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Amerks win preseason opener
(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) Rookie forward Eric Locke scored the overtime game-winning goal 2:56 into the extra frame as the Rochester Americans defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 in preseason action Wednesday night at the Bill Grays Iceplex.
Phil Varone and Chad Ruhwedel also scored for the Amerks, while Denver Manderson and Paul Thompson scored for the Penguins in regulation.
Rochester took an early lead following a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty. Six minutes into the opening period, Kevin Sundher would receive a pass in the slot and fire on net. After the initial save, Varone put a bouncing puck into the empty net to give the Amerks a 1-0 advantage 5:22 into the opening frame.
The Penguins answered less than a minute later, as Manderson cruised down the right wing and beat Amerks starting goaltender Nathan Lieuwen over the shoulder with a quick shot to knot the contest up at 1-1.
Rochester took a 2-1 lead after capitalizing on another power-play opportunity halfway through the first period. Ruhwedel took a cross-ice pass from Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and fired a one-time shot that beat Penguins goaltender Eric Hartzell.
The Penguins tied the score midway through the second period, as Thompson took a pass deep in the Rochester zone, and took a sharp-angle shot that beat Connor Knapp over his shoulder.
Following a scoreless third period, the two teams traded overtime chances. Late in the extra session, an attempted pass in front of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net was knocked down for Locke, who put the puck into the empty net for the game-winning goal.
The Amerks outshot the Penguins 32-21. Lieuwen and Knapp combined for 19 saves for Rochester, while Hartzell and Andy Chiodo turned aside 29 shots for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Amerks will conclude their preseason schedule as the home-and-home series shifts to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for Game 2 on Friday, Sept. 27 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.