Amerks fall to Utica on Friday Night
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (2-1-0-0) suffered their first loss of the 2017-18 season Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena by falling 2-0 to the Utica Comets (1-2-0-0).
Third-year forward Nick Baptiste and Brendan Guhle combined for 13 of the team’s 33 shots while netminder Linus Ullmark stopped 28 of 30 but suffered his first loss of the young season.
The Comets were led offensively by Reid Boucher as the five-year pro collected a pair of assists to give him a league-leading five through the first three games. Nikolay Goldobin and Patrick Wiercioch each scored in the victory, while goaltender Thatcher Demko recorded his third-career shutout and first win of the 2017-18 season after making 33 saves.
The Comets opened the scoring just 46 seconds into the first period, as Boucher picked the pocket of Ullmark after the netminder stopped a traveling puck behind his own net. After collecting the puck, Boucher centered a pass to Goldobin, who had a wide-open net for the tap-in.
“We were not ready from the start,” said Amerks team captain Kevin Porter. “The rest leadership group and I will take full responsibly for that. Giving Utica credit, they came out hard and out-worked us during the first five minutes and we could not dig ourselves out of it.”
With the Amerks trailing 1-0 after the first intermission, Rochester came out in the second period firing nearly a shot per minute as they finished with 19 but could not find a way to spoil Demko’s shutout bid.
“We were better during the second period but in this league when you get down a pair of goals it is hard to come back,” Baptiste said. “We have two wins out of the first three games but need to continue to improve our game, and with a week before our next game, we will certainly do that.”
While the Amerks were unable to tie the game, Utica doubled its lead with Wiercioch’s first tally of slate seven minutes into the period to cap the scoring in the middle stanza.
The Amerks, who were looking for their first three-game winning streak to begin a season since the 2006-07, continued to push during the final period and pulled Ullmark with 55 seconds, but the Comets would escape with a 2-0 win for their first of the campaign.