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Amerks suffer shootout loss in Utica

Local Sports

For the second time in three days, the Rochester Americans (23-9-4-5) found themselves on the short end of a shootout loss to the Utica Comets (19-14-4-3), dropping a 3-2 decision in the back-end of a midweek home-and-home series Wednesday night at Adirondack Bank Center. Tonight’s game was ninth meeting of the season between the North Division rivals, and the sixth of which was played beyond regulation. 

Kevin Porter (1+0) and C.J. Smith (1+0) tallied the Amerks goals, with helpers from Seth Griffith (0+1), Zach Redmond (0+1), Eric Cornel (0+1) and Stuart Percy (0+1). Linus Ullmarkstopped 35 of 37, including six in overtime, in what was his third straight start for Rochester, which saw its winless streak reach three games.

Cole Cassels (1+1) and Michael Carcone (0+2) each chipped in multi-point efforts for the Comets while Thatcher Demko made 33 saves in the winning effort for Utica, which picked up its sixth win in the last seven games.

Halfway through the first period, Andrew Cherniwchan lobbed the puck into the crowd, resulting in a delay of game and giving the Amerks their first power-play of the night. With two seconds remaining in the man-advantage, Griffith feathered a pass from the face-off circle towards the net-front, where Porter redirected it past Demko to give the Amerks the 1-0 lead.

Utica knotted the score just over seven minutes later when Archibald streaked down the ice with Cassels, bouncing the puck between them and eventually into Ullmark’s net. 

Three minutes into the sandwich stanza, Carcone flew down the ice hugging the boards before finding Cassels, who scooped up the puck and fired it in, giving Utica its first lead of the game. 

The Amerks answered back in the third period when Smith converted on a breakaway opportunity at 7:11 to even things up at 2-2. Smith’s team-leading 13th goal of the season would ultimately force overtime for the sixth time in the season series.

The teams combined for 10 shots during a heated back-and-forth overtime period, but neither side could find the winner and the shootout was needed for the second straight game. Much as he did earlier in the night, Porter scored in the opening round before Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin each converted on their chances to secure the 3-2 win for Utica.

Rochester’s season-long five-game road swing continues this weekend as the Amerks make their inaugural trip to Bojangles’ Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 20 for the first of back-to-back meetings with the Charlotte Checkers. Saturday’s 6:00 p.m. contest will be followed by a 1:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday afternoon. 

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