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Utica, NY— As in game one inside the Adirondack Bank Center on Tuesday, a capacity crowd donned in all white created an electric atmosphere for the Utica Comets as they readied themselves for game two of a best of five series against the Rochester Americans. With a capacity crowd standing and screaming for the Comets to start the game, a familiar chant of “Utica” created an incredible ambiance for everyone inside the arena. It was a city united in white behind their Comets team in the hopes they could skate away against Rochester with a win and to further extend their series lead. Unfortunately, the Americans had other ideas and rookie forward JJ Peterka spoiled the party in Utica after netting the overtime game winner.
The Comets came out roaring but found themselves behind only twenty seconds into the game after a wrist shot by Mark Jankowski found its way just under the crossbar and in for a 1-0 Rochester lead. The Amerks added to their lead when rookie forward JJ Peterka got around the Comets defense and sent a puck just off the post and in on the short-side of Daws at 10:44. Nevertheless, the Comets remain strong and pulled themselves together to emerge with a goal that sliced the deficit in half on a rocket of a one-timer by game one’s number one star, AJ Greer. The primary assist was the first for rookie defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin who set up Greer wonderfully at 15:25. Suddenly, the building was flowing with energy and enthusiasm as the sea of white rose to their collective feet and cheered on the Comets as they left the first period with a newly generated life.
The second period started, and the fans let the Comets know they were soundly behind them in the middle frame. The Comets used that momentum to tie the game it was veteran defenseman Robbie Russo who found room over the blocker of Amerks goalie Dell at 3:28. The goal, assisted by Joe Gambardella and Fabian Zetterlund, was Russo’s second in as many playoff games. Once again, the Comets fans rejoiced as their team tied the hockey game 2-2. It took a fluke bounce off the boards to a wide open Peterka who lift a shot just passed the blocker side of Daws at 12:12. The third period ended with the Comets trailing 3-2.
In the final period of regulation, the Comets once again fought back to tie contest, and it took another veteran leader in Brian Flynn who deflected a Russo point shot into the back of the net at 1:32. It was Flynn’s first goal of the post-season assisted by Nikita Okhotiuk and Russo. The arena waited with bated breath for their team to move ahead but the game was sent to the extra session where it only took a minutes and twenty nine seconds for Peterka to net a hattrick and a goal against Daws and tie the series at 1-1.
Game three takes place tomorrow at 5:05 PM inside Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. The Comets will be back in action after Sunday in Rochester again on Tuesday night for a 7:05 PM puck drop. If necessary, a game five will take place on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00 PM inside the Adirondack Bank Center. For playoff ticket information, please visit uticacomets.com/playoffs