BRITISH COLUMBIA

Eriksson stops 36 shots, Ferriero scores winner, as Comets blank Heat

01/25/2014 12:45 EST | Updated 03/26/2014 05:59 EDT
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Goaltender Joacim Eriksson did more than his fair share of the work on Friday to earn two points.

Eriksson stopped 36 shots and Benn Ferriero scored the game's only goal 2:22 into overtime as the Utica Comets blanked the host Abbotsford Heat 1-0 in American Hockey Legaue action.

"We've got some pretty good confidence in him now," Ferriero said about his goaltender. "He's been playing great for us lately ... We knew he was in it tonight."

The Swedish netminder earned his third shutout of the season for the Comets (14-20-5), who have now won three in a row after winning just once in their previous nine.

Ferriero walked out from the corner and found space short side on Abbotsford goalie Joni Ortio for the winner.

"It came off a rush," said Ferriero, on how the play began. "I took the original shot and the goalie blocked it out to the right hand side. Peter Anderson stepped up and made a nice play to get it low. When I looked up I found that little space and started to walk to the net, put a nice shot on and it squeezed through."

Markus Granlund had the first quality scoring chance of the game with eight minutes to go in the first. Eriksson, however, snared the hard wrister that was labelled for the top corner.

The Heat thought they scored at 5:24 of the second period. Sven Baertschi's quick backhander seemed destined for the back of the net but Eriksson reached back with his paddle to pull the puck off the goal line. Though it was initially called a goal, upon review officials waved it off.

With less than two minutes to go in the second, Max Reinhart was sent in by Chris Breen's perfect breakaway pass, but Eriksson kicked out his right pad to make the save. He made 24 through 40 minutes.

"He was really solid," said Abbotsford's Breen. "He had an unbelievable stick save there that they called a goal at first. He was really good — he made a lot of big stops."

With both Eriksson and Ortio on top of their games, both clubs knew the winner was going to have to be ugly.

"It was one of those games where it was going to come down to one messy one," said Breen.

"We knew it was going to be a greasy goal," said Ferriero. "It might not be the prettiest one because both goalies played unbelievable tonight. Luckily the bounce went our way."

Ortio stopped 28 shots for Abbotsford (26-14-3).

Jordan Schroeder, who was playing his first game of the season after returning from a foot injury, recorded five shots.

The two teams face each other again Saturday night in Abbotsford.

"They're out to get us right now and we expect them to respond," said Ferriero. "We've got to ramp up our game. I'm sure it'll be another close one tomorrow."