Feeling the Heat
So the Comets continue their homestand tonight with their 4th straight contest at the Utica Aud, and the Abbotsford Heat coming into town.
The homestand has been rough for Utica so far, as they have seen their record fall to 0-5-0-1 and still sit in the basement of the Western Conference standings.
However, there was a bright spot in all this. With the Comets hosting the Crunch, in one of the most anticipated matchups of the year, the Comets struck first against their new Thruway rivals, and earned their first point in the AHL standings, falling to Syracuse in a shootout.
It was an exciting night as two cities squared off for the first time in 4 decades in a professional hockey rink, and the Comets showed signs of life.
It appeared as though the next game would be an absolute momentum killer as the Comets went down 3-0 at one point, and things seemed bleaker than ever. Sure, you could chalk it up to being in the second game of a back-to-back, but the fact is that the Comets were at home, in front of the Aud Faithful and had yet another slow start.
That has what has been plaguing this team all year so far, their inability to start the game out strong. For most of their games so far, the Comets have either outshot or matched the shot count for their opponents. The team has looked good in the 2nd and 3rd periods, where in the last game, they crept back against the Bulldogs to make it 3-2 before the final buzzer sounded ending their comeback hopes, but these efforts have been too little too late.
Tonight, the Comets host the team that many thought was originally coming to the area when rumors first circulated that we were getting a team. Abbotsford comes in with a 4-4-0-1 record, which has them sitting in the final playoff spot in the conference as of now (although its way too early to give that too much attention).
However, the Comets are the bottom dwellers, and looking to earn their first win to hop back into it before their chances slip away too soon.
The key to tonight's game, play 60 minutes of solid hockey. The Comets have learned the hard way that if you don't start the game off strong, you'll be spending the rest of it trying to catch up. And no matter how well you play for the rest of the game, coming from behind is not an easy thing to do.
With a few home games under their belt now, it's time for them to loosen up, relax, and let the crowd get them ready for the opening faceoff.
Now it's still relatively early in the season, but November is just a couple of days away, and Utica needs to right this ship before it starts to sail away come the end of next month.
The time for them to stop the bleeding is now, and they need newly-named captain Colin Stewart and company to step up, and play with the intensity and desperation that they have shown in the 3rd periods, right from the first drop of the puck.
We've seen the type of potential this team has late in the game when they're back against the wall, and they need to try and tie things up. Tonight, when the anthem ends and the game gets underway, the score will already be even at 0-0, and this time the Comets need to look for the early lead.
Eriksson has been solid in net the last few nights, but he needs the offense to step up in front of him. If they play like they're down right from the get go, and keep up the intensity for all 60 minutes, we may finally see the first regular-season win in franchise history tonight.
Get the first win off your backs, and more will start coming. While 0 wins in 6 games is certainly nothing to be happy about, the Comets are not fried just yet. However, with Abbotsford coming into town, and Utica fans hungry for their first AHL win in 20 year, the team is definitely feeling the Heat.
Play a full 60, and earn that win, and the whole attitude will change. From the locker room, all the way to the last row in the 200's, things will begin to feel easier, better. That is something that this team, and their fan base needs badly.
It all starts when the ref drops the puck at 7 p.m. tonight. A full 60 minutes of solid hockey, that would certainly be the first step into earning Utica its first ever win.
A full 60, wouldn't that be great?
The time is now, Utica is ready. Let's Go Comets!!