One goal made all the difference in Wednesday night’s match-up as the Utica Comets (28-13-5-1) fell to the Rochester Americans (21-26-3-0) 2-1 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The loss broke the Comets four-game winning streak dating back to Jan. 31. Twenty-nine of the Comets 47 games this season have ended in one-goal decisions.
Carter Bancks found the Comets’ lone goal of the game but Rochester’s goaltender Matt Hackett pulled through for the Americans by winning just his third game of the season for the Buffalo Sabres American Hockey League affiliate.
The Comets got things rolling just a few minutes after the initial puck drop following a quick play that developed just inside the crease. At 4:27, Hackett prepared himself for an incoming slapshot from Andrey Pedan. Hackett was able to make the initial save, but the rebound he left in front came back to haunt him as Bancks picked it up and threw it in on the backhand for the early 1-0 advantage. Brendan Gaunce was credited with the secondary assist on the play.
After being outshot through the entire first period, the Comets eventually faltered as the clock was winding down. After some board play behind Jacob Markstrom’s net, William Carrier popped the puck out to Jerome Leduc just above the center slot. Leduc spiked one towards net, which ended up going top-shelf past Markstrom for the 1-1 equalizer.
Just as everyone was getting up out of their seats for the first intermission, Brady Austin buried a shorthanded buzzer beater with one second left on the clock that put Rochester up 2-1. The shorthanded goal was the first the Comets have let in all season on home ice. Former Comets forward Zac Dalpe assisted on the one-timer and the eventual game-winning goal.
The Comets were unable to capitalize on the five power-play chances that they were awarded throughout the night, which leaves them at a standstill with a total of 13 power-play goals on home ice.
The Comets will gear up for another one against the Rochester Americans this Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial at 7 p.m.