past Eriksson. The goal capped off a three-point night for Strome and moved the young center into a tie for the AHL lead in points at 29.
The Comets got one back on the power play with 9:25 on the clock courtesy of a blast from the point by Weber, who picked up his second point of the evening. The Swiss defenseman collected a pass from Ferriero and unloaded a slapshot past Milner. O’Reilly also picked up his second point of the evening with the secondary assist.
Milner held his own down the stretch and was able to deny all Utica chances to secure his first career AHL win. The Boston College product turned aside 28 of 31 shots he faced as he was victorious in just his third appearance in the league.
The Comets are right back in action tomorrow as they travel to Glens Falls for their first regular season meeting with the Adirondack Phantoms. The Comets defeated the Phantoms during a pre-season meeting in Rome, NY as Alex Friesen led the way with two goals. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. from the Glens Falls Civic Center.