Rochester, NY – The Utica Comets tested Linus Ullmark early and often but lost by a score of 5-2 on Friday night at the Blue Cross Arena.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period with Ullmark making 12 saves and fending off all forms of excellent scoring chances. Thatcher Demko was only tested with six shots, turning them all aside.
Just 2:47 into the second period, Casey Nelson broke open the scoring with his fifth of the season by splitting two defensemen and scoring past Demko’s glove side. Derek Grant and Cole Schneider assisted on the goal. Nick Baptiste deflected a Nelson slap shot for his 23rd of the year to extend the Americans lead at 9:11 of the second stanza. The secondary assist was credited to Tim Kennedy to give the Americans the lead through 40 minutes. Ullmark remained stellar with 27 saves heading into the third period.
The Comets continued to barrage Ullmark with shots during the final 20 minutes. However, Baptiste scored again at 6:32 of the third period with a rebound goal from Justin Vaive and Patrick Mullen. His 24th of the year was scored on the man advantage. 45 seconds later, Justin Bailey scored on a one-timer from Tyson Strachan for his 20th of the season. Following the score, Demko was pulled for Michael Garteig. One minute later, Pascal Pelletier scored on a one-timer from Michael Carcone and Alexandre Grenier for his 10th of the year. The Comets were awarded a power play late in the game and pulled Garteig for the extra attacker. Brady Austin scored in the empty net for his third of the season at 15:47 of the final period. With 15 seconds left, Jordan Subban fired a slap shot past Ullmark to end the scoring. The Comets ended the period with 26 shots, the most in Comets history in a single period. The 53 shots were a season-high for the Comets.
Demko took the loss with 16 saves in 47:17 played moving his record to 19-14-4. Garteig competed in 11:41 making a save on the only shot he saw. Ullmark made 51 saves to send his record to 25-26-2. The Comets finished 0-4 on the power play and killed two of three penalties.
The Comets are back at the AUD Saturday night for a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Americans. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live. Fans are encouraged to utilize the StubHub! ticket exchange website for seats to the game.
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