AHL

Ferriero leads Comets past Heat for second-straight night

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The Canadian Press
1/26/2014 12:51:08 AM
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- Benn Ferriero's familiar with scoring important goals, just not in back-to-back games.

Ferriero scored the overtime goal for the second-straight night to lift the Utica Comets to a 4-3 win over the Abbotsford Heat in American Hockey League action Saturday.

"I've never scored two in a row like that, but I've scored a couple OT winners in my career in college and pro," said Ferriero. "It feels good to help the team like that."

Ferriero took advantage of Chris Breen's broken stick at the Abbotsford blue-line, burst past the lone defender and buried a slap shot top corner on goalie Joey MacDonald.

"They had a good rush going there but they got a little unlucky when (Breen) broke his stick," said Ferriero. "I saw there was the one D man that I thought I could catch. (Yann) Sauve made a great pass to me. I'm pretty happy about that one."

The 26-year-old right-winger is red-hot. Besides also scoring the only goal in Friday's 1-0 win against the Heat, he has five goals in as many games and 10 points during an eight-game point streak.

After signing with the Vancouver Canucks in the summer, he's played just two games for the Comets' NHL affiliate. Even though Abbotsford is in the Canucks backyard -- just an hour east -- he thinks his consistency will be what gets him back the sport's top level.

"You've got (their presence) in the back of your head, but you can't control anything, except how you play out there," said Ferriero, who has 31 points in 39 games this season. "This year I'm really trying to work on consistency and bringing it every single night."

Alex Grenier scored twice for the Comets, but like Ferriero, he says he doesn't like to dwell on that either.

"Maybe a little, it's a bit different, but you've got to concentrate and play your game," said Grenier, Vancouver's 2011 third-round choice. "They're not looking for guys who are better here than anywhere else. We just give it everything and hope it's enough."

Brandon DeFazio had the other Comets goal, while Pascal Pelletier had two assists for Utica (15-20-5), which has won four straight.

"It was a real tight game, tight-checking, feisty," said Ferriero. "We knew coming in, since we beat them a couple times in a row. They pushed back and responded from the beginning."

Joacim Eriksson made 23 saves in the win.

Max Reinhart and Markus Granlund each had a goal and an assist for Abbotsford (26-14-4) and Brett Olson also scored.

MacDonald made 35 saves in the losing effort, though his coach says he doesn't blame him for the overtime goal.

"The game-winning goal was a great goal," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "That would have gone in in the NHL. That was a goal-scorer's goal. He had one intent, and that was to shoot it as hard as he could. He did that, and I give that guy a lot of credit."

The Comets opened the scoring 2:05 into the game. After a lively dump into the Abbotsford zone, Jordan Schroeder chipped the puck to the front of the net where DeFazio swept it past MacDonald with a backhander for his fifth of the season.

Granlund, however, evened the score with a power-play goal at 7:42. He took a feed from Reinhart and beat Eriksson with a wrist shot glove side for his 17th of the year.

Despite failing to score on a two-man advantage earlier in the second period, the Comets regained the lead at 7:51. Pelletier chipped the puck in front, where Grenier turned and quickly beat MacDonald blocker side for his 14th of the season.

"Pelletier made really nice plays to me," said Grenier, "I was fortunate to be there but Pascal made all the plays there."

The Heat drew even at 10:52 while killing a penalty for too many men. Granlund fanned on his shot attempt on a two-on-two rush, but Reinhart redirected the puck past the Comets' netminder for his ninth of the season.

Olson scored at 7:18 to give the Heat their first lead of the night. Olson's forecheck pressured Yann Sauve into coughing up the puck at the face-off dot. Olson pounced, walked in on Eriksson and went short side for his seventh of the year and his first point in 14 games.

The Comets, however, evened the score at 11:13. Pelletier forced John Ramage to give it up behind the net and Grenier was there to bury his second of the game.

Then, at 1:10 of overtime Ferriero netted the winner.

"That was an unbelievable shot, one of the best I've ever seen," said Grenier. "I'm really happy for Benny. He's been one of our key players for the season."

Utica Comets (Photo: AHL)

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(Photo: AHL)
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