HERSHEY 4, ROCHESTER 3
Reigning AHL MVP Keith Aucoin notched two goals and added an assist, and Hershey rallied in the third period for a 4-3 road win over Rochester in the teams’ throwback opener on Sunday at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Bears, who have won two straight Calder Cups and three of the last five, are the AHL’s senior-most franchise, having joined the league in 1938, while Rochester (1955) is the second-oldest.
After a scoreless opening period, Aucoin scored twice in the second period to put Hershey on top 2-0. His first came just 1:01 into the frame, and he then netted an unassisted shorthanded marker at 12:43.
But the Amerks stormed back with a trio of goals in just 2:16 to take a 3-2 lead into intermission. Michael Duco, Chris Clackson, and defenseman Clay Wilson did the honors for Rochester, with Evegeny Dadonov and Mike Kostka each contributing a pair of helpers.
Aucoin, who led the league with 106 points (35-71-106) for Hershey a season ago, now shows five points (3-2-5) through the first two games of this campaign.
Bears goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 19 of 22 shots to help his club move to 1-1-0-0 on the young season.
The teams will meet again next Saturday for Hershey’s home opener, which will also feature the throwback uniforms.
WORCESTER 4, HARTFORD 3
A three-goal opening period sent Worcester on its way to its first victory of the season, a 4-3 road decision over Hartford on Sunday at the XL Center.
Hartford closed to within 3-2 on a second-period goal by Evgeny Grachev and an early third-period score off the stick of Kelsey Tessier, but Worcester’s James Marcou made it 4-2 on the power play at 6:47.
That stood up to be the game-winner when Tessier buried another goal in the closing seconds of regulation. Tessier finished with three points (2-1-3) for the Wolf Pack and totaled four points (2-2-4) in two games on the weekend.
Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock, a member of the league’s All-Rookie Team in 2009-10, earned his first victory of the new season with 30 saves on 33 shots.
CHARLOTTE 4, SPRINGFIELD 1
Charlotte fell into a 1-0 deficit before rattling off four straight goals to earn its first victory as a member of the AHL, a 4-1 final over Springfield at the MassMutual Center.
Jon Matsumoto’s power play goal tied it for the Checkers a little more than three minutes later, and 2009-10 Second Team AHL All-Star Jerome Samson notched his first of the campaign, also on the power play, at 11:12 to give Charlotte the lead for good.
Springfield concluded a busy three-game opening weekend at 1-2-0-0.
MANCHESTER 2, BRIDGEPORT 1
Third-year pro Justin Azevedo broke a 1-1 deadlock at 9:19 of the third period, and Manchester put itself in the win column with a 2-1 road victory over Bridgeport at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Sunday.
Azevedo’s game-winner was assisted by Bud Holloway and rookie Brandon Kozun, who earned his first professional point after racking up 215 points over the past two seasons with Calgary of the Western Hockey League.
Monarchs goaltender Erik Ersberg stopped 27 of 28 shots to record his first AHL victory since Jan. 11, 2008, at Rochester.
With the victory, Manchester moved to 12-2-2-0 in its last 16 contests against Bridgeport.
TEXAS 3, SAN ANTONIO 0
Goaltender Brent Krahn recorded a 27-save shutout in his season debut as Texas opened its schedule with a 3-0 road win over San Antonio at the AT&T Center.
Krahn, who ranked third in the AHL with five shutouts in 22 appearances for the Stars in 2009-10, turned aside eight shots in the opening period, five in the second, and then 14 in the third.
All of Texas’ offense came in the latter half of the third period following a scoreless deadlock up to that point. Scott McCulloch broke the 0-0 tie at 14:51, and Travis Morin added an insurance goal with only 1:34 left to play and an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Ex-Star Matt Climie took the tough-luck loss with 38 saves on 40 shots against his former team, whom he helped reach the Calder Cup Finals just four months ago.
San Antonio’s goose-egg came two days after the Rampage scored six times in a 6-3 opening-night win over Chicago.
Holzapfel tied it up 1:23 into the second period with his first of the year, and Haydar scored the game-winner at 8:30 of the third frame, his first marker as a member of the Wolves since the 2007-08 campaign.
Nineteen-year-old Chicago goaltender Edward Pasquale, making his professional debut, turned aside 28 of 29 shots and helped the Wolves to their first victory of the season.
Oklahoma City fell to 0-2-0-0, with Hartikainen responsible for both of the Barons’ goals thus far.
PEORIA 3, MILWAUKEE 2
Peoria opened up a 3-0 lead in the first period and then held off Milwaukee’s rally for a 3-2 win over the visiting Admirals at Carver Arena on Sunday.
The Rivermen struck in quick succession for their trio of opening-period goals. Twenty-year-old Phil McRae, a second-round draft pick by St. Louis in 2008, began the onslaught at 13:49.
He was followed by Chris Porter just 43 seconds later, and defenseman Nathan Oystrick converted on the power play 2:15 after that. McRae earned an assist on the former Calder Cup champion Oystrick’s first goal as a Rivermen.
Milwaukee used its own power play attack to get back in the game. Kelsey Wilson tallied a man-advantage marker early in the second frame, and Andreas Thuresson scored another to make it 3-2 with 3:13 left in regulation.
But the Ads could not tie it and dropped to 1-1-0-0 on the year.
Peoria goaltender Ben Bishop denied 36 of 38 shots on the evening, helping his club collect its first win of the campaign (1-1-0-0) following a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Manitoba on Friday.
ROCKFORD 5, GRAND RAPIDS 4
The second period proved to be key as Rockford eked out a 5-4 win over visiting Grand Rapids on Sunday at the MetroCentre.
The IceHogs entered the middle frame trailing 2-1, but they outshot Grand Rapids 15-5 and collected three goals to seize control of the game. Rockford’s Evan Brophey, Rob Klinkhammer, and Igor Makarov scored in the stanza, after Simon Danis-Pepin had registered a first-period goal.
Rockford entered the third period up by a 4-3 count, but Jan Mursak tied it for the Griffins only 1:45 in. It remained 4-4 until 10:56, when former AHL All-Star Ryan Potulny scored his first goal in an IceHogs uniform for the eventual game-winner.
‘Hogs goaltender Alec Richards helped his team to its first win of the season with 25 saves in net.