The Rochester Americans opened the 2016 preseason schedule against their North Division foes in the Binghamton Senators at the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo Thursday night. After the two clubs equaled five goals in the opening period, it was the Amerks who left the building with a 4-3 victory.
Rookie defenseman Paul Geiger led the Amerks with two points, including the eventual game-winning goal, while Jean Dupuy, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda and William Carrier each scored in the win for Rochester. Jason Kasdorf earned the win in net, stopping 39 of 42 attempts.
|WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS|
|DAN LAMBERT POSTGAME|
|EVAN RODRIGUES POSTGAME|
|PAUL GEIGER POSTGAME|
The Senators were led offensively by newcomer Chad Nehring, who recorded two points behind a 16-save effort from goaltender Matt O’Connor. Francis Perron and Buddy Robinson rounded out the scoring for Binghamton.
With the contest tied at 3-3, second-year forward Evan Rodrigues battled a Sens defenseman to a loose puck near the right faceoff circle inside the Binghamton side of the ice. Rodrigues won the race and slid the puck to a trailing Geiger. The first-year blueliner found himself all alone in front of O’Connor and ripped a one-time shot behind the Binghamton netminder with 5:55 for the game-deciding goal.
“I thought that was a fantastic play by Rodrigues,” said Rochester head coach Dan Lambert afterwards. “It was great to see him race down the puck and find Paul. It was not an easy play to make with the defender right there, but those are the types of plays we will need him to continue to make to make us have a successful season.”
Rochester opened the scoring with Dupuy just 2:57 into the opening frame. Dupuy pounced on a rebound that caromed off the pads of O’Connor. The initial shot came from the point as Amerks defensemen Geiger ripped a shot on the net. Mac Bennett also picked up an assist on the tally.
The Amerks doubled their lead later in the period when Muzito-Bagenda raced down the right side of the neutral zone, picking up the puck just before the blueline on the way into the offensive zone. Muzito-Bagenda streaked past a defender and flipped the puck past the blocker of O’Connor. David Vandane and Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel each chipped in with helpers on the marker 7:33 of the opening stanza.
Less than two minutes later, Carrier upped the goal total to three to none in favor of the home Amerks on the power-play goal. Matt Lane won his own faceoff and fired a shot on net. Carrier picked up the disc and slipped it behind the traffic that was in front of the Senators netminder with 11:54 still showing on the first-period clock.
Binghamton did not go away quietly in the first, after Perron and Nehring each scored power-play goals to cut the deficit to 3-2 prior to the end of the first period.
The Senators came out in the second period and fired 18 shots on Kasdorf, but he was able to the keep Rochester ahead after 40 minutes of regulation.
“Kasdorf played really well and was solid in the middle period and Binghamton had chances to even the contest, but Jason was able to keep them from finding the equalizer,” said Lambert of Kasdorf’s second period.
The Sens continued to get chances in the first 12 minutes of the third period of play and Robinson tied the contest at three goals apiece with 8:58 remaining.
Binghamton was down a man following a roughing infraction but it was Robinson who picked up the puck after it left the Rochester offensive end. He carried the puck from mid-ice and skated to his left along the sideboards. Robinson’s first shot attempt was blocked by an Amerks defender, but the Sens forward flagged his own rebound and ripped a shot behind a screened Kasdorf.
The Amerks will wrap up their two-game preseason slate with a 7:05 p.m. rematch against the Senators on Saturday night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.