UTICA, N.Y. - In a moment that brought the past eight years full circle, the Utica Comets topped the Rochester Americans 3-1 in the team's final game at the Adirondack Bank Center as the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, Wednesday.
Utica's first win in its inaugural season with the Canucks was on November 23, 2013, a 2-0 victory over the Amerks in the team's tenth home game at the Aud.
After getting some potential nerves out on the first couple of shifts, the Comets took control of the game 4:34 into the opening period. From behind the Amerks' net, Shawn Cameron fed a centering pass in front to Vincent Arseneau who put a one-timer inside the far post to put Utica on the board. Mitch Eliot also assisted on the play.
In the second, Jett Woo, the hero of Monday's overtime thriller against the Syracuse Crunch, joined the rush and fooled Michael Houser on a shot off the wing to extend the Comets lead to 2-0. Nolan Stevens and Tyler Tucker notched the helpers on the goal.
After a stalemate most of the third period, Rochester pulled the goalie for an extra attacker while on a power play with just over three minutes remaining. Late in the penalty kill, with 2:33 remaining in the game, John Stevens scored an empty netter to all but ice it. Tucker and Curtis McKenzie registered assists on the effort.
Brendan Warren scored for Rochester with 1:16 left in the game to end the shutout bid, but the Comets were still able to celebrate one final victory on home ice with the limited 400 fans in attendance.
Michael DiPietro was stellar in goal making 33 saves in the game, as the Comets closed out the home portion of the season with a dominant 11-2 record at the Aud.
The Comets and Amerks wrap-up the 2020-21 season with two games in Rochester on Friday and Sunday.
Utica will then begin a 10-year affiliation with the New Jersey Devils in the 2021-22 season.
For highlights and post-game reaction from a special night in Utica, click on the video above