There was no love lost between these North Division rivals during Saturday night’s Valentine’s Day re-match as Bobby Sanguinetti and the Utica Comets exacted their revenge in overtime against the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial for a final score of 2-1.
The Comets (29-13-5-1) won for the fifth time in their last six games (5-1-0-0) and have now slid into second place within the Western Conference with 64 points.
The Americans (22-26-4-0) have now lost three games to the Comets this season out of the five they have played.
Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) scored the overtime goal that put the Comets on top and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) found his seventh of the year earlier in the game. Jacob Markstrom was no stranger to the puck and put on a spectacular performance by stopping all but one of the 30 shots he faced from the Buffalo Sabres American Hockey league affiliate.
Even though both teams saw nine shots apiece in the first period, neither goaltender allowed any in during the first stanza.
The second period was a different story because just after the five-minute mark Gaunce received a pass from Mike Zaleweski that allowed both Gaunce and Carter Bancks to enter the offensive zone on a 2-on-1. Instead of dishing the puck over to his line mate, Gaunce launched the puck to the far side of the net and buried it over Andrey Makarovs right leg for the 1-0 lead.
The Comets were fortunate enough to hold on to the one-goal lead as they headed into the third period but the Americans finally found the equalizer at 7:01 after Jerry D’Amigo wrapped around behind Markstrom’s net and fed the puck across the crease to Brayden Irwin who nailed it in the open side to make it 1-1.
In the remaining seconds of the last period, Jake McCabe took a kneeing penalty on Darren Archibald which left the Comets with a 32 second power play to finish out the period.
Unable to bury one in regulation, the Comets headed in to overtime for the 11th time this year with a 4-on-3 power play for the first 1:28 of the extra period.
As the power-play opportunity was winding down, Sanguinetti buried his 11th goal of the year at 1:07 off of a slapshot to make it a 2-1 final decision. Cal O’Reilly tallied his 31st assist of the year and now leads the entire team with 35 points.
Saturday’s win marks the 17th time the Comets have won a game by a one-goal decision this year.
The Comets will have one day of for rest before they head to Hamilton, Ontario on Monday to face the Bulldogs in an afternoon match-up slated for 1 p.m. at the FirstOntario Centre.