Amerks Tie Game Late in Third Period, Go 3-3 in Shoutout in 4-3 Win over Comets
Jack Quinn was impressive in his AHL debut Thursday night. (Photo By The Rochester Americans)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. --- It was a penalty-ridden Thursday night from the Blue Cross Arena as the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets had ten penalties combined. But the Amerks hunkered down, going 3-3 in the shootout to secure a 4-3 win over Utica in the second of fourteen matchups between the two teams.
The first period was a long one for goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. After having 43 saves in Rochester's 7-3 win over Cleveland last Friday, Luukkonen continued his brick wall attitude. The 21-year-old saved14 shots in the opening frame and head coach Seth Appert said his goaltender was the main reason the teams stayed deadlocked at zero after one.
"The fact that we got out of that first period even was a real credit to Luukonen and then we started playing better," Appert said.
Coming into the second period, Rochester had the momentum swing. But the Comets started the scoring, as Lucas Jasek netted his first of the season on the power-play to give Utica a 1-0 lead.
With time ticking down in the period, Utica looked to have all the momentum. But Jean-Sebastien Dea had other plans, scoring his third goal of the season on the power-play with 0:57 to go in the period to knot the game at one.
Rochester outshot the Comets 10-8 in the second period and used the momentum to come out swinging in the third.
Just 0:16 into the third, Remi Elie lit the lamp for his third of the year off passes from Dea and Jacob Bryson, giving the Amerks a 2-1 lead.
But the lead quickly dissipated, as Utica netted back-to-back power-play goals less than two minutes apart to take a 3-2 lead. It was unfamiliar territory for the Americans on their penalty kill struggles. Rochester came into the night 8th in the AHL in penalty kill (84.6%).
After Utica's go-ahead goal with 12:20 to go, things looked tough for the Americans to recover. However, Steven Fogarty had other plans.
On Rochester's third power-play of the night, Fogarty tapped in the wrister from Oskari Laaksonen, tying the game at three with 5:55 to go. It was also a milestone play for Jack Quinn, as he recorded the secondary assist for his first point in a professional hockey game.
With the back and forth momentum swing, neither team could score the go-ahead goal in regulation. With 5:00 minutes added to the clock for overtime, the game could have had a heart-wrenching finish. But after both teams mustered only one shot each in 5:00 of free hockey, it was time for the first shootout session of the season for the Amerks.
Rochester elected to go first and C.J. Smith made sure the decision was well worth it, as he buried a shot past Utica goalie Jon Gillies to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.
Utica's Kole Lind tried to match on the other end, but Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen was having none of it.
But there was a little surprise for the second shootout shot taker: Jack Quinn. And in the pressure-filled situation, Quinn handled it like a veteran, pulling a slick double move on Jon Gillies to take a 2-0 lead.
With their backs against the wall, Utica's Sam Anas pulled a nifty move on Pekka-Luukkonen to put the deficit at 2-1. But with the pressure on, seven-year veteran Jean-Sebastien Dea hunkered down, sliding the third attempt in to secure the win for Rochester.
While the Amerks won, the buzz was on the performance of rookie Jack Quinn. However, Jean-Sebastien Dea said postgame that he talked to Quinn leading up to the game and he sees a star in the making.
"I tried to talk with him as much as possible during the week. He played great, and I think he is going to be a very good player. He has a very bright future ahead of him," Dea said.
Meanwhile, Quinn said his comfort level increased dramatically throughout the game.
"It grew a lot. I think that kind of sums up my game. It was a bit of a wake-up call for me in the first period. But I got a lot better as the game went on," Quinn said.
With the win, Rochester is now 3-1 on the season. They hit the road for a three-game trip starting Saturday against the Syracuse Crunch, looking to extend their win streak to four-straight.