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Amerks Take Down Shorthanded Comets

If you’re a goalie fan, Wednesday’s matchup between the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets may not have been for you.

Amerks Take Down Shorthanded Comets

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – If you’re a goalie fan, Wednesday’s matchup between the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets may not have been for you. The Amerks can thank a fruitful second period for their 7-6 win over the North Division-leading Comets, who came into Wednesday night’s game with only ten forwards. When Jack Quinn scored his 13th goal of the season to make it a 7-2 game in favor of the Amerks, he likely had no idea his goal would be the game-winner, but four unanswered goals by the Comets made for an interesting finish.

It didn’t take long for the Amerks to get on the board as Mason Jobst scored his fourth goal this season 0:57 into the game. Matej Pekar scored his second goal of the season less than a minute later, as Rochester capitalized on two of their first five shots on Mareks Mitens. Brandon Biro scored to make it 3-0 in his return from COVID protocol before the Comets began to fight back, bringing the game within one. Arttu Ruotsalainen would give the Amerks a 4-2 lead going into the first intermission. The Amerks would go on to score three goals on nine shots in the second period to take a commanding 7-2 lead before Robbie Russo scored the lone power-play goal for the Comets. Even while holding onto a four-goal lead heading into the third period, it felt like the Americans needed to score as many goals as possible in the third period to play keep away from the Comets – the exact opposite occurred.

Wednesday night was a tale of two games in Rochester – the first game taking place during the first forty minutes of action, and the second game taking place during the final twenty. The third period was all Utica, as they managed to put 14 shots on goal, forcing Mat Robson to make some key saves to keep the Amerks on top. Ultimately, Robson bent, but did not break, allowing three goals in the third period, giving the Americans a wild 7-6 victory over the Comets.

Postgame Reflection

The Amerks power play was a well-oiled machine on Wednesday, scoring goals on three-out-of-six of their opportunities with the man-advantage. Biro, Ruotsalainen, and Quinn picked up power-play goals for the Amerks. While the Amerks’ power play currently ranks as best in the AHL, their penalty kill – which killed off two of three power-play opportunities for the Comets – has been lackluster, tied for 22nd in the AHL.

It appears that it may be Robson’s net for the next few weeks in Rochester. Michael Houser signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres after Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, currently up with the NHL squad, suffered a lower-body injury earlier this week – he is listed as week-to-week. Unfortunately for the Amerks, that could be cause for concern. Robson gave up six goals on 29 shots, a .793 save percentage. On the campaign, Robson has given up an average of 5.91 goal per game and has posted a .818 save percentage. If the Sabres continue to pluck guys, such as Peyton Krebs, JJ Peterka, Brett Murray, and Quinn, the Amerks are going to need to sure up their goaltending situation. Bryan Haude, who, according to hockeyDB.com, hasn’t played a game since 2015-2016 with the now-defunct Berlin River Drivers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, backed Robson up on Wednesday.

Quinn’s NHL Debut

Of note, Jack Quinn made his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, a 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Quinn was on the ice for a total of 16:10, including 3:07 on the power play, and registered three shots on goal. Of course, Quinn was welcomed to the league with a solo lap around the Sabres’ zone to start warm-ups, where he was greeted by two of his Rochester teammates, Mattias Samuelson and Ryan Scarfo.

Sabres coach Don Granato was highly complimentary of Quinn’s game.

“Jack, I thought, was really good. I liked a lot of things in him game. He created a couple chances. He was very aware with the puck, very in tune in the game. I thought it was a real good first game for him.”

Enjoy this season with Jack Quinn, Amerks fans – he’s going to be a full-time Sabre before we know it.

A Look Ahead

The Americans will welcome the Belleville Senators to Blue Cross Arena this weekend for matchups on Friday and Saturday. The Senators, who are coming off of a loss to the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday, find themselves at the bottom of the North Division with a 13-15-0-0 record, however, they are far from out of contention for a playoff spot with 44 games remaining. Undoubtedly, the Amerks will look for a weekend sweep, and they should be able to find one so long as their goaltenders are up to the task.

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    Jeremy Paul is in his first season covering the Rochester Americans for Field Pass Hockey. You can follow him and interact with him on Twitter @FPHAmericans.

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