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Comets close out inaugural season with shutout win

By UTICA COMETS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica saved one of their finest defensive efforts of the season for last, as they put together a dominant effort to shutout the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2-0 on Saturday evening at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
 
The AUD was once again sold out, as 3,815 fans were in attendance for the final game of the Comets' inaugural season, which concluded with a 35-32-5-4 record.  
 
Peter Andersson and Pascal Pelletier found the back of the net for the Comets who, despite a winless start over their first ten games, will finish their season just two points out of playoff contention.  Joacim Eriksson was a rock between the pipes, as he finished his AHL rookie season with his fifth shutout, courtesy of 27 saves on as many shots.  
 
The Comets surged out to an early lead courtesy of a blast from the point by Andersson, who collected his second goal of the season on the play. The Swedish blueliner took a feed from Alex Friesen at the point and let go a slap shot that tickled the twine behind Matt Murray.  For Friesen, the assist was Friesen's 20th point of the season.  
 
The second period saw a lack of scoring, mainly do to the outstanding efforts of Murray and Eriksson between the pipes.  Eriksson stole the show, as he turned aside all 13 shots he saw, including a series on a 5-on-3 Penguin power play in the period's final minute.  Murray's best of ten came on a breakaway from Pelletier, who went to the backhand but could not slip his finish through the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender's pads.  
 
The Comets would get redemption for that save, however, as midway through the third period, the Utica Comets 2013-14 season ended just as it started: With a Pascal Pelletier goal.  Cal O'Reilly fed Alex Grenier on the left side of the net, where the big winger received and sent the puck to Pelletier in one motion and Utica's leading scorer buried his 22nd of the season.  O'Reilly finished the campaign with 38 assists over just 52 games played.  
 
With the shutout, Eriksson finished in a tie for third in the AHL with five on the season.  Eriksson was one of just three goaltenders to crack the 3,000 minute mark on the season, in addition to finishing third in total saves. The Galve, Sweden native's 24 wins moved him into the league's top ten.  
 

For the first time this season, the Comets will not have a set date for their return to the ice, as their season concludes here tonight.  The Comets will return to action sometime next October in the sequel to their inaugural season.   

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