Dec 31, 2016

Utica, NY – The Utica Comets dropped a 6-3 decision to the Rochester Americans on Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

For the third consecutive game, the Comets struck first. Alexandre Grenier put home a loose puck on the power play for his eighth of the year. Joseph LaBate and Pascal Pelletier were credited with the assists. Seven minutes later, Evan Rodrigues tied the game for the Americans on a wrap-around that popped up and over the pad of Thatcher Demko for his sixth of the year. Cole Schneider and Taylor Fedun notched the assists. Just as the period was about to end, Rodrigues buried his second of the game on a one-timer from Tim Kennedy. Schneider was also given an assist as the visitors took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Darren Archibald tied the game for the Comets just five minutes into the middle frame. The forward redirected a pass from Curtis Valk for his ninth goal of the year. Rochester regained the lead with 7:41 to go in the second as Nick Baptiste collected his 15th goal of the season. Cal O’Reilly and Fedun tallied the assists on the power play strike. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda’s third of the year made it a 4-2 score just 30 seconds later. Eric Cornel and Jean Dupuy picked up the assists.

Schneider made it 5-2 in favor of the Americans with 8:21 to go in the third period. The forward tipped a pass from Kennedy behind Demko. Rodrigues was also credited with an assist. Colby Robak’s first goal as a Comet brought Utica back to within two goals with 4:11 to go. Demko was given the assist on the end-to-end rush where Robak initially hit the post but knocked the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net. Schneider sealed the victory for Rochester with an empty net goal.

The Comets power play went 2-10, while the penalty kill surrendered one goal in five attempts.

Demko stopped 17 of 22 shots as his record falls to 7-8-3. Linus Ullmark made 26 saves to improve his record to 13-12-1.

The Comets are back in action on January 6 as they conclude a five-game homestand against the Albany Devils. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.

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