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There Will Be A Game Five As Amerks Lose To Comets

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BY WARREN KOZIRESKI — ROCHESTER, NY — Looking for their first second round playoff series win since 2004, Rochester allowed three second period goals over a ten-minute span as Utica skated to a 4-0 victory to even the series 2-2 and set up the deciding Game Five Thursday night in Utica.

Using a stifling forecheck to limit Rochester to only 11 shots over the first two periods, the Devils’ Nolan Foote opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period.

“They played like a team with their backs against the wall and we didn’t and that’s what we need to do,” defenseman Jimmy Schuldt said.

On multiple occasions the Devils intercepted cross-ice breakout passes throughout most of the first two periods limiting offensive rush chances by Rochester.

“We have to read that…usually if you can move your feet, there is going to be an open guy on breakouts,” Schuldt said. “Whether tat’s the cross-ice guy and if they take that away it could be the middle guy or back to your defense partner or up the strong side.

“They threw different things at us and I think we didn’t adapt as well as we could have.”

A.J. Greer netted his tied-for-the-AHL lead fifth and sixth goals in the second—the first off the leg of diving defenseman Casey Fitzgerald—before Chase De Leo added a power play marker on the two-man advantage with Ryan Scarfo and Peyton Krebs in the box for holding the stick and a faceoff violation respectively.

Rochester did manage some third period momentum spending almost eight minutes of five-on-four power play time plus another two minutes with the goalie pulled during four-on-four.

Arttu Ruotsalainen slammed home his AHL leading seventh playoff goal after a feed from Casey Fitzgerald with four minutes remaining and Mark Jankowski redirected a feed from JJ Peterka in the final minute to make the final score respectable.

The fifth and deciding game is in Utica Thursday at 7pm with the winner advancing to the best-of-five division finals against Laval, who defeated Syracuse 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night.

“They’ve been the best team in the American Hockey League and not just our division almost all year,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said about Utica. “They’re a great team with a lot of pride, they believe they are a Calder Cup contender.

“It’s a five-game series for a reason; our mission stays the same; we have to win three of the five. We’ve done a great job putting ourselves in position to win a series against the best team in the league…for what should be a heck of a game five.”

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