Comets rally comes up short against Amerks

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ROCHESTER — The Utica Comets fell behind 7-2 on the road against the Rochester Americans Wednesday night, but a late rally ended one goal short as they lost 7-6.

It was the first time this season the North Division-leading Comets lost back-to-back games in regulation.

The Comets allowed a goal 57 seconds into the game when a rebound off the pad of netminder Mareks Mittens was sent home by Mason Jobst to put Rochester up 1-0. The Americans followed up with a goal by Matej Pekar, who split the defense and made a move around Mittens at 1:50 to give Rochester a 2-0 lead. Rochester extended its lead on a power play goal scored by Brandon Biro at 8:59 as his shot drifted through traffic and in.

Utica captain Ryan Schmelzer found a loose puck inside the Utica zone and skated off for a breakaway short-handed goal at 11:33. The Comets hit once more in the first to cut the deficit to 3-2 when Tyler Irvine deflected the shot by Michael Vukojevic at 14:38 for his first AHL goal. With 40 seconds left in the period, Rochester scored another power play goal, this one by Arttu Ruotsalainen.

Ruotsalainen scored again at 6:26 putting Rochester up 5-2. Former Comets defenseman Mitch Eliot added a goal at 7:02 lifting the Americans to a 6-2 lead. Jack Quinn scored on a one-timer during a power play at 11:27 and it was 7-2. Utica struck on a Robbie Russo point shot that beat Americans goalie Mat Robson through traffic at 14:36 to cut the gap down to 7-3 as the second period ended.

In the final period of regulation, Vukojevic left the penalty box and deflected a Samuel Laberge shot into the goal at 9:48. Schmelzer added another goal at 14:16 of the third to give the Comets their fifth goal. At 16:06 Tyler Wotherspoon fired a shot past Robson to close the gap to 7-6.

But Utica couldn’t find one more to tie the game.

The Comets’ lead in the North shrunk to three points over Rochester, which is in second. Utica is now 19-4-3.

The Comets return to action Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center for another division rivalry game against the Syracuse Crunch at 7.

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