UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was another nailbiting affair for the Utica Comets, but victory escaped their clutches yet again as they dropped a 4-3 tilt to the Abbotsford Heat. For the second straight game, the two teams were tied late in the third period, but it was Abbotsford who came away victorious after they scored the game winner with less than five to play.
Zach Hamill, Henrik Tommernes and Benn Ferriero each found the back of the net for Utica, which fell to 0-6-1-1 with the defeat. Ferriero extended his scoring streak to three games and has now scored five points over that stretch. Goaltender Joe Cannata, who played for the first time since the Comets' home opener against Albany, made 30 saves on 34 shots against.
After a back and forth start to the game, the Heat struck first as Max Reinhart was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce from the end boards. The goal was the second of the season for the Abbotsford center. Defensemen Braden Lamb and Ben Street picked up the assists.
The Comets answered just over a minute later, however, as Hamill collected his own blocked pass to the front, made a nice move to the slot and beat Heat netminder Joni Ortio. The center picked up his second goal of the year on the play, and Alex Grenier moved into second on the Comets roster with his fifth assist of the season.
The Comets surged in front on the power play midway through the second period as Henrik Tommernes launched a missile over Ortio's glove to give the Comets a lead. Benn Ferriero got himself on the scoresheet for the third game in a row with the primary assist on the goal and Frankie Corrado recorded the other helper.
Abbotsford equalized with just over two minutes left in the second period, at the 18:01 mark, as Markus Granlund scored for the second time in as many games against the Comets. The winger beat Cannata through the five hole on a 5-on-3 man advantage which knotted the score at two. Tyler Wotherspoon and Corbin Knight recorded assists on the goal, the team leading tenth point of the year for Knight.
Abbotsford took a lead at the 6:32 mark of the third period as Max Reinhart found the net for the second time with a wrist shot that found the top of the netting past Cannata. Knight recorded his second assist of the game and defenseman John Ramage picked up his first point of the season with the secondary assist.
Utica waited less than two minutes before equalizing, however, as Benn Ferriero finished off a give and go with Zac Dalpe which sent the Aud into a frenzy. The winger one timed a rebound off of Dalpe's low shot, which was generated off of a nice feed from Ferriero in the neutral zone.
Blair Jones netted what would turn out to be the game winner with less than five minutes to play as he picked off an errant pass in the neutral zone and converted one on one with Cannata. The goal was unassisted and the first of the season for the center.
Despite a flurry of offense down the stretch, Utica could not find a fourth goal to send the game to overtime for the second straight game against Abbotsford. Ortio finished with 27 saves on 30 shots and moved to 2-0-0 against the Comets.
Utica is next in action on Tuesday Nov. 5 for the final of six straight games at home as the Toronto Marlies come to town for the first time. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.