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Utica, NY – The Comets took on the Rochester Americans in game 1 of the North Division semi-finals on Tuesday night inside the Adirondack Bank Center and despite going down 2-0 after the first period, the team marched back and skated away with a 6-3 victory and the game one win in a best of five series.
In the game’s opening period, it was the visiting team that came out and struck first when Arttu Ruotsalainen blasted a shot blocker side and in on Comets goalie Nico Daws at 2:21. The Amerks made it 2-0 on the power-play when JJ Peterka scored from the right circle on a quick shot through traffic at 6:03. The period culminated with the Comets down 2-0 allowing nine shots to five.
In the second period, the Comets got onto the board, and it started with an offensive zone faceoff win by Utica. As the puck went back to the blueline, Reilly Walsh wristed a shot that created a big rebound in front of Amerks netminder Aaron Dell. Tyce Thompson drove the goal and slid the puck into the back of the net at 4:31. It only took 59 seconds for the Comets to then tie the contest and it was a bomb of a one-timer from Robbie Russo as he was setup by Nikita Okhotiuk at 5:30. The crowd went crazy as the scored was suddenly 2-2. But it was another Rochester goal by Ruotsalainen who put a shot from the right wing off the bar and into the cage bringing the game to 3-2 for the Americans at 11:32. The Comets proved resilient, and it took a power-play goal by the captain to tie the game again. After an AJ Greer one-time shot was stopped by Dell, it left a rebound for the team captain Ryan Schmelzer to deposit home at 15:53 for his first post-season goal. After two periods of play, the capacity crowd serenaded their team as the Comets skated to the dressing rooms.
The Comets finally took over and didn’t look back in the final period of regulation and it was Joe Gambardella who scored the eventual game winner. Fabian Zetterlund nearly scored on a breakaway but his rebound rested in the crease for Gambardella to deposit in the back of the net at 9:29. The Comets AJ Greer scored to give the Comets a 5-3 lead after a faceoff win by Aarne Talvitie resulted in a wrister by Greer who went blocker side and in on Dell and 14:04. Greer added a breakaway goal at 16:30 which sealed the deal and the Comets skated away with a 6-3 victory and a game one victory.
Game two takes place inside the Adirondack Bank Center Saturday night at 7:00 PM against Rochester. For playoff ticket information, please visit uticacomets.com/playoffs.