UTICA, N.Y.- It was another strong effort from the Utica Comets, but the score did not fall in their favor, as they lost to the Rochester Americans for the third time this season, this one by a score of 4-2. The Comets outshot Rochester 35-30, but the loss ends the team’s two game winning streak that started in Lake Erie last weekend. Benn Ferriero led the way with his first two goal game of the season, but the Comets once again could not overcome a first period deficit as they fell to 2-9-1-1.
Ferriero’s two goals moved him into sole possession of the team lead with six, while Pascal Pelletier extended his team leading point total to 11 with an assist on Ferriero’s second tally. Colin Stuart, Patrick Mullen and Nicklas Jensen found the scoresheet as well as they each netted an assist. Joacim Eriksson got the start for Utica, but was relieved by Joe Cannata after the third Rochester goal. Cannata made 14 saves on 15 shots, while Eriksson finished with 12 saves on 15 shots faced.
It was a fast start from the Americans when they struck first as Rochester captain Matt Ellis streaked down the right wing and beat Eriksson over the glove hand. Winger Patrick Kaleta picked up his second assist of the season on the play.
The Americans doubled their lead at the 12:31 mark as Luke Adam capitalized on the powerplay, just eight seconds into a Benn Ferriero slashing minor. Adam collected the puck, put it through a scrum in front and got it past Eriksson. Nick Crawford and Brayden McNabb picked up assists, the twelfth of the season for McNabb, which moved him into a tie for fourth amongst AHL blueliners.
The Comets pulled one back with under four minutes to play in the period, courtesy of a great effort from Ferriero. The winger picked off a cross ice pass in the attacking zone and fired a wrist shot past Rochester netminder Nathan Lieuwen. Patrick Mullen and Colin Stuart picked up the assists as the Comets went to the locker room down just 2-1.
Adam was again the beneficiary of a mess in front of the net as he was able to poke home his second of the game and league high thirteenth of the season. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc had an assist on the play, his fourth over three games against Utica this season. Cannata entered the game in relief of Eriksson after Adam’s goal, his first appearance since Nov. 1 against the Abbotsford Heat.
The Comets used a great defensive effort to kill off a Colin Stuart tripping minor but the Americans scored just 41 seconds later as Mike Zigomanis buried a nice feed from Joel Armia to put Rochester ahead 4-1. The point was the first of Armia’s AHL career and winger Kevin Sundher also picked up a helper on the play.
The Comets added a late tally as Ferriero found the back of the net for the second time on the evening with 1:09 to play. The goal, the first power-play marker of the evening, cut the deficit to 4-2 but the Comets could not draw any closer as they dropped their seventh straight on home ice.