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FNF: Toronto Marlies at the Utica Comets - AHL

Fan appreciation night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The Utica Comets came from behind in the third period one more time, as they defeated the Toronto Marlies 3-2 in front of a sold out Utica Memorial Auditorium on Saturday evening. 3,815 fans were in attendance for the second to last contest of the year, to watch the Comets guarantee a winning percentage of over .500, with the Comets now at 34-32-5-4.

Yann Sauve, Pascal Pelletier and Cal O’Reilly scored for the Comets, the first goal of the season for Sauve. Joe Cannata stole the show between the pipes for Utica, as he turned aside 37 of 39 shots, as he won for the eighth time over his past ten starts. Christopher Gibson made 28 saves in defeat for Toronto.

The first period of play went by scoreless, despite the Comets gathering 16 shots, just one shot shy of their of their season high for an opening period. Cannata put in a stout performance between the pipes, as he turned aside each of the seven shots he faced.

Toronto opened the scoring 5:30 into the middle frame, as Brad Staubitz found the back of the net for the second time this season to make it 1-0. Staubitz got behind the defense on a breakaway, that Cannata turned aside, but the winger slammed home the rebound. Winger Josh Leivo had the lone assist on the play, his 40th point of the season.

The home side took just 40 seconds to answer, however, as Sauve collected an Alex Mallet rebound on the left circle and fired a shot past Gibson to knot the score at one. The goal was the first of the season for Sauve, who found the back of the net for the first time in the AHL since Mar. 25, 2012. Mallet collected his fifth point of the season with the assist.

The Marlies would reclaim the lead, however, with less than four minutes on the clock in the second, with Leivo finding one of his own to make it 2-1. The Toronto winger got to a Sam Carrick rebound and put it past Cannata for his fourth goal against the Comets this season. The assist was Carrick’s 20th and center Greg McKegg also had a helper on the play, his 27th of the campaign.

It wasn’t the strongest of efforts, but Pelletier got the puck across the goal line 2:21 into the second period to knot the score at two. A drop pass attempt from the Utica center deflected off of a Toronto skate and found the back of the net to level the game. The goal, which went down as unassisted, was Pelletier’s 21st tally of the season.

Less than two minutes later, the Comets would find what would go down as the game winner, as O’Reilly collected a rebound just to the left of the crease and slotted it past Gibson. Alex Friesen and Jeremy Welsh collected the two assists on the play. The tally was the seventh of the year for O’Reilly and his 44th point.

The Comets return to action for the final time this season tomorrow evening, as they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. at The AUD.

Story by the Utica Comets
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