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Gameday: Comets at Rochester

December 4, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Utica Comets News Release

UTICA COMETS (6-11-1-1) @ ROCHESTER AMERICANS (9-8-2-2)

Blue Cross Arena, 7 p.m.

Radio: 94.9 K-Rock

Tonight's Game: The Utica Comets look for their sixth straight victory away from home as they travel to Blue Cross Arena in Rochester for the fourth time this season.  Tonight's game opens the month of December for the Comets, who finished the month of November at 6-6.

When They Last Met: In front of an electric sold-out crowd at The AUD, the Comets earned their first home victory in Comets history with a 2-0 win over Rochester on Nov. 23.  Yannick Weber and Darren Archibald each scored on Rochester netminder Matt Hackett, who the Comets defeated for the first time.  Joacim Eriksson produced the first shutout of both his North American career and in Comets history as he stopped all 33 shots he faced.

Comets Outlook: The Comets completed a sweep of the Abbotsford Heat with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.  Joe Cannata was between the pipes for the second straight game as he turned aside 33 of 35 shots for his second win of the season.  Pascal Pelletier scored the overtime game winner 2:07 into the extra session, on Utica's first overtime shot in franchise history. Kellan Lain scored his first two professional goals, while Colin Stuart added a third period goal to pace the scoring.

Americans Outlook: Rochester dropped a tight 3-2 divisional matchup to the Toronto Marlies last Saturday. Hackett made 26 saves, but picked up his ninth overall loss of the season.  Jamie Tardiff and Matt McKenzie each found the back of the net, but the Americans could not find an equalizer past Drew MacIntyre, who earned his league high 11th win of the season.  Sam Carrick and John-Michael Liles each recorded a goal and an assist while Tyler Biggs had the game-winning goal late in the second period.

Party Of Five: Utica is now riding a five game winning streak away from The AUD, as the Comets moved to 5-4-0-0 this season on the road.  Utica also finished with just one road loss during November, with the Nov. 7 defeat to Lake Erie serving as the only blemish.

Pascal Of Duty: With his current five game point streak, Pascal Pelletier has extended his team lead in points to 18 (5-13-18).  The Labrador City, NL native has recorded at least one point in 13 of the 15 games he has appeared in this season and his 13 helpers are now tied for 15th in the AHL.  Pelletier also scored the first sudden death overtime winner in franchise history, after he beat Abbotsford's Joey McDonald 2:07 into overtime on Saturday night.

Life In The Fast Lain: With his two goals against the Heat on Saturday, Comets center Kellan Lain snapped a 31 game scoring drought to begin his professional career. The Lake Superior State graduate's career began with 13 games last season in Chicago, in addition to his now 19 games played this year.

Mighty Joe Young: Goaltender Joe Cannata has now won his past two starts, after he began the season with three straight losses. The Merrimack product recorded a .931 save percentage after he stopped 68 of 73 shots he faced over the two game road trip.

Captain Clutch: Colin Stuart recorded his fifth goal of the season against the Heat, which now has him tied with Alexandre Grenier for second on the Comets roster. Stuart has now recorded three goals during the third period this season that have come during Utica victories. 

Bucking The Trend: In what the Comets look to make the first of many, Utica earned its first victory of the season when they allow three or more goals in the 4-3 victory over the Heat. Entering the action on Saturday night, the Comets were just 0-10-1-0 in those situations.

Scouting The Americans: Phil Varone leads the way for the Americans with 21 points (5-16-21) over 21 games played.  Varone is one of just two players in the AHL, along with Bridgeport's Ryan Strome, who has played in 20 games and recorded both over a point and penalty minute per game.  Mike Zigomanis (7-9-16) is second amongst active Rochester forwards and leads the Americans with seven points (3-4-7) in five games against Utica.

Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel is the forerunner on the blueline with nine points (3-6-9) after Brayden McNabb was recalled to Buffalo.  Ruhwedel also leads all Rochester defenseman with two power-play goals.  Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded four points (2-2-4) over his past two games played, capitalized by a two goal performance against the Hamiton Bulldogs on Nov. 27.

Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen continue their platoon situation for the Americans, with both now at the double-digit plateau.  Lieuwen leads the team with five victories during his rookie season including two against the Comets, while Hackett heads the save percentage and goals against average categories at .906 and 3.06 respectively.


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