AMERKS WIN STREAK SNAPPED IN 4-0 LOSS TO COMETSJan 26, 2024
The Rochester Americans (19-14-3-1) were unable to solve goaltender Isaac Poulter and the Utica Comets (15-16-4-3) as they were shutout 4-0 on Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the defeat, Rochester saw its three-game win streak come to an end as well as its three-game home win streak dating back to Jan. 5. The Amerks, who have recorded at least one point in seven of their last nine games, show a 12-10-1-1 mark in Rochester over the past five seasons against Utica overall.
Forwards Brett Murray and Jiri Kulich both recorded a team-high four shots on goal for Rochester while rookie defenseman Nikita Novikov topped the club’s blueliners with three.
Goaltender Devin Cooley (6-5-2) made his 13th appearance of the campaign, stopping 24 shots he faced.
Graeme Clarke and Topias Vilen both notched a pair of assists for Utica, which snapped a three-game skid. Ryan Schmelzer, Joe Gambardella, Arnaud Durandeau all scored before Michael Vukojevic capped the win.
Poulter (10-5-1) made 32 saves in his 19th appearance of the season while also recording his second shutout of the season against Rochester.
Nearly four minutes after successfully clearing its second penalty of the frame, Utica opened the scoring at the 15:15 mark of the first period.
As the Comets kept the Amerks trapped inside their own zone, Vilen and Schmelzer exchanged passes in the right corner of Cooley. Vilen carried the return feed as he drifted to the wall and sent the puck back for the Buffalo native to roof a backhander over a sprawled Cooley for his ninth of the year.
After taking a one-goal lead into the intermission, Utica gained a power-play in the first 2:39 of the second period.
On the man-advantage, Halonen fired a rebound across the offensive zone to Clarke at the left point. The Comets’ leading point-getter took a stride towards the circles before whipping a shot towards the cage. Prior to the shot reaching Cooley, it caromed off the face of Gambardella before dribbling its way across the goal-line to double Utica lead.
Neither team scored for the remaining 15:57 despite Rochester outshooting the visitors 12-6 in the period.
During the third period, Rochester appeared to cut the deficit in half on an apparent goal from Brendan Warren at the 4:16 mark but was soon disallowed following video review.
Later in the period after the tough luck for the home squad, Utica made things even harder as Durandeau steered in a Clarke feed from just outside the blue paint of Cooley.
The Comets sealed the win as Rochester pulled its netminder for the final three minutes, however, Vukojevic scored into the vacant net from behind his own goal-line with his third of the campaign.
The Amerks continue their four-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 27 when they host the Laval Rocket for a 5:05 p.m. face-off. All the action from The Blue Cross Arena will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Stars and Stripes:
Lukas Rousek (13 games), Viktor Neuchev (six games), and Kale Clague (four-games) all saw their point streaks come to an end tonight ... Rousek’s was the longest point streak by an Amerk in 24 years, dating back to Domenic Pittis, who posted a 14-game point streak from January-March of 2000 ... 17 of the 18 Amerks recorded at least one shot on net while nine had multiple attempts.
UTC: R. Schmelzer (9 – GWG), J. Gambardella (6), Durandeau (3), M. Vukojevic (3)
UTC: I. Poulter – 32/32 (W)
ROC: D. Cooley – 24/27 (L)
UTC: PP (1/1) | PK (3/3)
ROC: PP (0/3) | PK (0/1)
1. UTC - I. Poulter
2. UTC - R. Schmelzer
3. UTC - G. Clarke