ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The Utica Comets are starting to heat up at the right time, as they earned their second straight overtime victory over Abbotsford Saturday night, with a 4-3 win. Utica has now won four in a row overall and six consecutive against the Heat to move to 15-20-2-3 this season.
Benn Ferriero scored the overtime winner for the second night in a row, this just 1:10 into the extra session. Forward Alexandre Grenier scored two goals for the Comets and Brandon DeFazio also added a goal of his own. Pascal Pelletier collected two assists in the victory. Joacim Eriksson made 23 saves on 26 shots, as he won for the eighth time in nine starts.
The Comets picked up right where they left off in overtime last evening, as they opened the scoring just 2:05 into the first period. DeFazio fought his way to the front of the net and buried a feed from Jordan Schroeder, who was set up in Gretzky’s office behind the cage. The goal was the fifth of the season for DeFazio and the assist marked Schroeder’s first point as a Comet, in just his second game played.
Markus Granlund evened things up 5:37 later, as he walked in from the right circle and beat Eriksson for his seventeenth goal of the season. Max Reinhart and Evan Trupp picked up the helpers on the play. The goal ended Eriksson’s shutout streak against the Heat at 131 minutes even.
The Comets once again pulled ahead as Grenier collected a loose puck in the slot and fired a quick wristshot past MacDonald to make it 2-1. Center Pascal Pelletier picked up an assist on the play, his team leading 28th, while Grenier’s goal was his 14th this season.
Abbotsford once again tied things up with a special teams tally, this a shorthanded goal from Reinhart. The Heat centerman drove the front of the net and deflected home a feed from Granlund, giving both players two points on the evening. Reinhart’s tally was just the third shorthanded goal surrendered this season by the Comets.
Abbotsford took a 3-2 lead 7:18 into the third period on a superb individual effort from forward Brett Olson. After forcing a turnover from Utica blueliner Yann Sauve, Olson picked up the puck, moved into the slot and fired a wrist shot just under the crossbar and past Eriksson. Olson’s goal, which came unassisted, was his seventh of the season.
The Comets knotted things up just under four minutes later as Grenier scored for the second time tonight. MacDonald misplayed a dump in from Pelletier and the puck came out to Grenier, who tapped it into an open net. The marker moved Grenier into a tie for fourth amongst all AHL rookies with 15 goals on the season. Pelletier is now tied for third in the league with 29 assists.
In a déjà vu moment for the Comets, Ferriero finished off the Heat for the second night in a row with an overtime winner. The winger carried the puck down the right wing and put a twisted wrister past MacDonald to end the game and give Utica the two points. Ferriero’s goal tied him with Grenier for the team lead this season. Sauve picked up the lone assist on the play.