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UPL makes debut for Amerks, who lose in shootout

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 23 saves in his season debut as Rochester was defeated in a shootout by Cleveland, 4-3, Friday night at the Blue Cross Arena.

Luukkonen made several big saves, including a crucial stop in overtime when he lunged and kicked away a Monsters shot to preserve the tie.

Markus Hannikainen had the game-winner in the shootout for Cleveland. He faked Luukkonen out for the only goal.

Ryan MacInnis, Trey Fix-Wolansky and Kole Sherwood scored in regulation for the Monsters (18-19-1-2).

The Americans’ goals came courtesy of John Gilmour, Casey Mittelstadt and C.J. Smith.

Rochester has now lost five games in a row and nine of 12. They sit in third place in the North Division at 21-11-2-4.

Gilmour opened the scoring in the second period, taking the puck coast to coast unassisted and finishing with a wrist shot past Cleveland goalie Veini Vehvilainen.

MacInnis tied the game in the second period by sending a shot over Luukkonen’s shoulder.

The game remained tied at one until Mittelstadt scored off a rebound to put the Amerks up again by a goal.

It wouldn’t last long. The game was tied again just a minute later on Fix-Wolansky’s wrist shot.

Cleveland took the lead late in the second when Sherwood finished off an errant puck that took a bounce off the boards.

Smith tied the game with five minutes to spare but Rochester could not capitalize in overtime and did not score in the shootout.

The Amerks will be on the road Saturday when they travel to Allentown, Pa. to play Lehigh Valley.

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