UTICA, N.Y.- It was another tough result for the Utica Comets, as they dropped the final game of their opening six game homestand by a 5-2 score to the Toronto Marlies at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Utica fell to 0-7-1-1 as the Comets were unable to protect an early lead in the first meeting with their North Division foes.
Alexandre Grenier and Benn Ferriero picked up goals for Utica, who failed to earn a point for the seventh time this season out of their nine games played. Toronto defenseman T.J. Brennan, the AHL’s leading scorer for a defenseman, netted three points (2-1-3) as the Marlies moved to 6-3-1-0 on the season. Comets goaltender Joacim Eriksson made 24 saves in the defeat while Drew MacIntyre earned his sixth victory of the season as he turned aside 19 pucks for Toronto.
The Comets did strike early, however, as Grenier banged home a rebound off of a Brandon DeFazio shot at the 1:10 mark. The tally was the earliest of the season for Utica and was just the second time in 2013 that the Comets struck first. The goal was Grenier’s second of the season, which gave him seven points (2-5-7) and moved him to second on the team, behind just Pascal Pelletier. Center Kellan Lain also picked up an assist on the play.
Toronto equalized with just under three minutes to play in the first as Sam Carrick managed to squeeze the puck through Eriksson’s pads, who appeared to have it covered. It was the first goal of the season for the Marlies’ forward. Brennan picked up the primary assist and Wade MacLeod also added a helper.
It wasn’t long into the second period before Toronto took the lead for the first time as Jesse Blacker ripped a one timer past Eriksson, off of a pass from Spencer Abbott just 1:18 into the second. The goal was the first of the season for the blueliner and Abbott picked up his team leading 11th assist. Toronto defenseman and Germany native Korbinian Holzer also added an assist on the play.
The Marlies doubled their advantage just 96 seconds later as Brennan used a spectacular individual effort to weave through the Utica defense before he slid the puck past Eriksson. Carrick picked up his second point of the season with the assist.
Stefan Legein netted Toronto’s first powerplay goal of the night as he slotted home a rebound with Eriksson sprawled out on the opposite post following a nice save on MacLeod. Legein took the puck around the net and stuffed it past the Swede to extend Toronto’s lead to 4-2. Greg McKregg also picked up his second assist of the season on the play.
Utica got one back late in the second as the Comets took advantage of their first powerplay of the evening. Ferriero ripped a one timer over MacIntyre’s glove hand off of a feed from Henrik Tommernes. Ferriero’s goal marked the third game in a row he has found the back of the net as Zach Hamill extended his point streak to three games as well with the secondary assist.
Brennan ended hopes of a comeback with his second goal of the game just 2:14 into the third and final period. The defenseman blasted a one timer past Eriksson to put the Marlies up 5-2. It was the tenth goal of the season for the blueliner, who extended his AHL leading goal count for a defenseman to nine. Stuart Percy and McKregg picked up the assists on the goal.