UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets used a team record five-goal second period to surge past the visiting Toronto Marlies on Friday evening in front of a sold out and rambunctious Utica Memorial Auditorium. With the victory the Comets sit a season best two games over .500, at 31-29-4-4.
Pascal Pelletier once again led the way with two goals, while Alex Friesen (1-1-2) and Kellan Lain (0-2-2) also had multi-point evenings. Winger Brandon DeFazio and defenseman Frank Corrado also scored for Utica, which evened its series against the Marlies at two games apiece. Joacim Eriksson turned aside 21 of 22 shots, as he earned his 22nd victory of the season.
Toronto struck first at the 9:36 mark of the opening stanza as Peter Holland redirected a point shot past Eriksson to make it 1-0. Defenseman TJ Brennan uncorked a shot from the blueline and Holland, camped out in front, tipped home. The point was Brennan’s 64th of the season, the most amongst all defenseman in the AHL. For Holland, the goal was his tenth of the season over just 18 games. Kevin Marshall had the secondary assist on the play.
The Comets evened things up at the 5:05 mark of the second period, as Corrado let a point shot go that snuck through Toronto goaltender Garrett Sparks’ legs and knotted the score at one. Friesen and Lain picked up the assists on the play, which gave Corrado his second marker of the season.
Utica took their first lead of the evening just over two minutes later as it capitalized on a 4-on-3 man advantage to make it 2-1. Henrik Tommernes unleashed a shot wide of the net that hit the back wall and came to DeFazio, who banked it off of Sparks and into the net. For DeFazio, the goal was his 16th of the season, with Alex Biega collecting the secondary assist.
It took only 4:25 for the home team to strike again, as Friesen buried a feed from Jeremy Welsh at the left post to make it 3-1. For Friesen, the point was his 11th over his past 12 games, with Welsh now riding a four game point streak. Lain also picked up his second assist of the evening on the play.
The Pascal Pelletier show took over at the 15:40 mark of the second period, as the center redirected a bid from Alex Grenier to make it 4-1. The goal was Pelletier’s 16th of the season and Utica’s second of the evening with the man advantage. Grenier and Cal O’Reilly had the two assists on the play, which chased Sparks from the net after 12 saves on 16 shots.
Pelletier added his second of the night just 2:58 later with the Comets shorthanded. The Labrador City, NFLD native took the puck from his own zone and went the length of the ice, blowing past his defender in the process, before he beat new netminder Christopher Gibson on a forehand, backhand move for the goal. The tally marked the 15th multi-point effort from Pelletier this season.
Utica takes to the road tomorrow for the first of five straight away from The AUD. The Comets travel west for the final edition of the Thruway Throwdown this season against the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. with the Galaxy Cup on the line.