HERSHEY, Pa. -- The American Hockey League All-Star Classic wasn’t quite what Erik Gustafsson expected.

“I thought it was going to be a little more higher tempo out there,” Gustafsson said after his Eastern Conference All-Stars beat the West 11-8 before a sold-out crowd of 10,736 at the Giant Center on Monday night.

He probably didn’t expect this either.

When the media scrum broke up around the Phantoms rookie defenseman, Eastern captain Mark Wotton, a guy who’s been playing the position in the AHL since Gustafsson was 6, pulled a young boy into the locker room and pointed him first in his direction with a few whispered words.

Wotton, the oldest player at the game, smiled as Gustafsson, one of the youngest, dropped to a knee and signed the kid’s jersey.

“Just by meeting everyone here, I’ve made a lot of good friends,” Gustafsson said. “It was a great weekend.”

If Gustafsson had any doubts what kind of game it’d be, Alex Gordon’s goal for the East 16 seconds into the game, the quickest in all-star game history, made it clear. The track meet was on.

Eight goals were scored in the first period, 30 players had at least a point, and goalies faced more than 85 shots.

Gustafsson had two first-period assists. Binghamton rookie Bobby Butler had a goal and three assists to earn the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

By the waning minutes, the only suspense was if one of the three players with two goals could finish off the hat trick.

Once that watch passed everyone moved onto a more pressing worry: beating the snow out of town.

Gustafsson, who was scheduled to leave by hired car at 10 a.m. Tuesday, was blissfully unaware of the impending storm until being told in the locker room.

He took the news with the same low-key aplomb he appears to handle everything with.

“That’s all right,” he said. “I would have figured it out sooner or later. It’s all good.”

Loose pucks: It was the first East-West format for the all-star game since the 1942-43 season.

Western Conference 4   2   2  —   8

Eastern Conference 4   4   3  —  11

First period — 1, Eastern Conference, Gordon 1 (Samson, Wotton), 0:16; 2, Western Conference, Repik 1 (Hensick, MacLean), 1:59; 3, Western Conference, Hensick 1 (Connelly, Repik), 2:47; 4, Western Conference, Filppula 1 (McDonald, Beaudoin), 10:08; 5, Western Conference, Wathier 1 (Machacek), 10:51; 6, Eastern Conference, Palmieri 1 (Gustafsson, Tangradi), 13:47; 7, Eastern Conference, Bortuzzo 1 (Williams, Gustafsson), 14:08; 8, Eastern Conference, Samson 1 (Locke, Fahey), 15:35. Penalties — none.

Second period — 9, Eastern Conference, Bortuzzo 2 (Rakhshani, Butler), 10:13; 10, Eastern Conference, Williams 1 (Voynov, Palmieri), 11:21; 11, Western Conference, Shirokov 1 (Oystrick, Klasen), 12:05; 12, Eastern Conference, Arniel 1 (Butler, Rakhshani), 14:14; 13, Eastern Conference, Anderson 1 (Harju, Adam), 14:42; 14, Western Conference, Machacek 1 (Giroux, Olver), 17:32. Penalties — none.

Third period — 15, Eastern Conference, Gordon 2 (Samson, Locke), 11:51; 16, Eastern Conference, Butler 1 (Fahey, Rakhshani), 12:25; 17, Western Conference, Giroux 1 (Repik, Connelly), 17:43; 18, Eastern Conference, Rakhshani 1 (Butler, Arniel), 18:37; 19, Western Conference, Wathier 2 (Aulie, Filppula), 19:38. Penalties — none.

Shots on goal — Western Conference 13-18-19-50; Eastern Conference 12-13-10-35.

Power-play opportunities — Western Conference 0 / 0; Eastern Conference 0 / 0.

Goalies — Western Conference, Allen 0-0-0 (12 shots-8 saves); Sanford 0-0-0 (13 shots-9 saves); Dekanich 0-0-0 (10 shots-7 saves). Eastern Conference, Jones 0-0-0 (19 shots-15 saves); Curry 0-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves).

Referee — Banfield.

A — 10,736.

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