CEDAR PARK, T.X. - After falling behind 4-0, the Comets comeback bid came up just short, as the Travis Morin show proved to be too much for the Utica team Saturday night, at the Cedar Park Center. Morin’s three goal night carried the Texas Stars to a 5-3 victory over the Utica Comets.
With the defeat, the Comets fell to 11-19-2-2, and the Stars improved to 23-10-2-3. Travis Morin led the Stars with a Hat Trick while Cal O’Reilly paced the Comets with two points (1-1-2).
After a Comets turnover that led to a Stars 2-on-1, Travis Morin lit the lamp for the 21st time, off a feed from Colton Sceviour. It was Sceviour’s 38th point of the season.
Less than four minutes later Morin netted his second goal of the night. A failed Comets clearing attempt found Morin’s stick on the point. Morin cut across the ice, and fired a wrist shot past Cannata from the top of the circle.
Morin was not done yet. 4:53 into the second period, Morin finished off his Hat Trick, with his league-leading 23rd goal of the season. Morin streaked down Cannata’s right hand side, and tucked a wrist shot just under the crossbar to give the Stars a 3-0 lead. The goal was Morin’s 50th point of the season, and was the first short-handed goal the Comets have given up.
Joe Cannata’s night would end just under ten minutes later. Sceviour fired an off-angle shot from the boards that snuck through Cannata’s pads, for the Stars’ fourth goal of the night. The goal set the stage for Mathieu Corbeil’s American Hockey League’s debut.
With a 1:43 left in the second period, the Comets picked up a goal to trim the Stars lead to 4-1. Benn Ferriero, off a pass from Nicklas Jensen, put a shot on goal from below the face-off circle, Cal O’Reilly picked up the rebound, and backhanded it home. It was O’Reilly’s third goal of the season.
The Comets pulled the game to within two, 8:03 into the final period. Cal O’Reilly, from below the goal line, found Alex Grenier streaking into the slot. Grenier one-timed the feed past Nilstorp for his 11th goal of the season.
Just two minutes later the Comets struck again, to make it a one-goal game. A blast from the point from Patrick Mullen was deflected right to Yann Sauve who was stationed at the other point. A blast from Sauve found its way through heavy traffic in front, and onto Brandon DeFazio’s stick. DeFazio would not miss from point blank range, for his third goal of the season. The goal deficit would be as close as the Comets would come.
With 45 seconds to play, Curtis McKenzie put the icing on the cake for the Stars. McKenzie netted his 12th goal of the season, this one with an empty net to put the game away.
Mathieu Corbeil, in his AHL debut, stopped all 17 shots he saw in 23:42 minutes of relief action. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced.
The Comets are back in action Monday night in San Antonio to take on the Rampage at 8 p.m. After that, the Comets return home to take on the Albany Devils Friday night at The AUD.