Lockwood lifts Comets to wild 7-5 AHL victory over Americans

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ROCHESTER — Will Lockwood seems to have figured out scoring in the American Hockey League. The first-year pro got his first goal in the Utica Comets’ 3-0 win Wednesday over the Binghamton Devils, and added two more Friday in a 7-5 win on the road against the Rochester Americans.

Hugh McGing got the Comets on the board first, a power play goal 6:40 into the game with assists from Curtis McKenzie and Carson Focht.

Lockwood got the team’s second goal with 1:25 left in the first, with an assist from John Stevens.

The Comets built the lead to three goals on a second power play goal. Sam Anas, who leads the team in assists, got his first goal of the season and first as a Comet 6:33 into the middle frame. Mitch Reinke and Sven Bärtschi each earned an assist. It was Bärtschi’s first game back after missing three in a row with an injury.

Rochester got its own power play goal to make the score 3-1 in favor of Utica. Brett Murray scored at 10:13 of the second. Jake Kielly stopped Murray’s semi-breakaway right after the next faceoff to maintain the two-goal lead.

Lockwood struck again with 5:39 left in the second, this time unassisted, to make it 4-1 Utica.

The teams traded goals during the same Utica power play. First, with 4:31 left in the second, it was a shorthanded goal by Brendan Warren that started when Kielly had trouble handling a pass. The Comets got the goal back 50 seconds later with the power play still in effect. Focht scored with assists to Nolan Stevens and Jonah Gadjovich.

The goals kept coming with Rochester’s Michael Mersch scoring with 2:22 left in a busy second period. The Comets would take a 5-3 lead into the second intermission.

Just over four minutes into the third, Anas struck again, this time on a shot accidentally tipped by a Rochester defender that redirected through the legs of Amerks goalie Billy Christopoulos. Josh Teves earned an assist on the goal that made it 6-3 Comets.

The Amerks cut the lead to two with a power play goal by Dominic Franco with 3:08 left in regulation. But an empty net goal by John Stevens gave Utica a 7-4 lead with 2:07 left in the game. Rochester answered again, a power play tally by Mersch with 1:20 left to make it 7-5, but that was how it would end.

Kielly made 24 saves in the win in net for Utica.

The Comets improve to 10-6-1. They have a matinee at 3 p.m. on the road Sunday against the Syracuse Crunch.

Comets get reinforcements

The Comets were sent two players, according to AHL transactions. Defenseman Guillaume Brisebois was sent down from the Vancouver Canucks’ taxi squad. The St. Louis Blues assigned center Nikita Alexandrov to the team from Finland.

Alexandrov was assigned to Utica from KooKoo Kuovola in Finland. He was drafted in the second round (62nd overall) in the 2019 draft.

Brisebois played for the Comets from 2017 through last season, logging 165 games with the team. He was on loan to the Laval Rocket earlier this season for nine games.

Neither were in uniform Friday for the Comets.

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