Amerks Outlast Utica in High-Scoring Affair
(Rochester, NY) - The Rochester Americans (19-11-0-0) jumped out to a 7-2 lead halfway through the second period against the first-place Utica Comets (19-4-3-0) before surviving a late game push and holding on for a 7-6 win in a scoring frenzy Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.
SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 3 OT SO FINAL
Utica 2 1 3 -- -- 6
Rochester 4 3 0 -- -- 7
With the win, Rochester has won three straight games to even the season-series with the Comets at 3-3-0-0 through the first six meetings. Overall, the Amerks have also earned 11 victories in their last 15 games.
Dating back to the start of the 2016-17 campaign, Rochester has collected at least one point in 33 of the last 51 games against Utica, going 26-18-3-4 over that span.
With a career-high four-point outings from both Jack Quinn (1+3), who made his NHL debut Wednesday night with the Buffalo Sabres, and Oskari Laaksonen (0+4), the Amerks picked up their 10th win on home ice, which ranks fourth in the Eastern Conference. Brandon Biro (1+2) and Casey Fitzgerald (0+2) both chipped in multi-point efforts. Matej Pekar, Linus Weissbach, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Mason Jobst, and Mitch Eliot all scored in the win as well.
Goaltender Mat Robson (3-1-0) made 23 saves in his fourth appearance of the season for Rochester. Robson was recalled on Wednesday morning ahead of tonight's contest following the recalls of Michael Houser and Aaron Dell to the parent Buffalo Sabres.
Michael Vukojevic (1+1), Robbie Russo (1+2), Tyler Irvine (1+1) and Ryan Schmelzer (2+0) all produced a multi-point game for Utica, which has suffered three of its four regulation losses to the Amerks. Tyler Wotherspoon scored his first goal since the 2019-20 season as a member of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Rookie goaltender Mareks Mitens (3-3-1) made his seventh appearance in the Comets net but suffered his third loss of the campaign.
In the opening stanza, the Amerks quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Jobst and Pekar both lit the lamp on Rochester's third and fourth shots of the night, respectively, less than two minutes in.
Following a face-off win inside the Utica zone, Jimmy Schuldt passed the puck to Laaksonen in the center of the ice. As the Finnish native fired a shot on Mitens, the shot snuck between right arm before Jobst pushed it across the line just 57 seconds into the contest.
On the ensuing shift, Fitzgerald sprung Pekar into the Comets zone with an outlet pass through the neutral zone. As the second-year forward sprinted to the front of the crease, he tucked the puck inside the right post to make it a two-goal lead at the 1:50 mark.
Midway through the period, Rochester drew its first power-play and the home team capitalized less than 30 seconds later.
While on the man-advantage, Biro unleashed a shot from the top of the point to increase the Amerks' cushion to three. Laaksonen and Quinn helped set up the play and were credited with the assists while Dominic Franco was providing a net-front screen.
The Comets were able to pull within one, however, after Schmelzer and Irvine found the scoresheet 3:05 apart, but Rochester regained its two-goal advantage in the final minute of the frame.
Prior to the completion of the opening period, the Amerks used the power-play to their advantage yet again for the second time of the night. After Utica cleared the puck, Laaksonen handed it to Ruotsalainen inside the Rochester end before the Finn carried it to the top of the opposition's blueline. Ruotsalainen exchanged a give-and-go with Quinn before steering in a return centering feed for his third of the season.
Following the intermission break, Weissbach tallied his third of the year to push the score to 5-2 at the 6:26 mark of the second period before Eliot roofed a shot over Mitens less than 30 seconds to give Rochester a 6-2 lead.
Rochester then completed the four-goal run as Quinn blasted a one-time feed from Laaksonen and Biro with 8:33 left in the frame.
The power-play goal was the Amerks' third of the night, marking the seventh game this season the club has registered multiple goals while on the man-advantage.
Trailing 5-2, Utica scored four straight goals , including three in the final 20 minutes of play to come within a goal, but Rochester hung on for a wild 7-6 victory.
The Amerks continue their four-game homestand on Friday, Jan. 14 in the first of back-to-back meetings with the Belleville Senators at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
UTICA GAMECENTER ROCHESTER
R. Schmelzer (6, 7), T. Irvine (1), R. Russo (2), M. Vukojevic (1),
T. Wotherspoon (1) GOAL-SCORERS M. Jobst (4), M. Pekar (3),
B. Biro (5), A. Ruotsalainen (3),
L. Weissbach (7), E. Eliot (2),
J. Quinn (13 - GWG)
M. Mitens - 21/28 (L) GOALTENDERS M. Robson - 23/29 (W)
1-3 POWER-PLAY 3-6
3-6 PENALTY KILL 2-3
29 SHOTS ON GOAL 28
GAME HIGHLIGHTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbQ6JcABwMM
SETH APPERT POST-GAME: https://youtu.be/ViWME7iFKqU
OSKARI LAAKSONEN POST-GAME: https://youtu.be/W_9NWLLzJRw
JACK QUINN POST-GAME: https://youtu.be/kdk5IITVZmw
BRANDON BIRO POST-GAME: https://youtu.be/-j_B6snXwAs
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