UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets made it two in a row as they defeated the Chicago Wolves 2-1 Tuesday night, in the inaugural meeting between the two franchises. In a battle of familiar faces, with 11 of Utica’s 24 skaters being Wolves last season, the Comets came out on top to earn their first set of back-to-back wins of 2014.
Frank Corrado and Benn Ferriero each scored for the Comets, who improved to 13-20-2-3 this season. Joacim Eriksson, in his first start with the Comets after a spell with Vancouver, made 22 of 23 saves for his ninth victory of the season. Chicago got a 28-save effort from AHL All-Star Jake Allen, who kept the Wolves in the game despite a 30-23 shot differential in favor of the Comets.
Utica posted a dominant 15-5 shots on goal advantage during the first period, but could not solve Allen. Utica’s best chance of the period came off a 2-on-1 break between Alexandre Grenier and Darren Archibald, but the Chicago netminder slid across and made an outstanding glove save on Grenier’s bid. Eriksson was perfect as well in the period, despite facing just the five shots.
Chicago got on the board first, just 1:26 into the second period, courtesy of a deflected effort from Ty Rattie. The Portland Winterhawks product picked up his team leading 14th goal of the season as he got his stick on a point effort from defenseman Taylor Chorney. Dmitrij Jaskin also picked up an assist on the play.
Utica leveled at the 13:03 mark of the second, as Jensen took a feed from Cal O’Reilly to beat Allen for the first time. Jensen caught his teammate’s pass on his backhand, did a full spin and fired a wristshot past Allen’s blocker for his fifth goal over Utica’s past six games. Benn Ferriero extended his scoring streak to six games with the secondary assist on the play.
Corrado gave Utica a lead it would not relinquish with 5:46 left on the clock in the third period. The defenseman took a drop pass from Ferriero at the blueline, which he took into the right hand circle and unleashed over Allen’s blocker hand. The goal, just Corrado’s third of the season, sealed the victory for the Comets. Ferriero collected his second straight multi-point game and his sixth of the season with the lone assist.
By defeating the Wolves, Utica moved out of the AHL’s basement as they passed Hartford in the overall league standings. The Comets now sit on 31 points for the season, 11 points behind the current playoff line. Utica won for just the fifth time this season when they surrender the first goal and improved to 5-3-1-1 when tied after the second period.
The Comets are next in action this weekend as they make their second trip to Western Canada for a two game set with the Abbotsford Heat. The Comets enter Friday’s action with a 4-1-1-0 record against Abbotsford, their best against any opponent. Puck drop on both Friday and Saturday night are set for 10:00 p.m. from the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.