Kole Lind’s third of the season was the only goal of the opening frame, giving the Comets a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Brendan Woods set up Lind on a two-on-one on the play that beat Rocket netminder Charlie Lindgren, who made 31 saves in his team’s victory. Though a late powerplay was accorded to Joël Bouchard’s players in the period, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
Lindgren came up big early in the second period to keep his team’s deficit to one by sliding across the crease and preventing the Comets from scoring on a rebound, which allowed the Rocket to tie the game when they eventually scored six minutes into the period. Cale Fleury took a pass from Lukas Vejdemo right off the faceoff while on the powerplay and wristed the puck by Utica’s Michael Leighton from the blue line, giving him his sixth of the season. The Rocket would still start the third down by a goal however as Vincent Arseneau deflected a puck by Lindgren in the final minute of the second period.
An early goal in the third gave the Comets a two-goal lead but despite being down, the Rocket never gave up. Their perseverance resulted in four unanswered goals in less than ten minutes, which included Joe Cox’s first American Hockey League goal. The other goals, which came from Alexandre Alain, Alexandre Grenier and Vejdemo, gave the Rocket the momentum they needed to defend while Utica’s net was empty and to prevent their opponents from stealing their hard-earned victory.
“Oh, it’s so fun,” said Lindgren when asked about how it felt to play in front of such a huge crowd. “As we all know, by far we have the best crowd in the whole league. They came out tonight in bunches and it’s always so fun to play when you’re in front of a bunch of people. They were great, they were loud, and they really, really got behind us.”
LAV: Fleury (Vejdemo) | Alain (Fleury, Grenier) | Grenier (Cox, Fleury) | Cox (Grenier, Evans) | Vejdemo (Alain)
UTI: Lind (Woods, Petgrave) | Arseneau (Chatfield, Saucerman) | Woods (Jasek)
Goaltenders: LAV: Lindgren (31/34) | UTI: Leighton (25/29)
Rocket Powerplay: 2/3 | Rocket Penalty Kill: 4/4
Three Stars: 1. Alexandre Grenier – LAV | 2. Joe Cox – LAV | 3. Cale Fleury – LAV