TORONTO - Denis Hamel scored the deciding goal in the shootout to lead the visiting Binghamton Senators past the Toronto Marlies 2-1 in the American Hockey League season opener for both teams.
Hamel, the fifth Senators shooter in the shootout, skated in on Justin Pogge and faked a slapshot before deking to his left and sliding the puck past the Marlies goalie in front of 5,157 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Centre Josh Hennessy scored for the Senators in regulation time, while centre Tim Stapleton, 25, who finished second in Finnish Elite League scoring last season, had the lone goal for the Marlies.
Stapleton and Binghamton's Brendan Bell also scored in the shootout before Hamel ended the game.
Netminder Brian Elliot made 33 saves in regulation and overtime to pace the Senators. Elliott, a 23-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont., a suburb of Toronto, was especially sharp in the first period when the Marlies had four power plays and outshot Binghamton 15-6.
Elliott turned aside every chance and Hennessy staked the Sens to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period. The Sens goalie also denied Kyle Rogers on a breakaway early in the third period after the Marlies winger stepped out of the penalty box, picked up a loose puck and swooped in on the Binghamton net. Rogers tried to go high to the glove side, but Elliott was equal to the task.
Pogge, who takes over as the full-time starter after sharing the load last season, stopped 29 of 30 shots. His best save came midway through the third period, with the score tied 1-1, when he shot out his right leg to block Shawn Weller's low shot from the slot.
The Marlies are the top affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, while Binghamton is the feeder team of the Ottawa Senators. The Marlies captured the North Division with a 50-21-9 record last season and won two playoff rounds before losing to the Chicago Wolves, the eventual Calder Cup champions, in the Western Conference semifinal.
The Senators went 34-32-14 and failed to qualify for the post-season last year.
Binghamton led 1-0 after the first period and through 40 minutes.
Toronto, which opened the 2007-08 season on a 13-game unbeaten streak, was 0-for-7 on the power play while Binghamton went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Senators broke the ice midway through the opening frame when Hennessy gained the offensive zone, skated through the slot and whipped a wrist shot past Pogge's glove hand at 8:59.
Binghamton's lead stood up until early in the third period when Stapleton's low wrist shot from the right faceoff circle beat Elliott to the stick side.
The Marlies travel to Lake Erie to face the Monsters on Sunday.