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Quick hits: Amerks 3, Comets 2 (OT)

It hasn't been an easy year for Hudson Fasching. His goal sure was simple.

Fasching may never score an easier goal than the one he potted Wednesday night in KeyBank Center. It helped Rochester down Utica, 3-2, in overtime. Cal O'Reilly scored the winner with 24 seconds gone in the extra session.

Just five seconds after Utica opened the scoring, the Amerks won the faceoff and dumped the puck into the Comets' zone. Goaltender Richard Bachman left the net to play it, but the puck hit the glass and bounced to the front.

Fasching pounced to end an eight-game point drought.

"I haven’t had one that easy in a long time," Fasching said. "It was a gift. It really helps get the confidence going. I haven’t had a point in a while. It feels good to get the monkey off my back, even if it is just an empty-netter pretty much."

Slowed by a groin injury nearly all season, Fasching has four goals in 18 games. He got hurt in mid-October and didn't return until January. His game hasn't yet returned to the form that allowed him to make the Buffalo Sabres' opening-night roster.

"It could be better honestly," Fasching said. "I came back and thought I was getting better for a while, then I kind of dropped off. I’m trying to continue to work and get better on my game, get back to those details that made me the player I was and gave me an advantage."

Middle man: Alex Nylander, the Sabres’ No. 1 draft pick last June, is in a small pool of 18-year-olds who have gotten to test their skills in the American Hockey League. The premier minor league is off-limits to North American prospects under age 20 (unless their junior season is over), so very few teenagers get to play.

According to the search tool at EliteProspects.com, there have been 249 18-year-olds in the AHL since 1990. Only 20 have played more than 15 games.

Nylander is 10th – right in the middle – in point production with six goals and 15 assists in 47 games.

"He's 18, and it is going to be a process," coach Dan Lambert said. "He's doing it at his pace. Of course, we always want to get there quicker. Whether it takes him another summer, two, we don't know, but he is a very talented young man."

Since 1990, Róbert Döme is first among 18-year-olds at 1.28 points per game. He’s followed by David Pastrnak (1.12), Jozef Cierny (1.00), William Nylander (.86), Nikita Filatov (.82), Jesse Puljujärvi (.76), Václav Prospal (.64), Nicklas Bergfors (.62), Kevin Fiala (.61) and Alex Nylander (.45).

Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons is 15th at .28.

Familiar faces: Seven of the Amerks’ 12 forwards have played in Buffalo. Cal O’Reilly centered left wing Cole Schneider and right wing Nick Baptiste. Evan Rodrigues skated between Justin Bailey and Nylander. Muzito-Bagenda was in the middle of Fasching and Eric Cornel. Tim Kennedy centered Dupuy and Karabacek.

Three of Rochester’s six defensemen have dressed for the Sabres. Taylor Fedun skated with Erik Burgdoerfer. Tyson Strachan was with Geiger, while Brady Austin paired with Patrick Mullen.

Goaltender Linus Ullmark was in net for the 41st time in Rochester’s 53 games. Utica outshot the Amerks, 39-26.

Tipsy: The Comets opened the scoring with 5:22 left in the first period, and there was nothing Ullmark could do about it. Cody Kunyk reached out to tip Jordan Subban’s point shot, and the puck bounced over Ullmark.

Getting hot: Amerks rookie Vaclav Karabacek scored for the second straight game, giving him three in 20 outings. Jean Dupuy won a puck battle behind the Comets’ net and fed Karabacek out front. The second-round pick in 2014 wasted little time with his one-timer with 8:32 left in the second, giving the Amerks a 2-1 lead.

Comets rebound: Utica tied the game, 2-2, with 4:16 gone in the third period. Ullmark made several close-range stops before Mike Zalewski pounced on a rebound.

Counting the house: Sabres and Amerks season-ticket holders were given seats to the game, but only 2,000 or so occupied them.

Next: The Amerks head back to Rochester to host Syracuse on Friday. Meanwhile, the Sabres return to practice Friday night and end their bye week Saturday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

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