The Rochester Americans (31-24-5-3) fell behind 2-0 early in the second period before erupting for four unanswered goals in a 4-3 victory over the league-leading Utica Comets (38-15-6-1) Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, the Amerks extended their home point streak to five games (3-0-1-1) while having earned points in seven of their last eight overall, going 4-1-2-1 over that span. Utica claimed the first three meetings between the two clubs this season, but Rochester has responded with five wins over the last seven games since, including each of the last two matchups.
Rookie forward Jack Quinn tallied his fourth three-point effort of the month of March as he scored his 23rd goal of the season to go along with two assists. Despite only appearing in eight games in the month, Quinn produced 13 points (5+8), which included two power-play markers, and 23 shots.
Michael Mersch (2+0) netted his fifth two-goal outing of the campaign while Mark Jankowski registered a pair of assists for his seventh multi-point effort. Since Nov. 26, Jankowski has recorded 13 points (4+9) over his last eight appearances.
Jimmy Schuldt logged his fourth goal of the season while Ethan Prow, who reached the 40-point mark for the second time in his AHL career, Sean Malone and Josh Teves all added an assist. Defenseman Mark Alt made his Amerks debut tonight after being acquired from the San Jose Barracuda on Monday.
Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (12-11-4) made 30 saves in the game, which included 15 in the final period of regulation. In 12 of his 26 appearances this season, Luukkonen has stopped 30 or more shots, including five of his last six games.
A.J. Greer provided all the scoring for Utica with his second hat trick of the season – and second against Rochester – while netminder Akira Schmid (19-7-3) made his 30th appearance of the year. The rookie netminder has suffered two of his six regulation losses versus the Amerks in five games.
After the Comets took a 2-0 lead just 1:28 into the second period, the Amerks, who were held to just four shots in the opening frame, countered with a pair of goals 2:31 apart to even the score at two.
On Rochester’s first goal of the game, Mersch scooped up a loose rebound out in-front of the goal crease from Malone and snapped it past Schmid at the 2:48 mark while on the power-play.
Shortly after Mersch’s first of two goals on the night, Schuldt blasted a one-time feed from Teves just inside the right point for his fourth of the season.
Before the end of the frame, Rochester took its first lead of the contest when Mersch swatted Jankowski’s pass from the left face-off dot into the upper corner, handcuffing an unsuspecting Schmid.
With his two-goal outing, Mersch is now one goal away from matching a career-high of 24 when he was a member of the Ontario Reign in the 2015-16 season. Additionally, Mersch has recorded 46 points on the campaign and is now just three away from matching his personal-best.
Holding a 3-2 lead midway through the final stanza, Oskari Laaksonen drew a tripping penalty to give the Amerks their third power-play of the contest.
Rochester needed only seven seconds on the man-advantage as Quinn wired in a shot from the right dot after Jankowski won the face-off.
In 35 of their first 63 games this season, the Amerks have scored at least one power-play goal and have registered multiple power-play tallies in 13 overall.
Utica pulled Schmid late in regulation and trimmed the deficit to 4-3 but Luukkonen and company held on to preserve the 4-3 victory.
The Amerks open the final month of the regular season with a five-game road-swing beginning with the first of back-to-back meetings against the Cleveland Monsters on Friday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m.