It took a late goal, a white-knuckle overtime period and a six-round shootout, but Rochester emerged victorious over Utica, 3-2, at the Blue Cross Arena Friday night.
Tayor Leier, acquired Jan. 17 from Philadelphia for Justin Bailey, netted the winning goal in the final round of the shootout.
Danny O’Regan and Matt Tennyson both scored for Rochester, which improves to 26-13-2-1 and remains in first place in the North division.
Reid Boucher tallied both of Utica’s goals.
Rochester found themselves down early in the second period after Boucher got his first goal of the night past Amerks’ goalie Jonas Johansson.
It could have been worse; Utica had goals stopped by the pipes twice before that, but only managed a 1-0 lead going into the third.
Rochester had outshot the Comets, 31-25, by that point but none of them hit paydirt until O’Regan’s 17th goal of the season found its way home.
The celebrations did not last; Utica regained its slim lead just 1:40 after Rochester’s goal.
With 2:16 left, coach Chris Taylor called a timeout and put an extra attacker on the ice. The move paid off; Tennyson tied the game at two goals apiece with 1:44 left in regulation.
The Amerks turned up the intensity in the 3 on 3 extra period, barely allowing Utica any time with the puck, but Comets’ goalie Ivan Kulbakov did not bend.
He finished the game with a career-high 48 saves.
Rochester will embark on a three-game road trip starting tonight when the Amerks take on the Syracuse Crunch in Syracuse at 7 p.m.