Comets Regain Home Ice Advantage with 3-2 Win
OKLAHOMA CITY, O.K. - After giving away the series' first two-goal lead, the Utica Comets defeated the Oklahoma City Barons 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Cox Convention Center. The Comets have now taken a 2-1 series lead.
Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2) had a multi-point night for his second multi-point game in as many games. Mike Zalewski (1-0-1) and Alex Friesen (1-0-1) both tallied their first goals of the post-season, while Cal O'Reilly (0-1-1) continued to produce points for the Comets with his tenth assist in eight playoff games.
It was an eventful first period for Grenier as he made his way onto the scorer's sheet twice within the game's first 13 minutes of play. Grenier pitched in on the Comets first goal as he got the puck to Sven Baertschi who then set up Friesen with a pass across the crease. With an open net on the right side, Friesen guided the puck in at 1:20 to give the Comets the early 1-0 lead.
At 12:35, Richard Bachman gave up a second goal after Grenier obtained the puck infront of the net, spun around and popped the puck to the left of Bachman to make it a two nothing game. Both Bobby Sanguinetti and O'Reilly received assists on Grenier's second goal of the series.
"Grenier was good again. He's learning to play like a power forward. Goes to the net when he needs to and plays big in the corners," said Head Coach Travis Green.
Just short of three minutes later the Barons answered back after Andrew Miller raced into the center high slot and snapped a shot that went bar down to get Oklahoma within one.
With no goals found in the second stanza, Oklahoma picked play right back up just three minutes into the third after Joshua Winquist buried a point-blank one-timer from Miller for the 2-2 equalizer. The power-play goal was a result of a tripping penalty taken by Friesen just one-minute prior to the goal.
Less than two minutes later, the Comets decided that overtime wasn't an option and Zalewski redirected an Alex Biega shot past Bachman to give the Comets a 3-2. Brandon DeFazio was credited with the secondary assist.
"It felt great to finally score again," said Zalewski. "Our line had a few chances throughout the game, so it was nice for us to contribute again."
Jacob Markstrom made 20 saves for his fifth win in the 2015 playoffs.
"Marky was real good again tonight," said Green. "We've come to expect that."
The Comets went 0-for-5 on the power play, and are now 0-for-12 in the series. The penalty kill went 1-for-7 in the game to bring their series total to 1-for-12 (91.7%).
Now with the 2-1 series lead, the Comets will have a chance to extend their lead this Wednesday night during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals which will once again be held at the Cox Convention Center for a scheduled 8 p.m. ET. Puck drop.
Three Stars: 1. UTI- Alexandre Grenier (1 Goal, 1 Assist) 2. OKC - Andrew Miller (1 Goal, 1 Assist) 3. OKC- Joshua Winquist (1 Goal)
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