NORFOLK 4, WORCESTER 0
Making quite a first impression, goaltender Cedrick Desjardins turned in a 29-save shutout in his Norfolk debut to lead the Admirals to a 4-0 win over Worcester on Friday in their home opener at the Scope.
Desjardins, who went 29-9-4 (2.00, .919) for Hamilton last season en route to a berth on the AHL’s Second All-Star Team, earned his first shutout of 2010-11 after ranking second in the league with six a year ago.
The 25-year-old, facing Worcester for the first time, turned aside 12 shots in the first period before stopping nine in the second and eight more in the third.
Alex Berry recorded two assists for Norfolk, which has racked up 11 goals in two games thus far en route to a 2-0-0-0 start to the season.
Worcester was shut out in a regular-season game for the first time since dropping a 4-0 decision to Hartford on Nov. 14, 2009.
Zuccarello gave the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead at 8:42 of the first period with his first North American goal, but Albany’s Vladimir Zharkov promptly tied it back up just 26 seconds later. After ex-Wolf Pack forward Chad Wiseman put the Devils up 2-1 at 10:32, veteran defenseman Wade Redden scored his first career AHL goal on the power play at 13:31 to make it 2-2.
The teams played scoreless hockey in both the second and third periods, as well as the five-minute overtime.
McKenna earned the win after making 31 saves through the first 65 minutes for the Devils, who earned their first win of the season (1-1-0-0).
PORTLAND 3, BRIDGEPORT 1
Portland continued its hot start to the season on Friday with a 3-1 win over visiting Bridgeport at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates improved to an Atlantic Division-leading 3-0-0-0 in the early going and have outscored opponents 14-7 in their three games thus far.
Derek Whitmore, two-time AHL All-Star Mark Mancari (1-1-2), and Dennis McCauley (1-1-2) all scored for the Pirates after Bridgeport defenseman Travis Hamonic had given his club a 1-0 lead with an early first-period power play goal.
Mancari and McCauley scored just 13 seconds apart in the second period’s closing minute, with the latter standing up as the game-winner.
Bridgeport has totaled just two goals in a pair of losses since taking a 5-4 shootout win over Worcester in its season opener on Oct. 9.
HERSHEY 7, BINGHAMTON 1
Four players registered at least three points on the night as Hershey rolled to another lopsided early-season victory at Binghamton, this one by a 7-1 final at the Broome County Arena on Friday.
Newcomer Brian Willsie led the way with a goal and three assists for the Bears, whose 8-1 win in this arena last Oct. 10 set the stage for a prolific 2009-10 season on offense.
Keith Aucoin recorded two assists for Hershey, which put up a three-spot in the opening period and kept the pressure on with three more goals in the second frame.
SPRINGFIELD 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (SO)
Springfield converted three of its four shootout tries and left Providence with a victory for the second time in as many Fridays, this time by a 2-1 count at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Falcons, who beat Providence 5-1 last Friday before dropping two straight at home, improved to 2-2-0-0 on the young campaign.
Matt Calvert, Michael Blunden, and Chad Kolarik all notched shootout goals for the Falcons, with Kolarik’s tally in the fourth round sealing the victory. Rookie Maxime Sauve recorded Providence’s lone marker in the shootout.
Blunden gave Springfield a 1-0 lead with a power play goal 4:04 after the opening face-off. Bruins defenseman Yuri Alexandrov responded with his first North American tally at 10:44, also on the power play, and neither side scored the rest of the way.
ADIRONDACK 3, SYRACUSE 2
Adirondack scored twice in a 34-second span in the third period to turn a one-goal deficit into a 3-2 win over Syracuse in its home opener on Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
For the 20-year-old Wellwood, it marked his first professional goal following a breakout 31-goal, 68-point season in juniors last year for Windsor (OHL), where his teammates included first-overall draft pick Taylor Hall.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, CHARLOTTE 2
2010 AHL All-Star Dustin Jeffrey scored his first two goals of the season as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton spoiled Charlotte’s first-ever AHL home game with a 4-2 win over the Checkers on Friday before 12,512 fans at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Jeffrey, who paced the Penguins with 71 points in 2009-10, scored both on the power play and shorthanded Friday night in the first and second periods, respectively.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Brad Thiessen secured the win with 30 saves, helping his club move to a perfect 3-0-0-0 on the young season.
Jerome Samson extended his goal-scoring streak to three games for the Checkers, and former Calder Cup champion Oskar Osala also scored. Charlotte fell to 1-3-0-0 overall and will host the Penguins in a rematch on Sunday afternoon.
HAMILTON 5, ROCHESTER 2
Hamilton staked Rochester to a 2-0 first-period lead before rattling off five unanswered goals to take a 5-2 season-opening win over the Americans on Friday at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Bulldogs, who were the only AHL team with last weekend completely off, earned the victory in head coach Randy Cunneyworth’s first return to Rochester, where he served as bench boss from 2000-08.
