Feb 4, 2022
Comets Suffer Rare Home Loss: The last time the Utica Comets lost a game in regulation was exactly two weeks ago against the very same opponent, the Laval Rocket. Tonight, inside the Adirondack Bank Center, the result was the same as the Comets were defeated 4-2.
The first period of the game started off slowly, with both teams competing hard but failing to find the back of the net. At 13:22, the Comets got on the board thanks to a goal by Reilly Walsh. The goal was the result of a flurry in front of the net, and it was Walsh who eventually jammed the puck in after Alex Holtz and Joe Gambardella got touches on it. Minutes later, Holtz extended the Comets lead to two. A.J. Greer found Holtz alone in the slot and he fired the puck over the shoulder of the Rocket goalie.
In the second period, Laval pressured hard in the offensive zone, forcing Comets goaltender Nico Daws to make some keys saves. With five minutes to go in the frame, the Rocket eventually cut the Comets lead to one when Danick Martel put home the rebound from Gianni Fairbrother’s one timer. The Comets led 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
In the third, the Rocket struck first to tie things up at two. It was Alex Belzile who scored at the 7:51 mark off assists from Louie Belpedio and Xavier Ouellet. Five minutes later, Laval scored their third unanswered goal on the power play. It was Rafael Harvey-Pinard who redirected a shot from Louie Belpedio to give the Rocket their first lead of the evening. The Comets pulled their goaltender in the final minutes of the game but were unable to score on the man advantage. Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored an empty net goal to make it a 4-2 final.
Comets Leading Scorers: The team’s leading scorer heading into the week is Chase DeLeo who has registered 10 goals and 25 assists for 35 points in 27 games played. Following him is Fabian Zetterlund with a team leading 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 points in 32 games played. Reilly Walsh leads all d-men in scoring with six goals and 21 assists for 27 points in 34 games. Alex Holtz is the team’s leading rookie scorer with 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in 22 games. Tyler Wotherspoon leads the team in plus/minus with a +21 rating but is off the represent Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
The Standings: The Comets remain atop the North Division with 35 games played and 24 victories. Holding a record of 256-5 gives Utica 55 points which is 10 points ahead of the next team, the Rochester Americans. The Americans have played two more games that Utica as of today. The Comets winning percentage of .764 ranks them at the very top of the entire league. In their last 10 games played, the Comets are 6-2-2.
AHL Rookie of the Month: The American Hockey League announced today that Utica Comets forward, Alexander Holtz, is the league’s Rookie of the Month for January. Holtz notched five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 10 games for the league-leading Comets during January. After beginning the month in the NHL with the parent New Jersey Devils, Holtz returned to the Utica lineup on Jan. 7 and recorded a goal and two assists in a 6-5 shootout victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He scored a goal on Jan. 19 at Laval and again on Jan. 21 at Syracuse before his two-goal game helped the Comets to a 6-3 win over Syracuse on Jan. 22. Holtz assisted on the winning goal in a 4-0 victory over Providence on Jan. 25, and extended his scoring streak to eight games with another assist on Jan. 28 vs. Charlotte.