Utica, NY – The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans by a score of 5-3 on Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The win was the Comets’ eighth straight win on home ice.
Kyle Bonis opened the scoring just four minutes into the game, beating Thatcher Demko low glove side for his ninth of the year. Joseph LaBate evened the game just two and a half minutes later with a long drive from behind the blue line that squeaked through the arm of Jonas Johansson for his fifth goal of the year.
Jake Virtanen gave the Comets a 2-1 lead on the power play with 2:20 to go in the second frame for his eighth of the year. Evan McEneny and Demko picked up the assists on the only goal of the period.
Carter Bancks extended the lead 17 second into the third period. The forward found a loose puck from a scrum in front of the net to bury his 10th of the year. Wacey Hamilton and LaBate picked up the assists. Virtanen struck again a minute and a half later to give the Comets a 4-1 lead. Valk tallied the assist on Virtanen’s 10th of the year. With three minutes remaining, Bonis netted his second of the game, scoring on a one-timer shot from Alex Nylander for his 10th of the year. Rochester continued to close the gap with 48 seconds left. Cole Schneider scored a shorthanded goal for his 21st of the year on a breakaway. With Johansson pulled for the extra attacker, Darren Archibald sealed the game with an empty netter for his 22nd goal of the year. This tied a team record for goals in a single season.
The Comets power play went 2-6, while the penalty kill did not allow a goal in two attempts. Demko finished with 20 saves to improve his record to 20-14-4 on the year. Johansson made 22 saves and his record falls to 1-1-0 on the season.
The Comets return to action Sunday afternoon against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puck drops at 3:05 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.
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