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 Rochester Americans

Amerks Lock up Second Place with Comeback Win in Utica

April 21, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release

(Utica, NY) - Ethan Prow and Isak Rosen scored 30 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Rochester Americans to a 3-2 win over the intrastate rival Utica Comets in the 2023-24 regular season finale Sunday evening at Adirondack Bank Center.

The win marked the end of Rochester's 68th regular season, with the team owning a 39-23-7-3 record. With 88 points, the Amerks will have home ice advantage in the opening round of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs, where they will host the three seed-Syracuse Crunch in a best-of-five series in the North Division Semifinals. The 88-point finish is the most by an Amerks team since the 2018-19 season, when the club finished with 99 points.

Devon Levi picked up the win in goal, his 16th of the season, making 31 saves on 33 shots. Utica's Nico Daws got the start, making 23 saves in the losing effort.

Rosen played a part in starting and ending the game for Rochester, as the second-year Amerk opened the scoring 2:24 into the middle period. After a scoreless first, Sabres' prospect Noah Ostlund helped start a breakout from the Rochester zone, leading Zach Metsa into a two-on-one with Rosen. Metsa dished it across the ice for Rosen to bury the puck past Daws for the 1-0 advantage.

Utica responded later in the period with two goals 2:21 apart. The game-tying goal came off Graeme Clarke's stick, as a shot from atop the zone was batted down in front of Levi, where Clarke found the puck at the side of the net.

Moments later, a Utica power-play saw Justin Dowling get the Comets a 2-1 lead, corralling a pass at the net front drawn from former Amerk Kyle Criscuolo, who dished the puck from the corner to give Dowling a point-blank chance that he would not miss.

Down by one in the third, Rochester responded by way of the veteran Prow driving a bullet to the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season. At the center of the blueline, Prow accepted a pass from Lukas Rousek, then hammered the puck for a shot that went through traffic and beat Daws bar down to even the score 5:35 into the third.

Just 30 seconds later, Rosen crashed the Utica crease, where he was fed across from the right side by Joseph Cecconi to tuck home the go-ahead goal and give the Amerks a 3-2 lead with 13:55 to play. The goal, his second of the game, allowed Rosen to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his young professional career.

Utica would go on to outshoot Rochester by a 15-5 margin in the third. With just over two minutes left, the Comets pulled Daws in favor of a six-on-five situation where the puck remained in the Amerks' defensive zone for the bulk of the remaining time. Levi made several saves, but was also helped by Rosen, who in addition to his two goals, absorbed a painful blocked shot.

With the seconds ticking down, Rochester finally cleared the puck down the ice, where an exhausted Graham Slaggert hustled down the ice to beat out the delayed icing call, taking a hit along the board in the process and helping the clock reach zero.

The season series concludes with Rochester posting an 8-3-1-0 record in 12 games against the Comets. Predating this season, the Amerks have won 10 of their last 11 games in Utica. The Amerks ended the season with a 21-11-3-1 road record, marking just the second time in the last 10 years (2018-19) the team has reached more than 20 road wins.

The victory was Rochester's sixth of the season when trailing after two periods. The team surged through the second half of the season with points in 29 of its last 38 games and enters the postseason on a 13-3-1-0 run across the final 16 games.

Up next comes a rematch from last year's North Division Semifinal as the Amerks begin their quest for 14 wins and a Calder Cup Championship when they host Syracuse in Game 1 of the best-of-five series on Friday, April 26 at The Blue Cross Arena.

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