After being held scoreless through two periods of play, the Utica Comets outscored the Rochester Americans 3-1 in the third period to pull out a come from behind win to defeat the Amerks, 3-2, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday night.
Mike Zalewski (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1), and Carter Bancks (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman stopped 36 shots in net, including some stellar saves to keep the Comets within striking distance early.
The Amerks were able to find the back of the net first just 5:16 into the opening period. Justin Bailey intercepted a Comets pass in front of the Utica net, spun, and fired a wrist shot past the stick of Bachman for the 1-0 lead.
Utica kept the puck in the Rochester zone for a lot of the second period, but couldn’t find a way to get it past Linus Ullmark despite some good chances, and allowed the Amerks to bring their 1-0 lead into the third period.
The Comets started the third period on the penalty kill but came out firing on all cylinders, and scored a short-handed goal just 21 seconds in. Zalewski received a pass from Friesen, made a move towards the slot to beat a defender, and buried a wrist shot to the glove side of Ullmark in his first game back from an upper body injury.
Rochester took the lead back after back-to-back holding penalties were called on the Comets just 29 seconds apart. While on a three-on-five disadvantage, Chad Ruhwedel sent a pass to Matt Ellis, who brought the puck to the front of the net and finished off a backhander for a 2-1 Amerks lead.
Utica didn’t go away easily tying the game again with 9:15 remaining in the third. Grenier stole the puck from an Amerks defender behind the net, took it to the front of the net, and squeezed a shot past Ullmark for his 14th goal of the season.
The Comets took their first lead of the game with just 55.5 seconds to play in the third period. Hensick controlled the puck at the point, slid a pass to Shields who was stationed at the right point. Shields put a shot on net that Ullmark turned aside. After a scramble in front of the net, Bancks was able to punch it in to give the Comets a big 3-2 win.
The Comets had a total of 36 shots on goal, while the Amerks finished with 27 shots. Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in goal for Rochester.
With the win, the Comets improve to 33-23-7-4, while the Rochester loss drops the Amerks 32-32-2-1.
The Comets will stay at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday, as they welcome the Springfield Falcons to town. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.