Luke Adam scored twice and goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 30 shots to help the Rochester Americans to a 4-1 win over the visiting Utica Comets Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The game marked the first-ever meeting between the new North Division rivals, who are slated to meet nine more times this season.
Dan Catenacci and Kevin Sundher also scored for the Amerks while veteran forward Jamie Tardif added two assists to give the Amerks their first win of the season. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Phil Varone also recorded points for the second straight game and rookies Tim Schaller and Chad Ruhwedel earned their first professional points in the win as well.
Pascal Pelletier netted the lone goal and Utica goaltender Joe Cannata made 18 saves in the loss for the Comets, who officially became the American Hockey League’s first franchise in Utica since the 1992-93 Utica Devils.
The Amerks took a 1-0 lead 6:32 into the first period on Catenacci's first goal of the season. An attempted clearing pass by Cannata was intercepted by Amerks forward Colton Gillies in the low slot. Gillies, catching Cannata out of position, fired a shot off the left post, but Catenacci was there to jam the puck into the open net to put Rochester ahead.
Adam’s first of the night gave the Amerks a two-goal cushion with 17 seconds remaining in the first period. Tardif picked up a loose puck in front of the Utica net and found a wide-open Adam, who tapped the offer past Cannata to make it a 2-0 game.
Rochester went up 3-0 exactly 10 minutes into the second period on Sundher's first goal of the season. As Sundher broke down the left wing, he tipped the puck past a Utica defenseman, and took a sharp angle shot from the corner that slipped through the arm of Cannata and into the net.
Hackett's best save of the night came 3:24 into the third period. Utica's Colin Stuart, who captained the Amerks during the 2011-12 season, broke into the Rochester zone on a shorthanded breakaway, but his high shot was blocked by the right shoulder of Hackett.
Adam tallied his second goal of the game on the power-play at the 12:56 mark of the third period. Varone's shot from the face-off circle was blocked, but the puck fell right on the door-step for Adam, as he slammed the puck into the net for a 4-0 Amerks lead.
Hackett's shutout bid ended with 6:32 remaining in the third period on Pelletier's goal, which brought the game to 4-1 in favor of Rochester.
The Amerks resume one of their most heated rivalries on Saturday, Oct. 12 as Rochester travels to nearby Syracuse to take on the Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the first of eight meetings between the longtime foes this season and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.