The Comets fly through Rochester
Updated: Nov 9
By: Liam Hoffmann
ROCHESTER, NY--- Tonight, the Rochester Amerks fell in overtime to the Utica Comets by a score of 4-3. Despite Rochester rattling off 32 shots on goal to just 20 by Utica, the offensive effort led off by Matt Savoie's first period goal was not enough to bounce back following a loss to Syracuse on Wednesday.
Early in the game, the puck lived on Utica's side of the ice. The first two minutes saw lots of Amerks offense however only a single shot on goal. Through four minutes, the Comets were shotless. Daniil Misyul was booked for an interference five minutes into the game which enabled an Ethan Prow slap shot attempt that came up empty. Shorthanded, Shane Bowers scores on a breakaway to give Utica the early advantage.
Making his season debut in goal for Rochester tonight was AHL veteran Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski is the eighteenth goalie in the history of the AHL to play 400 career contests, which includes two Calder Cup wins. Across the ice in goal for Utica was Isaac Poulter.
Despite the loss, Amerks head coach Seth Appert was complimentary of Tokarski's performance after the game.
"His stats won't look good, but I loved him. We played really good team defense tonight but he helped in that because he played the puck well. He's very calm, and he's a calming presence for a young team," Appert had to say.
After Bowers' score, the speed of Rochester fully came into display. However, mishandling of the puck which permeated throughout the night for both sides set up a number of good looks for the Utica offense in period one.
The next score, though, came from Rochester's Mr. Consistency over the past week and a half in Savoie. Savoie has recorded points in each of his five games played with the club this year. The goal came off of a redirect from a Kale Clague shot from the point. The two first period goals would be the last ones seen for another 28 minutes of play. Savoie was asked about his recent offensive production after the game.
"Whatever level I'm at, I'm trying to help offensively and, you know, produce points and be a driver on the offensive side. You know, in my limited time here, I feel like I've done a good job of that; being hard on pucks, forcing turnovers, sitting on my teammates, and bearing the chances that I get," Savoie explained.
Jiri Kulich and Max Willman both rode penalties out of period one, seeing both sides begin period two shorthanded. Chase Stillman was called for a charging just over halfway into the period as well. Rochester failed to capitalize on any power play opportunities throughout the night. Appert commented on this after the game.
"The power play, these have been the first two games of the season that they've looked poor...just get back to basics. Win puck battles, better puck movement, shots on net," Appert said.
Through the first three and a half minutes of that period, the Amerks had eleven shots on goal compared to Utica's six. Many Amerks shot attempts were finding the gloves of Poulter. The offense of Rochester generated a number of good looks in the final third of the period with the youthful line of Savoie, Kulich, and Isak Rosen leading the charge. These included a Kulich opportunity off the rush and Rosen nearly sneaking one in before Poulter was able to twist back and prevent the go-ahead score.
To open up the third period scoring frenzy, Max Wilman converted a wrist shot goal off the rush 39 seconds in. He crossed the face of Tokarski before scoring that go-ahead attempt.
Hard work offensively by the Amerks paid off in the form of a pair of goals just around halfway through the final period from Kulich and Mason Jobst. A scrappy play by Jobst allowed him to find the back of the net, and 41 seconds later Kulich kept the ball rolling off a one timer with another goal to make the score 3-2 with Rochester out in front.
With under four minutes left in regulation, Tyler Wotherspoon makes a shot from the point to once again make it all even. Two goals a piece in period three meant yet another contest for Rochester that required overtime to decide a victor.
It didn't take long, however, to decide that victor as after just 45 extra seconds Xavier Parent won it for the Comets. Up next for Utica is a home affair against the Hartford Wolf Pack tomorrow at 7pm. The Amerks have a short road trip tomorrow to Syracuse where they will face the Crunch also at 7pm.