The Binghamton Senators played 60 minutes of hockey and earned two points for their efforts in increasing their East Division lead to three over the Penguins. Andrew Hammond was strong in net stopping 33 shots while only allowing two, as the D played a terrific outing in shutting down the Pens. Another two goal and assist showing from Mike Hoffman as he takes the Star of the Game honors as Hoffman goes, the team goes. W/B-Scranton entered the game leading the league with the fewest goals allowed (118) and fewest shots (26.24) but it was the Senators league leading goals per average (3.69) that prevailed in the end.
Both teams playing a tight defensive start as they feel each other out in the early goings. On an early Sens power play Stephane Da Costa gets the puck to Mark Stone in front as he redirects the shot that catches Eric Hartzell‘s pad. However, Shane Prince would capitalize on the man advantage shooting in on an empty cage from a laser of a pass from Andre Petersson sitting along the side boards, 1-0 game. Pens answer less than a minute later as Spencer Machacek picks up the loose change in front of Hammond for the easy tally. Nothing Andrew could have done as the rebound was there for the taking as we are tied up at one.
Corey Cowick would put the Senators back up by one with his 10th of the year behind a beautiful feed from Stone in front of the crease as all Cowick had to do was tap it in by Hartzell. Physical play ensues as both team’s try to get the edge but with Da Costa in the box for tripping, Jean-Gabreil Pageau makes a valiant effort streaking into the Pens zone and out in front of Hartzell with a trailer on his heels and patiently buries the puck in for the shorthanded goal to put the Sens up by two, 3-1. Just a great play by Pager.
We have a goalie change with Jeff Deslauriers in relief of Hartzell as he let in three goals on 13 shots. Meanwhile Hammond with some big saves on a Penguins power play can’t be ignored as he has put together a good period in net. It won’t matter though with less than two minutes left in the first, Nick Drazenovic is off for tripping and Hoffman scores his 26th of the season as his wrist shot from the near slot trickles in by Deslauriers for the power play goal making it a 4-1 contest. Tempers fare at the end of the period when Pageau takes on 6′ 2″ Harrison Ruopp and gets the take down with brief punches thrown by either player. All Senators at this point.
Second period and the challenge is will Binghamton protect the three goal lead or sit back like in Ottawa last week. Hammond comes through with a great save on Mike Carman‘s shorthanded breakaway attempt as he follows the puck and stones Carman. Later in the period, Pageau breaks in along the boards and Danny New‘s long pass hits Andrew Ebbett and bounces to Stone as he gloves it and quickly releases a pass to Pager who breaks in on Deslauriers and moves the puck from his forehand to his backhand that had goal written all over it but Deslauriers gets a leg on it to his surprise.
Next series of plays to start the third sees Bobby Farnham trying to get under the skin of Cole Schneider off the center ice face off but Cole doesn’t bite. Farnham runs around the ice all ghetto and trips Da Costa costing his team a penalty early on. However, Sens would get another power play goal by Stone tapping in the loose puck into the back of the net. Schneider would get the initial credit but replays show it was definitely Stone’s stick that knocked the loose puck in.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scores on a heavy, hard shot from their Captain at the point that beat Hammond cleanly. That would be Tom Kostopoulos‘s 19th and a little too late, but not until a four-minute power play with Wacey Hamilton‘s high stick call drawing blood. However, the Senators kill it and Frederik Claesson with a particular terrific clearing attempt that draws the home crowd cheers. Binghamton caps out the scoring with Hoffman’s second of the night making it a 6-2 final on yet another power play tally.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Hartzell didn’t particularly look sharp in warm-ups. Perhaps he’s battling the flu as he seemed to really have to work on his saves. Not surprised by his early exit tonight.
- That’s the kind of game I want to see out of Hammond, much better effort by the defense out front and excellent fore checking throughout the night. Solid team effort.
- Senators now with 15 shorthanded goals that lead the league big time in that department. They were also 4/9 on the man advantage as the power play clicked and looked real good.
- Let’s hope there is not a let down for Saturday’s contest vs Worcester Sharks as the club played an emotional game fighting for first place and came prepared.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Hoffman (2g 1a)
- #2 Hammond (33 saves)
- #3 Da Costa (2a)
Saturday Night host Worcester Sharks.
Cover photo and insert courtesy of Alicia Strauch.