Late penalties interrupted Rochester’s comeback bid as the Amerks were defeated Saturday night by the Utica Comets, 4-3.
CJ Smith, Eric Cornel and Justin Bailey each scored for the Americans, now 20-11-2. Winger Alex Nylander missed the game with an upper body injury. sustained against Toronto Friday.
Utica opened the scoring early in the first period on a goal by Vincent Arseneau, his second of the season.
The Comets doubled their lead minutes later to put Rochester in a 2-0 hole.
The Amerks were able to cut the lead in half on Smith’s 13th goal of the season, and the team’s third-straight goal while on a power play.
After a scoreless second period, Cornel’s goal tied the game at two to open the third.
Penalties began to take their toll on Rochester’s offense; Zach Redmond was sent to the box for tripping seven minutes into the third, and Wayne Simpson was charged with high-sticking.
While the Amerks killed the penalties, it stopped any momentum the visitors had, and left them unable to respond when Utica scored its third goal of the game.
The third crucial penalty charged to Rochester was a tripping penalty on Smith with 1:09 to spare. It allowed the Comets to add an insurance goal and take a 4-2 lead.
Bailey scored with 10 seconds to spare to make the game 4-3, but it was too little, too late.
Rochester will be back in the new year Wednesday for a 7:05 p.m. game at Blue Cross Arena against Bridgeport.