Amerks erase third period deficit to advance in Calder Cup Playoffs past Utica

West Seneca native Sean Malone nets the game-winner for Rochester
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(WGR 550) – In Game 4 against the Utica Comets, the Rochester Americans had their worst game of the playoffs. But one of the things we’ve seen from this team is they don’t let a bad shift or a bad game get them down.

The Amerks went to Utica on Thursday for the fifth and deciding game of their series, and came back from a 2-1 third period deficit to beat the Comets, 4-2. It finished off a huge upset of the first place team in the North Division, and sets up a five-game series with the third place Laval Rocket.

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Rochester took the lead early on Casey Fitzgerald’s point shot, but it didn’t last long as Utica tied it just 1:22 later. Just 49 seconds after that, Aaron Dell gave up another one to Alexander Holtz, but after that, Dell slammed the door for the final 48:39, making 19 saves. The Amerks were very stingy on defense after allowing numerous outnumbered rushes in Game 4.

One of the biggest things that I took away from this Utica team is how dumb they are.

Tyce Thompson took a slashing penalty early in the third, and Arttu Ruotsalainen ripped home his eighth goal in seven playoff games from his office, the right faceoff circle. Peyton Krebs got an assist giving him nine assists in seven playoff games.

Sean Malone has been a valuable veteran to this team all season long, and he came up big in the biggest moment. Malone’s shot from distance eluded Nico Daws, as it was a shot the Comets goalie definitely would want back.

Daws finished the playoffs with a 2-2 record, a 3.01 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage.

Another key veteran put the series on ice, as Mark Jankowski scored into the empty to give Rochester a two-goal lead.

Ruotsalainen leads the AHL in scoring with 11 points in seven games. Krebs' nine assists also leads the AHL.

Some other Amerks are also getting on the board regularly. Lukas Rousek has six points in seven games, and Fitzgerald has seven points in seven games, and 10 points in the eight games he’s played since coming down from the Buffalo Sabres.

JJ Peterka is also showing very well with nine points in seven games.

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The Amerks open their North Division Final round on the road against the Rocket on Sunday and Monday. Rochester is 3-1 away from home in the playoffs, and 2-1 at home. Game 3 is in Rochester on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:05 p.m. ET. If Game 4 is necessary, it’ll also be in Rochester on Friday, May 27.

The rest of the Calder Cup Playoffs is set, as the Atlantic Division Final will feature the Springfield Thunderbirds against the Charlotte Checkers. The Central Division Final has the AHL’s top seed, Chicago Wolves, against the Milwaukee Admirals. Finally in the Pacific Division Final, it’s the Stockton Heat facing off against the Colorado Eagles.

***Photo: Micheline Michaelina (@MiMiV4682)

Photo credit Losi and Gangi