|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|NICK BAPTISTE POST-GAME|
|TYSON STRACHAN POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (7-10-0-1) grabbed a 2-1 lead after the first period, but the Utica Comets (6-9-1-0) responded with a pair of markers over the final two periods on their way to a 5-2 win over the Amerks Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
Nick Baptiste extended his point streak to six games as he scored his ninth goal of the campaign, giving the second-year pro nine points (8+1) over that stretch. In addition to Baptiste, rookie forward Alexander Nylander pushed his point streak (1+4) to a career-high four games when he assisted on Baptiste’s power-play tally. The helper gives Nylander eight while on man-advantage on the campaign, which leads all AHL rookies and is tied for fourth among all skaters. Making his 10th start in the last 11 games, goaltender Linus Ullmark stopped 27 of 31 shots in the defeat, falling to 6-7-1 on the campaign, while newcomer Kyle Bonis scored for the second straight game to round out the scoring for Rochester.
Darren Archibald, Wacey Hamilton, Andrey Pedan, and Borna Rendulic each chipped in with a multi-point night (1+1) to lead the Comets to their fourth straight victory and fifth in the last six games. Rookie netminder Thatcher Demko finished the night with 28 saves to improve his record to 4-3-1 on the slate after winning his fourth straight start.
With the score showing 3-2 in favor of the Comets midway through the final stanza, the Amerks penalty kill took the ice following an infraction against the home squad. Rochester’s penalty kill has been stellar as of late, but Jordan Subban buried his fifth goal of the season with 12:09 left in the period to ultimately put the game out of reach.
“I thought their power-play goal really hurt us,” said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. “I felt if we could have been able to successfully kill that penalty, the game would have been a one goal game and potentially a one-shot game. However, that was not the case.”
The Amerks fired 12 shots on the first-year goalie over the final period, but could not find a way to cut the deficit.
Things started out well for the Amerks, who for the second straight game opened the scoring less than two minutes into the contest with Bonis netting his second goal of the season in consecutive outings. The marker, just 1:53 in, was assisted by Eric Cornel, his second in the last two games, and by Erik Burgdoerfer.
Utica answered less than 10 minutes later to even the game at one, but Baptiste regained the lead on the power-play for the Amerks before the end of the opening period. It was the 10th man-advantage goal in the last eight games for Rochester.
“Our power-play unit has been red hot lately,” said Baptiste. “Despite the outcome, the power-play success is a positive we are able to take from the last few defeats.”
The Comets evened the score at 2-2 before taking their first lead of the contest when Rendulic and Pedan each netted their first goals of the season at the 5:41 and 12:10 of the middle frame, respectively, to make it 3-2 game. Subban cushioned the Utica lead to a pair when he walked in from the point to beat Ullmark from in close at 7:51 of the third period.
In an attempt to begin a comeback, the Amerks pulled Ullmark with 2:40 left in regulation, but Utica was able to hold the attack and seal the game with Archibald’s sixth goal of the season into the empty net.
The Amerks travel to the Capital District on Saturday, Nov. 26 to face the Albany Devils in a North Division showdown at the Times Union Center. The intrastate rivals last played on Nov. 16 with the Devils picking up a 3-1 victory. Opening Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Bonis (2), Baptiste (9)
UTI: Hamilton (1), Rendulic (1), Pedan (1), Subban (5), Archibald (6)
RCH: Ullmark – 27/31 (L)
UTI: Demko – 30/32 (W)
RCH: PP (1/3) / PK (2/3)
UTI: PP (1/3) / PK (2/3)