LAVAL, Quebec — The Utica Comets lost a 3-1 lead en route to a 5-3 loss to the Laval Rocket Saturday night at Bell Place.
After going nine games without a first period goal, the Comets got on the board in the first frame on an odd-man rush up the ice. Brendan Woods set up Kole Lind, who flung a shot over a sliding Charlie Lindgren in goal.
Michael Leighton became the eighth goalie in AHL history to appear in 500 games. He made seven stops in the first, and the Comets had a 1-0 advantage after the first period.
Laval tied the game 1-1 early in the second period on a power play. Cale Fleury sailed a long range shot into the net. The Comets re-established a one-goal lead late in the period.
Colton Saucerman dished to Jalen Chatfield, whose tape-to-tape pass to Vincent Arseneau generated an easy tap-in, earning Arseneau his seventh goal of the season.
Early in the third, the Comets forced a steal in their own end, leading to another two-on-one and another goal. Lukas Jasek swiped the puck and moved it to Woods, who deposited a wrist shot to put the Comets up 3-1. Utica’s two-goal lead lasted for about six minutes before a power play goal from Alex Alain brought the game back to within a goal.
The Rocket took over from there, scoring three more times, including twice in 34 seconds. A Lukas Vejdemo empty-netter at 19:42 sealed the win.
The Comets are back in action Wednesday night when they hit the road to take on the Rochester Americans. Puck drop at Blue Cross Arena is at 7:05.