UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - For the first time in franchise history, the Utica Comets were victorious. With a 3-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena on Friday Night, the Comets snapped a franchise starting 10-game losing streak.
Stuart, along with Alex Mallet and Patrick Mullen recorded goals for the Comets as Stuart netted the first game-winning goal in Comets history. Joacim Eriksson, who has been in net for each of Utica's four points this season, made 22 saves on 24 shots as he earned his first career American Hockey League victory. The Swede's record improves to 1-5-1-1
It seemed like another example of "here we go again" for the Comets, as the Monsters struck first. Comets goaltender Eriksson made the save on the initial shot from Paul Carey, but the rebound was directed right to Mikael Tam, who netted the first goal of the game. Brad Malone would pick up the second assist. The Monsters goal marked the ninth time in eleven games that the Comets have allowed the opening goal.
The Comets would not back down, and tied the score at the 16:17 mark of the first. DeFazio would begin the scoring play, side stepping a Monsters defender, and firing a shot on goal. Mallet would get two whacks at it, with the second finding the back of the net to tie the game at one. The Mallet goal was his first career AHL goal. Kellan Lain picked up the secondary assist.
Just a few minutes later, the Comets would strike again, this time a power-play goal to take the lead. Grenier fired a puck on net that rattled around Monsters defender's legs before it fell onto the stick of David Booth. Booth slid the puck across the crease to Mullen who was camped-out at the back door, and Mullen would not be denied The goal would give the Comets their first road lead in franchise history.
The Monsters accounted for all the scoring in the second period, with a goal at the 8:25 mark. An Agozzino shot from the point resulted in a mad scramble in front of the net, and ended with Monsters captain Bryan Lerg knocking home the tying goal.
In what turned out to be a thrilling third period filled with back and forth action and plenty of Comets pressure, Stuart buried the historic Comets goal. Deep in the Monster zone, Zach Hamill found Colin Stuart at the top of the circle. From there, Stuart would not miss, as he rifled a shot that beat Pickard high and to the glove side. Niklas Jensen picked up an assist on the play, his first as a Comet.
The win gave Utica, N.Y. their first win from a Utica-based franchise in 5,718 days. The last win was a 6-3 victory coming on April 9, 1993 at the Baltimore Skipjacks.
Calvin Pickard recorded 25 saves on 28 shots against after he shutout the Comets last evening. The Monsters goaltender fell back beneath the .500 mark as his record falls to 3-4-0-0. Eriksson improves to 1-5-1-1 on the season with the win. His .917 save percentage in tonight's game is his second highest on the season, behind only his strong effort against Syracuse.
The Comets now have four points on the season and look to carry their momentum to Hamilton on Sunday. The Comets and Bulldogs meet for the second time this season and the first at Copps Coliseum in Ontario. Hamilton was able to fight off a late Comets surge in Utica on Oct. 28 as they won by a 3-2 final score.
Puck drop is set at 3 p.m. for the first game across the border in Utica Comets history.