The Rochester Americans opened the 2013-14 American Hockey League season with an 8-1 loss on home ice to the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
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Luke Adam scored the lone Rochester goal while Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen combined for 29 saves in the loss for the Amerks.
Gustav Nyquist recorded a goal and two assists and Adam Almquist added three assists for the Griffins, who also received a pair of goals from rookie forward Ryan Sproul. Goaltender Tom McCollum finished with 18 saves on 19 shots to earn his first win of the season.
Nyquist started the scoring nearly six minutes into the first period for Grand Rapids after converting a pass from Tomas Jurco to beat Hackett and give the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
Grand Rapids would add to its lead three minutes later. After a foiled breakaway attempt, David McIntyre would gather the puck in the corner and feed a wide-open Alexey Marchenko, who would increase the Griffins lead by a pair.
The Griffins would add two more goals midway through the second period for a 4-0 advantage, but the Amerks quickly answered. Defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc controlled the puck low in the Grand Rapids zone and floated a shot at McCollum. McCollum stopped the initial shot, but Adam was there for the rebound to make it a 4-1 game at 13:01 of the middle frame.
Three more second period goals, including two from Sproul, provided Grand Rapids with a 7-1 cushion. Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan converted a pass from Luke Glendening before Sproul netted his second of the game just 1:56 later.
Mitch Callahan and former Amerk Tristan Grant added a goal apiece, and Riley Sheahan closed out the scoring for Grand Rapids with his first of the season 4:41 into the third period.
The Amerks remain at home on Friday, Oct. 11 as the AHL’s newest franchise, the Utica Comets, make their inaugural visit to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the first-ever meeting between the new intrastate foes with all the action being carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.