Mar 18, 2023
Laval, PQ. – The North Division continues to a be battle between numerous teams jostling for position and a playoff spot. Two of those teams include both the Utica Comets and their opponent on Friday night, the Laval Rocket, the top affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. With the Comets scoring first and holding onto a lead in the third period, they relied on their team defense and solid goaltending for the victory over Laval by a 3-2 score.
In the opening period, the Comets scored the first goal of the game, and it was a blistering wrister by Alexander Holtz that went off the post and in behind Rocket goalie Cayden Primeau at 3:25. The goal was Holtz’s sixth of the season and it was assisted by Ryan Schmelzer. While the Rocket struck back after Mitchell Stephens knifed the puck passed Utica goalie Isaac Poulter at 10:23, the Comets recaptured a lead after Brian Halonen took a nice pass from Graeme Clarke and drove down the left-wing side, drove the net and forced the puck into the Laval goal at 17:01. The goal was the 16th of the season for Halonen and it was also assisted by Aarne Talvitie. The period ended 2-1 with the Comets holding the advantage.
Utica extended their lead in the second period when Sam Laberge marched in on a breakaway, made a move and then slipped the puck to the traiing Aarne Talvitie who deposited the puck into the empty cage as Primeau was sprawled out. The goal at 1:51 was Talvitie’s third of the season and it put the Comets up 3-1. That was the only goal of the period and the Comet skated away with a two -goal advantage.
In the final period of regulation, the Rocket climbed within a goal after Pierrick Dube took the backdoor pass from Xavier Simoneau and slammed it into the Comets goal at 5:07 making it a 3-2 game which the Comets still led. Despite having an empty net at the end of the game for an extra attacker, Poulter and the team stifled any chance Laval had of tying the contest and the Comets skated away with the win by a 3-2 score.
The Comets next game will also take place in Laval at 3:00 PM. The Comets finally head home on March 24th against the Syracuse Crunch at 7PM. Tickets are still available. Visit uticacomets.com for more information.