UTICA, N.Y. (WROC) — Game 5 of the Amerks’ series against the Utica Comets was just the latest chapter in a season full of twists and turns.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the third period on the road in a hostile environment, the odds were stacked against Rochester. But like they have done so often the last month of the season, the Amerks found a way to rally and come out on top.

“You know you could tell our guys they wanted it and you could say they wanted it more tonight,” said Amerks forward Casey Fitzgerald. “That’s exactly what it was. We went into that third period saying we’re not going to lie down and you know we didn’t want the season to be over.”

Fitzgerald got the action started with a goal nine minutes into the game to put the Amerks on the board first. Utica would respond quickly with a goal from Fabian Zetterlund and Alexander Holtz to give the Comets a 2-1 lead after the first period.

After neither team scored in the second period, the Amerks faced a 2-1 deficit heading into the final frame.

Just over three minutes into the third, Artuu Ruotsalainen scored a goal to tie the game up at 2. Three minutes later, Sean Malone would answer with a goal of his own to put the Amerks on top and effectively be the game winner.

“I think we’ve been the most dramatic team in hockey so far so why would we expect anything less than that you know?” said Amerks goaltender Aaron Dell. “I think that just shows how much everyone is willing to go to bat for each other.”

“I didn’t want to go home,” said Amerks forward Brett Murray. “I don’t think any of us wanted to go home. I think no one wanted their season to be done. You know we kind of beared down and found something within.”

Mark Jankowski would score an empty net goal with a minute remaining to put the game out of reach.

“The resilience of this group is pretty special,” said head coach Seth Appert. “We’ve talked about it. This group loves each other. They love playing for each other. They love playing for Rochester.”

Up next for the Amerks is a date with Laval Rocket in the quarterfinals. Game 1 is set for Sunday in Laval at 7pm with Game 2 slated for Monday at the same time.

The Amerks will return to Blue Cross Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday, May 25th with puck drop set for 7:05pm. A possible Game 4 will take at home on Friday, May 27th at the same time with Game 5 set to take place back in Laval on Sunday, May 29th at 7pm.

With the win, Rochester advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005.