UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A frantic third period comeback effort brought the Comets close to tasting overtime for the second night in a row, but the effort fell just short as the Hamilton Bulldogs hung on for a 3-2 victory at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Comets entered the third period trailing three to zero, but two tallies in the final stanza made for an exciting finish.
Peter Andersson and Colin Stuart both scored goals for the Comets and Joacim Eriksson made 21 saves in the defeat. Benn Ferriero picked up two assists on the evening and Pascal Pelletier extended his AHL scoring streak to five games with the primary assist on Andersson’s goal. Frankie Corrado also netted an assist for the Comets, who fell to 0-5-0-1 on the season.
It was the Bulldogs who struck first as Maxime Macenauer went to the backhand and slid the puck past Eriksson to get Hamilton on the board. Comets’ defenseman Henrik Tommernes went hard into the boards as he battled with Martin St. Pierre and the puck squirted out in front to a wide open Macenauer who beat Eriksson and gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
The first period was marked by penalties, as the two teams combined for 18 minutes on nine minors. Utica used the man advantage to their advantage, doubling the Bulldogs 12-6 on shots, which marked just the second time all season the Comets led in shots on goal in the opening frame.
Hamilton doubled its advantage at the 8:09 mark of the second period as Louis Leblanc collected a deflected pass and beat a sprawling Eriksson to make it 2-0. Sven Andrighetto picked up an assist on the play and LeBlanc’s tally gave him three in two nights and tied him with a team high four goals on the season.
Things went from bad to worse for the Comets as Akim Aliu buried his third goal of the season off of a feed from Macenauer. The Nigeria native crashed the net and one touched Macenauer’s pass to beat Eriksson. The assist gave Macenauer his first multi-point game of the year.
The comeback fever was noticeable off of the opening faceoff in the third period as the Comets came out of the locker rooms flying. Henrik Tommernes nearly gave Utica its first goal early in the period, but his shot rung off the iron and out. Andersson had better luck, however, as he took Pelletier’s feed and buried it top shelf to cut the deficit to 3-1.
After a back and forth period, Colin Stuart knocked home a loose puck in the crease with 4:33 left on the clock to make it a one goal game. Corrado and Ferriero recorded the helpers as the crowd went into a frenzy with the deficit cut to one. With the goal, Stuart added to his team high total and now has three tallies on the season.
The Comets could not find the equalizer during the balance of the third, and ran their winless streak to six games.
The Comets look to regroup this Wednesday as the Abbotsford Heat make the long trip to Utica in the AHL’s edition of the rivalry between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Gametime is set for 7:00 p.m at The AUD.