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The Wraparound: Rochester 3, Syracuse 1

If pace of play has been a point of emphasis in the Buffalo Sabres organization this season, the Rochester Americans demonstrated they received the message.

The Amerks opened their 2017-18 season with a 3-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch in Blue Cross Arena on Friday.

Rochester used its speed to create offensive opportunities, draw penalties, and score goals.

Heck, the Amerks used their speed to kill a penalty in the second period, generating three odd-man rushes and one glorious scoring chance that Kyle Criscuolo just couldn't finish. In the third period, Nick Baptiste had a short-handed breakaway that was stymied by Syracuse goalie Michael Leighton.

And when Rochester found itself hemmed into its own zone as the Crunch cycled the puck, goaltender Linus Ullmark was there to make the save.

Ullmark finished with 28 saves, losing his shutout bid with 2:16 left as Syracuse scored a 6-on-5 goal off the stick of Mitchell Stephens.

Getting on the board: Justin Bailey scored the first goal of the season, a rocket wrist shot that went in and out of the net so quickly, the officials had to review it to make sure it did, indeed, cross the line. The goal with 1:28 left in the first was set up by defenseman Zach Redmond.

Seizing momentum: The Amerks scored just 1:08 into the second to take a 2-0 lead. A great rush by the second line ended with a goal for Stevie Moses. Criscuolo and C.J. Smith picked up the assists.

Adding insurance: Bailey scored his second goal with 5:23 left in the third period. He was on a two-on-one break with Baptiste, kept the puck and scored from the right faceoff circle. Bailey nearly had a hat trick, but hit the post on an empty net opportunity.

In need of power: The Amerks did a great job of drawing penalties. They didn't do as a good job with capitalizing on the ensuing power plays. Rochester went 1 for 6 with the man advantage with the goal by Moses in the second period their only power play tally.

A little help on the back end: With 8:36 left in the third, Kevin Porter got his stick on a puck that was sitting behind Ullmark. He swept it back under his goaltender before it got to the line and before any Syracuse player could pounce on the loose puck.

Scratches: The Amerks scratched forwards Sean Malone, Vaclav Karabacek, Adam Krause, Daniel Muzito-Bagenda and Alexander Nylander along with defensemen Andrew MacWilliam and Conor Allen.

Syracuse scratched forwards Troy Bourke, Alex Gallant, and defenseman Matthew Spencer.

Conacher Watch: Former Canisius College standouts Cory and Shane Conacher played their first game as teammates for the Syracuse Crunch. Cory played for the Golden Griffins from 2007 through 2011, becoming the program's all-time leading scorer in the Division I era. Shane arrived at Canisius in 2013, playing three seasons before singing a pro deal with Toronto.

The brothers played together on the Crunch power play. Cory, an alternate captain for Syracuse, had three shots on goal while Shane had one.

Opening night record: The Amerks are 38-18-6 all-time in home openers. They are 32-23-7 all-time in the season opener, dating back to the team's inaugural season in 1956.

Counting the house: There were 5,009 fans in Blue Cross Arena for opening night.

Up next: The Amerks and Crunch move the series to Syracuse for a 7 p.m. game Saturday as the teams open the season with back-to-back games. The Amerks return to Blue Cross Arena on Oct. 13 to host the Utica Comets.

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