AHL

Pelletier scores in overtime as Comets beat Heat

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The Canadian Press
12/1/2013 1:58:02 AM
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- Pascal Pelletier has been attempting to carry the Utica Comets on his back this season. He got some help from an unlikely source Saturday night.

Pelletier scored in overtime and added an assist as the Comets defeated the Abbotsford Heat 4-3 in American Hockey League action.

The Comets, who lost 10 straight games to start the season, have now won four of their past five, and it's no coincidence that Pelletier has three goals and three assists in that span.

"He's our leader and we always count him to produce for us," said teammate Kellan Lain. "Anytime we can get secondary scoring, that helps out big because we rely heavily on those guys."

Lain also provided some help with two goals -- the first of his professional career.

"He's one of the kids that's been improving a lot," said Pelletier of the six-foot-six centre. "He's got a bit role on this team. Maybe the fans won't see what he does because he's a defensive kind of guy, blocking shots, winning face-offs, but on a hockey club the job that he's doing is huge. And he's going to fight and stick up for his teammates.

"He's a big part of our club and I think he has a bright future."

Pelletier's goal ended the game in which the Heat scored first and the Comets blew leads of 2-1 and 3-2.

The Labrador City, N.L., native one-timed a centring pass from Colin Stuart in the slot at 2:07 of the extra period.

"I went down the middle and tried to hold on to it as much as I could to see what was going to happen and Stuart was flying on the wall. I passed it to him behind their D and he passed it back to me for a one-timer tap-in."

Stuart also had a goal for the Comets.

Joe Cannata made 33 saves to give him back-to-back victories. Though still last in the Western Conference, the win brings them out of the AHL cellar.

"We struggled early in the season scoring goals so we emphasized putting pucks on the net, drive net and see what happens," said Pelletier. "We saw on the first goal, a shot on net tip, second goal was a scramble. The third and fourth were better plays, but in the AHL and the NHL you're scoring chances just starting with a shot."

Ben Street had a goal and an assist for Abbotsford (17-6-2), who lost back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 18 but hang on to first place in the league.

Turner Elson and Josh Jooris also scored, both snapping extending scoring droughts.

"Some days they haven't done a damn thing and some days they've been really good," said Heat coach Troy Ward of Elson and Jooris.

"I was happy for them. Turner's been competing, but he hasn't got as much ice time as others on this team. He's a young guy kind of paying his dues. And if anybody needed a goal on our team, it was probably Josh Jooris in a lot of ways. His compete has been way higher of late, and he's got a bit of mojo playing with Ben Street."

Joey MacDonald stopped 22 shots in net for the Heat.

The Heat drew first blood at 10:37 of the first. Elson pounced on the rebound of a Chad Billins point shot, beating Cannata high blocker side, for his second of the year and first since Oct. 11.

However, the Comets tied the game at 17:13. Yannick Weber's point shot was deflected by Lain, with Patrick Mullen also providing a screen, giving Weber four points in four games since being demoted to the Comets by the Vancouver Canucks.

The Comets took the lead at 16:24 of the second. Lain knocked Alex Biega's rebound past MacDonald.

"It's definitely exciting," said Lain of finally scoring in his 32nd career AHL game. "I've been working hard for it, and I had a lot of chances the first 20 or so games. But you just can't get down on yourself -- you've got to keep going, and I got some good bounces."

The Heat had a goal disallowed with less than three minutes to play in the second. A Comets defenceman fell into Cannata, pushing the netminder with the puck across the goal-line. However it was ruled the player tripped on Jooris, who was driving past the net.

Jooris made amends at the 3:51 mark of the third period. He took a great cross-ice feed from Street and found a little room short side on Cannata, giving him his first goal since the season opener, a span of 20 games.

Stuart regained the Utica lead however less than two minutes later. He walked out of the left corner into the slot untouched and backhanded the puck over the sprawling netminder giving him five goals on the year.

Street scored his team-leading 12th of the season at 9:07, blazing down the left wing on a power play before unleashing a slapshot blocker side from the face-off dot.

"They're a good club," said Pelletier of the Heat. "They skate well and counter attack very well. We made a couple mistakes that cost us. But overall the effort was there. It was hard for us the way we travelled the last couple of days and stuff but it was a good hockey game overall."

Hockey (Photo: R Laberge/Getty Images)

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(Photo: R Laberge/Getty Images)
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