The Rochester Americans closed out their preseason schedule with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The teams were meeting for the second time this week after facing off in Rochester on Wednesday night.
Newcomer Colton Gillies scored the lone goal for Rochester while goaltender Matt Hackett finished with 23 saves on 25 shots. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Mike Ratchuk and Cody Sylvester each scored a goal for the Penguins, while their goalie tandem of Jeff Deslauriers and Eric Hartzell combined for 18 saves.
After a scoreless first period that saw the Amerks get outshot 7-5, Rochester had the game’s first scoring chance midway through the second stanza. Back-to-back penalties to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s C.J. Severyn and Philip Samuelsson gave the Amerks a two-man advantage for 1:14, but Rochester couldn’t solve Hartzell, who made several big saves, including a point-blank opportunity on Jerome Gauthier-Leduc to keep the Amerks at bay.
Gillies, who was making his Amerks debut tonight, spotted Rochester to a 1-0 lead just 3:32 into the third period. Frederick Roy’s shot from the right corner was knocked away by Hartzell, but the rebound caromed out to the low slot, where Gillies collected the loose puck and snapped it by the Penguins goaltender for the game’s first tally.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton nearly tied it later in the frame, but Hackett made an exceptional save on Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos to preserve Rochester’s lead. A net-front scramble temporarily screened Hackett, but he quickly recovered in time to slide across his crease and deny Kostopoulos with his right toe to keep the puck from crossing the goal-line.
The tying goal did eventually come, as Brian Gibbons found Ratchuk with a pass to the backside post for the tap-in with just 2.7 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime. In overtime, Sylvester scored on a one-timer to give the Penguins the victory. The goal was initially waived off by the referee, but after further review, it was deemed a good goal and the Penguins skated away with the win.
The regular season begins Friday, Oct. 4 when the Amerks host the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins at The Blue Cross Arena at 7:05 p.m. Full-Season, Half-Season, Freedom Packs and 12-Game ticket packages, along with individual game tickets, for the 2013-14 season are now on sale. For more information, visit www.amerks.com or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.