COMETS PREP FOR MUST WIN GAME FOUR TUESDAY

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May 16, 2022

Season on the brink: Tuesday night, the Utica Comets will face the Rochester Americans to keep their season alive. Rochester won back-to-back overtime games to take a 2-1 series lead. The puck drop is at 7:05 a.m. at Blue Cross Arena.

Post-game quotes Courtesy of Rome Sentinel.

Schmelzer on Game 3: “I thought we were just grinding. They kind of brought it to us and we were in survival mode instead of attack mode, which makes us great. There were times when we had it. It wasn’t enough. We’ve shown it all year: every time we’ve come down, we always answer. Now we really have to answer the bell.”

Dinner on the match and late penalty: “We are regrouping and getting ready to come back here. We have to take care of business. We know the formula. We have to go out and run. The power play goal is a little spicy at the end. Probably, if they had changed after watching it, they wouldn’t have made that call. It was one-on-one. It was two heads colliding. It’s not intentional. It’s two guys walking into a puck and their heads collided. Our guy had movement and that’s the difference.

Playoff leaders: The team is led by forward AJ Greer who has four goals and one assist for five points in three games played. Behind him are defenseman Robbie Russo who had two goals and two assists for four points in three games and forward Fabian Zetterlund who had one goal and three assists for four points in three games. Defender Nikita Okhotiuk has three assists in as many games. Both Okhotiuk and Russo are a +3 leading team in the series while forward Sam Laberge leads the team with 19 penalty minutes.

Sunday Scaries: The Comets entered Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena tied in a five-game head-to-head series with the Rochester Americans. The crucial third game would put a team on the brink of elimination on Tuesday night. When the dust settled on the game of the night, it took an early Rochester goal in overtime to put the Comets’ season on the brink. The Comets lost the contest 4-3 and are now trailing two games to one in the best of five game series.

During the first period, Greer was the first to hit the back of the net as he moved quickly into the Rochester area. His initial shot was stopped, but he kept pushing and slipped a backhand shot through the legs of Rochester goalkeeper Aaron Dell. The goal at 7:34 was Greer’s 4and of the playoffs while Robbie Russo and Fabian Zetterlund generated assists on the count. Rochester got the crowd back in the game when Sean Malone scored the goal and rebounded a Jimmy Schuldt shot at 2:36 that beat a Schmid diving. It took just two minutes and eleven seconds after their first goal to score another. Lukas Rousek stood on the right side of the Comets net and took a fine pass from JJ Peterka to give a 2-1 lead. That was the whole score of the first period.

The Comets tied the game in the second period, and it was on a rocket of a one-timer from Fabian Zetterlund that interjected into a pass from Russo and found the top corner of the net at 9:32. The Comets bench burst when the Swede scored his first goal of the playoffs. The Americans showed resilience when Brandon Biro scored 15:22. Graeme Clarke scored his first of the playoffs and he drove the net and Dell thought he had stopped the puck but it rested in the blue paint. An unconscious Jack Quinn, trying to find the puck, threw it into his own net and the Comets tied the game at 3-3.

In the final period there were no goals but a late penalty against Robbie Russo sent the Comets to the penalty box late in the third. The power play continued into the extra session and it was a right side shot from Arttu Ruotsalainen at 1:39 that beat Schmid and put Rochester in the series two games to one.

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