Viktor Loov scored the first two goals of his North American career, the second 5:55 into overtime, to give the Toronto Marlies a 3-2 American Hockey League victory over the Utica Comets Sunday at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
The Comets, who defeated the Marlies 2-1 Saturday, wound up with three points for their two-game, season-opening set. They will return home before taking off for a pair of games in Texas next weekend, visiting the San Antonio Rampage Friday and at the Texas Stars Saturday.
“It wasn’t a great hockey game,” said Comets coach Travis Green. “It was a sloppy game by both teams.”
Not that Green was upset with the effort.
“It was a hard-fought hockey game all around,” he said. “I just don’t think we were sharp.”
The Comets had grabbed a 2-1 lead on Brandon DeFazio’s goal at 2:23 of the third period, but Loov, a 21-year-old Swedish forward, tied things up 11 minutes later, after the Comets couldn’t clear their zone following a successful penalty kill.
Utica had dominated much of the action early, and had a 17-9 shot advantage after two periods, but the Marlies picked up the pace midway through the third, outshot the Comets decisively the rest of the way and had a 28-27 edge for the game.
The Marlies got out front first, with Troy Bodie connecting at 1:32 of the second period as he and Greg McKegg worked a two-on-one shorthanded break. The Comets got that back on Dustin Jeffrey’s second goal of the season, at 14:35 of the second, when he potted a rebound of an Alex Grenier shot. Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk also had an assist on the goal, the first point of his professional career.
DeFazio then pushed the Comets ahead when he threw the puck from behind the net and it bounced in off Marlies goalie Christopher Gibson. Rookie Brendan Gaunce helped create the goal by putting pressure on Gibson.
The Comets held that lead until Loov’s equalizer.