It didn’t start well for Hamilton, as Rochester’s Triston Grant and Clay Wilson notched power play goals just 1:14 apart late in the first period to make it a 2-0 game. But ‘Dogs defenseman Kyle Klubertanz scored his first North American goal 1:27 after Wilson’s marker to cut his club’s deficit to 2-1 heading into intermission.
The second and third periods were all Bulldogs, as the defending North Division champions scored twice in each frame en route to the victory.
Ben Maxwell (1-1-2) and David Desharnais (1-1-2) netted power play goals in the second, while J.T. Wyman and Andrew Conboy scored at even strength in the third. Rearguard Yannick Weber finished with two assists for Hamilton.
Bulldogs goaltender Robert Mayer made 19 saves on 21 shots to earn his first career AHL victory.
HOUSTON 2, OKLAHOMA CITY 1 (OT)
Making his AHL debut after beginning the season with parent-club Minnesota, Casey Wellman scored at 4:42 of overtime to lift Houston to a 2-1 road win over Oklahoma City on Friday at the Cox Convention Center.
Jean-Michel Daoust, who tied for the Aeros team lead with 21 goals in 2009-10, scored his first of the new season to put Houston on top at 13:22 of the first period. Colin McDonald brought Oklahoma City even early in the second frame, with Alexandre Giroux picking up an assist for his first point as a Baron.
Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 40 of 41 shots in net and has made 70 saves on 72 shots in posting back-to-back wins at Oklahoma City to begin the season.
These two teams will square off again on Sunday afternoon in Houston.
CHICAGO 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (OT)
Former AHL All-Star defenseman Jaime Sifers scored at 4:09 of overtime to lift Chicago to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over host Milwaukee on Friday at the Bradley Center.
Sifers, who was an AHL All-Star in 2009 with Toronto but entered the night with just 17 pro goals in 298 regular-season AHL and NHL games, was assisted on the game-winner by forwards Spencer Machacek and Jason Krog.
After a scoreless first period, the Admirals struck twice in the middle frame, with both goals coming off the stuck of first-year North American pro Linus Klasen. The 24-year-old beat Wolves goaltender Edward Pasquale for a penalty-shot goal at 8:31 and notched a power play marker at 16:33.
But the third frame belonged to the Wolves, as Andre Deveaux scored on the man advantage just 52 seconds into the frame and Patrick Rissmiller recorded the equalizer at 9:36, setting the stage for Sifers’ overtime heroics.
Krog finished with two assists on the night, and Pasquale stopped 27 of 29 shots in the winning effort.
The West Division rivals will shift to Allstate Arena on Saturday night as the Wolves gear up for their home opener.
GRAND RAPIDS 1, MANITOBA 0
Goaltender Joey MacDonald pitched a 25-save shutout as Grand Rapids earned its first win of 2010-11 with a 1-0 road triumph over Manitoba at the MTS Centre on Friday night.
Attendance at the MTS Centre for the Moose’s home opener was 8,800. The North Division rivals will battle in a rematch on Saturday night.
The teams played scoreless hockey for the better part of three periods before Griffins forward Francis Pare finally broke through at 10:12 of the third period. Jamie Johnson and defenseman Travis Ernhardt picked up helpers on Pare’s first goal of the season.
MacDonald extended a franchise record with his 17th shutout in a Griffins uniform, while Moose counterpart Eddie Lack stopped 27 of 28 shots in the losing effort.
Manitoba lost for the first time on the young season (2-1-0-0).
PEORIA 6, SAN ANTONIO 2
Despite getting outshot 44-20, Peoria kept right on scoring and opened a seven-game road swing – all in the state of Texas – with a 6-2 win over San Antonio at the AT&T Center on Friday.
The Rivermen, who went 3-for-7 on the power play, collected their second consecutive 6-2 victory and third straight win overall since dropping their season opener on Oct. 8.
Graham Mink led the way with four points (1-3-4) for Peoria, and Nicholas Drazenovic added three points (2-1-3). Defenseman Nathan Oystrick (1-1-2), Adam Cracknell, and ex-Rampage Dave Spina also found the back of the net.
Mink has recorded multiple points in three of the season’s first four games to lead the team with nine overall (3-4-9), and Oystrick has a point in four straight to begin the year (3-3-6). T.J. Hensick, who had an assist in this one, also shows a season-opening four-game scoring streak (0-5-5).
Peoria goaltender Ben Bishop (3-1-0) stopped 42 of 44 shots in the winning effort.
ROCKFORD 5, ABBOTSFORD 0
Five different Rockford skaters netted a goal and netminder Alec Richards posted a 27-save shutout to lead the IceHogs past host Abbotsford on Friday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
The 19-year-old Pirri’s goal was his first as a professional, and he and Morin each scored on the power play. Rockford finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage on the night.
Heat goaltender Leland Irving, a former first-round draft pick, has surrendered 11 goals in his two losses and four goals in his two victories so far this season.
The teams, who are both 2-2-0-0 on the season, will meet again on Saturday night in Abbotsford.