(Utica, NY) … In a back-and-forth game that saw the Rochester Americans (5-4-0-0) and Utica Comets (4-3-0-1) combine for 81 shots, 34 penalty minutes and seven goals, Eric Cornel capped off Wednesday night’s game at the Adirondack Bank Center in the eighth-round of a shootout to give the Amerks a 4-3 victory.
Amerks rookie C.J. Smith and Kyle Criscuolo each registered a pair of helpers to give Rochester its third win in the last four contests. By collecting points, Criscuolo extended his point streak to a career-long four games as he shows six points (2+4) over that span. Hudson Fasching opened the scoring with his first marker of the season just 14 seconds after the opening face-off while Kevin Porter and Steve Moses each recorded their second tallies in the win. Rochester netminder Linus Ullmark had a season-high 45 saves on the way to upping his record to 4-3-0 on the campaign.
Darren Archibald paced the hometown Comets with a three-point night (1+2) while Alexis D’Aoust and Michael Chaput each scored their second goals of the campaign. Goaltender Thatcher Demko, who was named CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October earlier today, saw his season-long four-game win streak come to an end after stopping 29 of 32. The second-year netminder now shows a record of 4-1-1 on the season.
Following a scoreless third period, the Amerks and Comets headed to an overtime period with the game tied at 3-3. Despite several odd-man rushes in the extra session, Ullmark and Demko each stood tall for their respective teams before a shootout was needed.
Utica elected to shoot first in the skills competition but Porter scored first for the Amerks in opening-round. Needing to score to extend the session for the Comets, Reid Boucher beat Ullmark in the third round, but it would be the only goal the Swedish netminder would allow as he stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
In the eighth round of the shootout, Cornel was sent out in attempt to deliver the win for Rochester. The second-year forward raced in towards Demko and roofed a back-handed shot over the blocker to give the Amerks a 4-3 win.
Demko had entered the night stopping 73 of 74 shots he faced in the two previous meetings with Rochester, but Fasching opened the scoring on the night just 14 seconds into the contest. The marker from Smith and Criscuolo was the fastest goal to begin a game this season for Rochester.
Utica, however, responded 3:04 later to even the score at 1-1 nine seconds into its first power-play of the contest. The Amerks would be whistled for four straight infractions in the period but would just allow the one tally while shorthanded before the Comets took the lead at the 16:57 mark of the opening frame.
It appeared the Amerks would enter the break trailing 2-1, but a late Comets penalty gave Rochester a power-play with 27 seconds in the first period.
Picking up the puck atop the offensive zone from Brendan Guhle, Porter blasted a slap-shot from the left dot to knot the game at 2-2 with 14 seconds left in the period. With the power-play goal, it gives Rochester three straight games with a marker while on the man-advantage.
After the squads emerged from the dressing rooms, Utica retook its lead with D’Aoust’s tally at the 7:42 mark of the second period. Rochester’s power-play, though, would soon strike again.
The Amerks controlled the puck in the offensive zone for the first minute of the penalty to Utica’s Brendan Woods before taking advantage of tired skaters as Smith sent it around the far boards. Gathering the puck near the trapezoid, Criscuolo centered a puck to Moses, who one-timed it into the net to even the score at 3-3 with 4:32 into the stanza.
A fast-paced overtime period saw the North Division rivals exchange several quality chances, but neither side could find the net, setting the stage for Cornel’s winner in the eighth round of the shootout.
The oldest rivalry in the American Hockey League will be renewed on Friday, Nov. 3 in Rochester when the Amerks return home to host the Hershey Bears at The Blue Cross Arena for the only time this season. The puck drops on the 455th all-time meeting between the league’s two oldest teams at 7:05 p.m. with all the action being carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Fasching (1), Porter (2), Moses (2), Cornel (SOW)
UTI: Chaput (2), Archibald (2), D’Aoust (2)
RCH: Ullmark – 45/48 (W)
UTI: Demko – 29/32 (OTL)
RCH: PP (2/6) | PK (5/6)
UTI: PP (1/6) | PK (4/6)