Utica Comets Return to Their Winning Ways

AJ Greer scores four goals to lead the Utica Comets to a 4-2 victory over the Rochester Americans on Friday night.

The Utica Comets have been getting contributions from all through their lineup all season long, and on Friday night they got a massive contribution from forward AJ Greer. He provided all of the Comets offense scoring two shorthanded goals, one powerplay goal, and one empty netter to power the Comets past the Americans at the Adirondack Bank Center

Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Game Preview 02-18-2022

The first period was relatively uneventful, as each team had chances but Americans goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Comets netminder Nico Daws stopped all the shots that came their way to send the teams scoreless going into the first intermission.

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The second period is when the AJ Greer show began. He opened the scoring at the 2:45 mark when while the Comets were shorthanded, he sped down the left side of the Rochester zone, got in all alone on Luukkonen, and went forehand/backhand to put the puck in the net to give Utica a 1-0 lead. Greer struck again at the five-minute mark, this time on the powerplay. He took a pass from Chase DeLeo, then from the bumper position skated into the right circle and launched a laser-like backhand into the top of the Rochester net to make the score 2-0.

Joe Gambardella of the Utica Comets sets up in front of the net against the Rochester Americans on Friday night. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

With nine and a half minutes remaining in the second period, the home crowd erupted as Greer completed the natural hat trick by scoring his second shorthanded goal of the night. There was nothing fancy about this goal as Frederik Gauthier left a pass for Greer who blasted a one-timer from the top of the left circle past Luukkonen to put the Comets up by three. Rochester got a goal with under one minute remaining in the period when Brett Murray scooped a rebound off of an Ethan Prow shot and put it past Daws to give the Americans life heading into the second intermission.

From the latest episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast, the Henrickson family talks about getting to meet their hockey hero Henrik Lundqvist not once, but twice (you’ll also see why little Gianna is destined to be a TV star)! You can catch the entire episode on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms by subscribing to Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast or My Little Falls.

The Americans got even closer in the third period when Patrick Polino blasted a loose puck in the left circle into the back of the Utica net to make the score 3-2. In the closing minute, Rochester coach Seth Appert pulled Luukkonen for the extra skater, and despite a surge by the Americans Daws was able to keep them at bay. With three seconds remaining, AJ Greer capped off his incredible night by scoring an empty-net goal for his fourth tally of the night and sealed a 4-2 victory for his Comets.

Notes: Utica outshot Rochester 30 -28…Utica was 1 for 5 on the powerplay, Rochester was 0 for 6…Greer led all Utica scorers with four points (all goals), Frederik Gauthier also had two points (both assists)…Rochester had six players with one point each…Alexander Holtz’s eight-game point streak came to an end…Rochester plays again on Saturday night at Syracuse, Utica plays again on Saturday night as well at Lehigh Valley.

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