BRIGHTON, N.Y. – An empty-net goal by Brian Gibbons with 44 seconds left in regulation stood up as the deciding tally in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Rochester Americans at the Sport Centre at MCC.
A 2-2 tied game heading into the third lasted almost the entirety of the period until Adam Payerl put the Penguins ahead with 1:52 to play. Stationed between the hashmarks, Payerl had his initial shot blocked by the Rochester defense, but his ensuing bid found the top corner past goalie David Leggio.
Rochester looked to even the score with a late man-advantage, but Gibbons took Cody Chupp’s faceoff win in the defensive zone and sent it the length of the ice into the open net. The Americans’ Brayden McNabb completed the scoring with a power play tally as time expired.
Jayson Megna helped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton establish a 2-0 lead at 9:12 of the second when he tapped home the second chance from a Brian Dumoulin point shot. Rochester would soon battle back with a pair of power play goals.
Mark Mancari sent a wrister from the left circle that went well wide of the Penguins net, but the carom went directly to Luke Adam at the far post, where he deposited the loose puck at 11:53.
Four minutes later, Phil Varone made the score, 2-2, when his shot from the slot clipped off a stick and over the right shoulder of Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
The Penguins first goal of the preseason came off the stick of Paul Thompson. The second-year forward skated out of the near corner of the Rochester zone before firing the puck up high on Leggio and then knocking in the rebound at 15:10 of the first.
Patrick Killeen, who entered the game to start the third period in relief of Zatkoff, earned the win for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.