With a 4-2 win over the Utica Comets on Thursday night, the AHL’s Rochester Americans captured the series and moved onto the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Casey Fitzgerald, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Sean Malone & Mark Jankowski scored in the win. Aaron Dell made 19 saves on 21 shots faced.
Thursday’s game started off fairly even between the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils farm teams, but it was Rochester’s Fitzgerald opening the scoring near the midway point of the first period off a wrister from the point:
GOAL! Casey Fitzgerald makes it 1-0 on a wrister from the point. pic.twitter.com/C6XlaNy7lP— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) May 19, 2022
The lead lasted only 1:22, however, as Fabian Zetterlund quickly tied the game for Utica. Alexander Holtz gave the Comets the lead less than a minute later.
After a scoreless second period, the Amerks knew they had some work to do heading into the final frame - and what could’ve been the last period of their season. When they got an early power play, Ruotsalainen wasted no time capitalizing from his favorite spot:
ARTTU TIES IT ON THE POWER PLAY! pic.twitter.com/4PFBKXfT6G— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) May 20, 2022
It took just 2:24 after Ruotsalainen’s tying goal for Sean Malone to give the Amerks their lead back. It was his second goal of the playoffs:
SEAN MALONE GIVES THE AMERKS A 3-2 LEAD!! pic.twitter.com/KGMt5W5ql1— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) May 20, 2022
Mark Jankowski sealed the win with a 200-foot shot on the empty net with 1:01 to play. The Amerks outshot the Comets 28-21, including 12-7 in the third period. They also did a good job of staying out of the box, not giving Utica a power play all night.
Next up for the Amerks: a best-of-five series with the Laval Rocket. Here’s the schedule:
Game 1 | Sunday, May 22, 7 p.m. @ LV
Game 2 | Monday, May 23, 7 p.m. @ LV
Game 3 | Wednesday, May 25, 7:05 p.m. @ ROC
*Game 4 | Friday, May 27, 7:05 p.m. @ ROC
*Game 5 | Sunday, May 29, 7 p.m. @ LV
And a look at your leading pointscorers for Rochester:
- Arttu Ruotsalainen: 8-3-11, 7 games played (1st in AHL)
- JJ Peterka: 4-5-9, 7 games played (3rd in AHL)
- Peyton Krebs: 0-9-9, 7 games played (3rd in AHL)
- Casey Fitzgerald: 2-5-7, 7 games played (11th in AHL)
Peterka & Krebs lead all AHL rookies as well.