UTICA, N.Y. - For the first time in franchise history, the Utica Comets completed a third period come from behind victory, as they defeated the Binghamton Senators 3-2.
Nicklas Jensen and Frank Corrado scored third period goals and captain Colin Stuart also scored for the Comets, who moved to 22-23-3-4 as they earned their fourth consecutive victory. Center Cal O’Reilly collected two assists for the second consecutive evening and goaltender Joacim Eriksson turned aside 27 of 29 shots for the victory.
The Senators struck first, as they opened the scoring in this one, with Mike Hoffman putting a shot through Eriksson from the right hand circle. Binghamton’s leading scorer took a feed from defenseman Chris Wideman and netted a goal for the second straight game against Utica.
The Comets knotted the scoring at the 9:18 mark of the second period, as Stuart beat Andrew Hammond for the first time tonight. The Utica captain was set up in the slot and took a feed from Jeremy Welsh, which he potted into the top corner of the net. The goal was the fifth of the season for Stuart in three games against Binghamton and his twelfth overall. Winger Alex Mallet also picked up an assist on the play with the secondary marker, his first point since Jan. 4 in Toronto.
Binghamton extended its lead to two goals as Hoffman recorded his second of the evening, a shot that deflected off of Corrado. Hoffman’s goal was his 30th marker of the season, which ties him with Colton Sceviour of the Texas Stars for the AHL lead. Mark Stone picked up the lone assist on the play, which extended his point streak to 10 games.
Utica equalized early in the third period, as Jensen knocked a loose puck past Hammond just 19 seconds into the final stanza. The goal, scored on the power-play, was Jensen’s team high sixth of the season with the man advantage and his eighth during the month of February. Defenseman Patrick Mullen and O’Reilly collected assists on the play, the fifth straight game for O’Reilly with a point.
The Comets completed the comeback at the 6:31 mark of the third as Corrado scored his fifth goal of the season on a shot from the right point. The goal, the second game-winner of Corrado’s AHL career, came off of a feed from O’Reilly, who picked up his 20th assist as a Comet.
Eriksson collected his 16th win of the season and his second over Binghamton. The Galve, Sweden native has now stopped 69 of 73 against the Senators this season. With the victory, the Comets jumped both Hamilton and Charlotte in the Western Conference standings as they moved into 12th place. Utica also moved to within just six points of eighth place Milwaukee for the final playoff spot.
Utica is back in action tomorrow afternoon, as they complete their three games in as many days stretch with a matinee at the Times Union Center in Albany. Puck drop on the final meeting of the season between the Comets and Devils is set for 3:00 p.m.