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Smith's goal completes Amerks comeback, 3-2 over Utica in overtime

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(Utica, NY) … The Rochester Americans (16-6-3-3) trailed 2-0 late in the third period Saturday night against Utica Comets (11-11-4-1) at the Adirondack Bank Center. However, the Amerks scored a pair of goals to force overtime before rookie C.J. Smith completed the come-from-behind win just 17 seconds into the extra frame to lift Rochester to a 3-2 win.

With the overtime victory, Rochester has notched points in 17 of its last 19 games and 30 points since Nov. 1 while improving to 8-1-3-2 in 14 games away from The Blue Cross Arena on the season. The Amerks remain the only AHL team on the campaign with one regulation loss on the road this season.

After being held off the scoresheet last night, Smith led the Amerks with his team-leading 10th goal of the season and a pair of assists. The rookie is ranked third overall in the AHL with 30 points through 28 games and became the first Rochester skater this season to reach double digits in goals. Kyle Criscuolo also had two assists while Sahir Gill, who scored his career-high seventh goal of the season, and Nick Baptiste rounded out the scoring. Goaltender Adam Wilcox made 31 saves to earn his second straight win and third in his last four appearances dating back to Nov. 25.

Michael Carcone and Cole Cassels each notched their first multi-point outings of the season as they each recorded a goal and an assist while netminder Richard Bachman stopped 27 of 30 but took the loss in overtime.

Trailing 2-0 with under eight minutes left in regulation, the Amerks drew their sixth power-play of the night as the Comets were called for a slashing penalty.

Utica held Rochester without a shot during the first minute of the infraction, but with 59 seconds remaining on the penalty, Smith centered a pass to Gill from the left of the Comets cage. As he was parked in front of the blue paint, Gill converted on the man-advantage to make it a 2-1 game with 6:33 to play in regulation.

Rochester continued to ride its own momentum and was rewarded less than four minutes after Gill’s seventh goal of the season. Similar to Gill’s goal, Baptiste flicked in a loose puck past the blocker of Bachman to knot the game at 2-2 with 2:52 left to set up the overtime period.

On the opening shift of overtime, Smith received a long stretch pass from Criscuolo at center ice and snuck behind the pinching Comets defenseman. The rookie raced in towards Bachman from just beyond Utica’s blueline all alone and slipped a backhanded shot between the leg and the left post of the goaltender to give the Amerks a 3-2 overtime-win.

The Amerks had erased a 2-0 Comets lead as Utica scored the first two goals of the game with Carcone’s fourth goal of the season at the 7:16 mark of the middle frame and Cassels’ first marker of the season 4:51 into the third period.

Rochester returns home on Wednesday, Dec. 20 when the Belleville Senators make their inaugural visit to The Blue Cross Arena. Following the 7:05 p.m. contest with the Senators, the Amerks will travel north of the border for back-to-back meetings with the Laval Rocket prior to heading into the Christmas break. All the action can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.

Goal Scorers

RCH: Gill (7), Baptiste (5), C. Smith (10 OT GWG)

UTI: Carcone (4), Cassels (1)

Goaltenders

RCH: Wilcox – 31/33 (W)

UTI: Bachman – 27/30 (OTL)

Shots

RCH: 30

UTI: 33

Special Teams

RCH: PP (1/6) | PK (3/3)

UTI: PP (0/3) | PK (5/6)

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