UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets forced their third straight game to overtime, but failed to extend their winning streak to five games as they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Lake Erie Monsters.
Utica forward Benn Ferriero improved his scoring streak to nine games with a goal and an assist, while Patrick Mullen also lit the lamp for the Comets. AHL Player of the Week Joacim Eriksson turned aside 34 of 36 shots as he earned his team a point for the eighth time in his past nine starts.
The Comets got off on the right foot as they struck first for the nineteenth time this season. Mullen made his return to the lineup known in a big way, as he buried a Ferriero feed at the back post for a power-play goal at the 10:40 mark of the first. Cal O’Reilly also picked up a helper on the play. The assist extended Ferriero’s point streak to nine games, still an active AHL high. Ferriero is four games shy of the league best this season, held by Syracuses’ Vladislav Namestnikov.
Lake Erie answered exactly one minute later as Mark Olver scored his tenth goal of the season. With the marker, Olver extended his team high point total to 29 points to date. Forward Andrew Agozzino picked up the lone assist on the play, his 18th helper of the season.
The Comets regained the lead at the 14:44 mark of the period, as Ferriero redirected home a Peter Andersson shot from the point to make it 2-1. Ferriero’s goal gives him six goals over his past six games, while Andersson now has points in four of his last five. Alex Biega picked up the secondary assist, his tenth point of the season.
Lake Erie collected the only goal of the second period as Guillaume Desbiens beat Eriksson just five seconds after a tripping minor to Benn Ferriero had expired. Colin Smith and Stefan Elliott each collected assists on the play and for the third time this season, the Comets and Monsters would head to the third period tied at two.
Despite an active third period that saw a total of 27 shots on net, neither team was able to score and the Comets would play more than the scheduled 60 minutes for the third game in a row. Ferriero was not able to create déjà, déjà vu for Utica as he was unable to find an overtime game winner for the third straight game.
After Lake Erie scored on each of their first two shots in the shootout, courtesy of Colin Smith and Joey Hishon, Cal O’Reilly rifled one off the crossbar that bounced straight downward but failed to cross the goalline. After a pair of Eriksson saves, Pelletier failed to extend the shootout as he hit the right post and the Comets fell to 1-3 in shootouts this season.
Utica remains undefeated in regulation when they lead after the first period, moving to 6-0-1-3 in those situations. Utica defenseman Peter Andersson remains hot as he extended his point streak to three games with an assist on Ferriero’s goal. The Kvidinge, Sweden native amassed a positive rating for the fifth straight game and now leads the team at +7 on the season.
The Comets look to make it six straight games with a point as the Syracuse Crunch make the short trip down the Thruway for a Friday night encounter at The AUD. Friday is Pink The Rink night for the Comets and the team will be wearing specially themed jerseys in support of breast cancer. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.