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Amerks eclipse Comets at home

By: Matt Hanes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Amerks ended their only three-in-three weekend of the season against the very hot Utica Comets. The Amerks were able to cool the Comets down at Blue Cross Arena with a close 3-2 win.

#81 Brett Murray celebrating his goal on March 10, 2024. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

After two previous games against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday and Saturday, the Amerks were looking to end the packed weekend with a win under their belts. The Amerks came out fierce in the first period of the game, with breakaways from both Jiri Kulich and Brett Murray showing that they can handle a third game in 72 hours.

The Amerks were able to capitalize late in the first with a goal from Viktor Neuchev after Brandon Biro was able to set him up with a perfect shot. After a Comets' penalty, Amerks forward Brett Murray was able to rebound a shot in from newly acquired defenseman Calle Själin, giving them a very familiar 2-0 lead going into the second period.

Själin was traded to the Amerks this past Friday, being included in a package deal that sent Buffalo Sabres' captain Kyle Okposo to the Florida Panthers.

"I didn't expect it," Själin said. "I was glad it happened because I couldn't get an opportunity. I'm glad this came up and it worked out, I'm grateful."

#5 Calle Själin set up on defense against the Comets on March 10, 2024. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

The momentum for the Amerks came to an abrupt halt in the second period as the Comets outshot them 20-to-4. The Comets were able to pot two goals in against Amerks goalie Devon Levi despite his best efforts. Levi made important saves left and right throughout the second period, killing two power plays on the night.

The Amerks power play offense has been a frequent discussion amongst the team, trying to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. The Amerks special teams tonight were on fire with two penalties completely killed and a power play goal as they seem to find their footing towards the end of the season.

"We scored on the only power play we got," Amerks forward Isak Rosen said. "We've been talking about special teams now when it's getting tight in the standings and there's not a lot of games left. It's so important with special teams and it's great that we got that goal today."

#18 Isak Rosen on high alert against the Comets on March 10, 2024. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

After countless stops in the second quarter, Amerks forward Brendan Warren was able to rifle in a one-timer goal just 45 seconds after the Comets' second goal after an assist from both Mason Jobst and Justin Richards.

The Amerks rode the slight momentum swing from the end of the second period into the third, applying constant pressure in the Comets' zone to try and find a game-winning goal. After some solid back-and-forth shots from both teams, time was fighting against the Comets as they called a timeout with 1:50 left on the clock.

They began their final push with a pulled goalie, however, Levi was able to make two extremely clutch saves to have the game end in a regulation win for the Amerks. A big sigh of relief for them as they gain two crucial points.

"It's challenging and at times it's really demanding but it also makes you better individually and collectively," Amerks head coach Seth Appert said. "To get two points is huge, but to not give up one by getting to overtime to a team that's behind is critical."

#27 Devon Levi drinking water during a break in the game on March 10, 2024. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann

The Amerks improve to 27-21-6-2 with 62 points on the season. Their next matchup will find them facing off against the Syracuse Crunch again on the road, looking to get their revenge against a divisional rival in the Upstate Medical Arena. The puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13.

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