Penguins goaltender Eric Hartzell earns his first career shutout 1-0 in only his second professional game as the Pens and Sens play a classic division battle at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Although it was the Penguins that were able to play a better defensive game in bottling up Bingo’s high potent offense and shut them down. Harry Zolnierczyk would notch his ninth of the season late in the second on a misplay by the Senators and that would be it as Nathan Lawson finishes with 25 saves as Binghamton suffers the rare shutout.
Senators early control and good defense coverage in Penguins zone. Sens go on the early power play when Mike Hoffman gives up the puck at the point to John Gibbons who carries in on Lawson but gets a weak shot off. Sens can’t get set up and manage zero shots on Hartzell. Stop in play with Lawson laying on the puck and Hoffman takes a careless penalty by pushing Paul Thompson into the cross-bar and goes off for roughing. Sens don’t let Pens to set up and kill it.
Buddy Robinson gets a trip call and back on the power kill. Pens get their chances but Sens kill it. Mike Sdao levels out Gibbons, then Corey Cowick gets his turn with a mid ice hit on Gibbons. Senators control five on five hockey not before Shane Prince getting the call for a third opportunity for the Penguins on the man up. These penalties are killing the Senators momentum. Lawson has a bad clearing pass as Gibbon’s picks up the puck by the dasher and dips and dives in the slot and gets a high shot past Lawson as time expires in the period. Referee waves no goal as Sens get lucky there. Shots are 8-4 Pens.
Bingo starts out the period a man up as Gibbons gets another shorthanded look with Lawson making the save. Sdao puts the puck in through traffic in front of the net but didn’t get the tip in. Pens put pressure on but Lawson holds the fort. Another penalty on the Senators, their fifth of the game so far. This game is not going the Sens way and it’s a matter of time when Pens will get one in past Lawson. Fred Claesson with a big hit on Thompson to the right of Lawson.
Sens go up a man for four minutes as Brian Dumoulin draws blood on Matt Puempel with a high stick. Sens send out the second power play unit of Prince, Andre Petersson, Jim O’Brien with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Chris Wideman at the point. Bingo gets some set plays and find Hartzell standing big. First unit skates out as Stephane Da Costa, Pumpel, Cole Schneider with Hoffman and Cody Ceci manning the blue line. Sens can’t get set up and Pens tighten up their defensive game.
WB/S breaks the ice as Gibbons gets his own rebound and finds Zolnierczyk all alone open near the net for an easy tally. Lawson had no chance as defense had a blown man coverage. All Penguins the rest of the way out as they have control and have momentum. 11 shots apiece in the second.
1-0 game heading to the third as Senators need to stay out of the box and get a goal. Lawson and Zolnierczyk go after a loose puck along the boards and Lawson gets tripped up for Sens power play. Claesson has a nice play taking the body on Tom Kuhnhackl saving a shorthanded opportunity. Senators can’t converge as the Penguins are just playing better hockey. Bingo now back pedaling as Lawson has some nice saves to keep it a one goal game. Hartzell save on Ceci’s shot as O’Brien was there for the rebound.
Senators now are applying pressure as the clock is becoming a factor. Robinson getting some good looks but can’t connect. Binghamton looks best they have all game but Hartzell keeps the door shut. Tripping call on Philip Samuelsson as he saves a goal with Hartzell down on the ice and appears hurt. It’s his right knee however he decides to stay in and finish the game. Sens go on the powerplay and it’s all Bingo throwing everything they have at Hartzell. B-Sens TO and Lawson is pulled with a minute to go but can’t put one past Hartzell as the horn blows. Pens win it 1-0. Shots end up 10-7 Sens and the game 26-25 Pens.
- Both teams now share first place as Sens had an opportunity to pull away in the East but couldn’t find their game early on with too many calls against them. Penguins were ready as most teams are aware how talented this Binghamton team is and set their tempo early on.
- Cowick rejoins Pageau as the room mates had success last season being paired up. Need something to get Cowick going. Da Costa centered Hoffman and Puempel with Mark Stone sitting out.
- Gibbons was all over the ice tonight, sometimes double shifting as the Pens were missing some key players up in Pittsburgh. It was all him on the Penguins lone goal with a good effort following through after his shot on Lawson and feeding it to Zolnierczyk.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Hartzell (25 saves)
- #2 Zolnierczyk (1g)
- #3 Lawson (25 saves)
Saturday Night host St. John’s IceCaps