The Utica Comets had their three-game home winning streak snapped Wednesday night and suffered a 2-1 setback at the hands of the Rochester Americans. It was the second consecutive defeat for the Comets, dropping their record to 7-11-1-0.
Evan McEneny (1-0-1) notched his first career American Hockey League goal, while Curtis Valk (0-1-1) and Jake Virtanen (0-1-1) also tallied one point apiece. Goaltender Thatcher Demko saw his personal four-game winning streak come to an end with a 19-save effort.
A scoreless first period saw a slew of penalties on both sides, but all six were successfully killed off. The Comets even managed to hold the Americans without a shot in 5:30 of power play time.
Four minutes into the second stanza, the Americans broke the scoreless tie. After the Comets turned the puck over at their own blue line, Cal O’Reilly connected with Cole Schneider in front who beat Demko with a high backhand shot.
The teams remained traded chances through most of the second period until O’Reilly broke through and extended the lead for the Americans with 27 seconds remaining on a spin-o-rama backhand shot that beat Demko. Schneider and Paul Geiger picked up the assists as the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
The Comets cut the lead in half just six minutes into the final period. With Geiger in the box for tripping, McEneny found the back of the net on a long shot from the point that trickled past Linus Ullmark. Valk and Virtanen picked up the assists.
After the goal, the Comets cranked up the intensity and continued to dominate the Americans throughout the third period. However, Ullmark and the Americans were able to ride out the Comets’ final push to walk out with the win.
The Comets power play went 1-for-7 on the night, while the penalty kill turned in a perfect effort and allowed no goals in four attempts.
The Comets return to action Friday night as they hit the road to take on the Albany Devils. Faceoff at the Times Union Center is scheduled for 7pm.