A big week for the Rochester Americans got off to a rough start Wednesday night at Blue Cross Arena.
Facing their two closest rivals in the North Division of the American Hockey League in three games this week, the second-place Amerks fell to the third-place Utica Comets, 3-1. Utica is now only two points behind the Amerks.
Rochester has two games ahead at first-place Belleville on Friday and Saturday.
Sven Baertschi’s 13th goal of the season snapped a 1-1 tie at 14:58 of the third period and sent the Comets on to victory. Carter Camper and Ashton Sautner assisted.
Williamsville native Justin Bailey, a former Buffalo Sabre and Amerk, assisted on Tyler Graovac’s empty-net goal with a minute left in regulation that sealed the victory.
Utica scored in the opening period with Stefan LeBlanc getting his second of the season at 15:53 with John Stevens assisting.
Taylor Leier’s ninth of the season tied it for on the power play at 5:43 of the second period. Jean-Sebastien Dea had his 22nd assist and Jacob Bryson his 20th on Leier’s goal.
Rochester outshot the Comets, 37-27, for the game including a 17-8 margin in the second period.
Michael DiPietro had 36 saves in goal for Utica. Andrew Hammond had 24 for
The Amerks are 3-3 with an overtime loss against Utica this season.