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 Gray’s Iceplex.
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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. Rochester open its 58th season in the American Hockey League on Friday, Oct. 4 against the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena.