Give it up to Michael Hutchinson and his 42 save performance as he shutouts the league’s top offensive team and stole the game for the St. John’s IceCats by a score of 1-0. He bails out his team on a night that the Binghamton Senators would have on any other given night, a handful of goals as he faced relentless attacks from the Senators all night long. Sens much better effort tonight as that had to make up for Friday night’s awful performance but just happened to run into a hot goaltender. Their lead in the East is gone as they are now tied with Norfolk and three points over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as Norfolk has come out of nowhere winning their last four straight.
25 seconds into the first and lo and behold it’s the IceCats with the first penalty of the game and not the Sens but they don’t do much with it. Soon after, Binghamton kills off a Corey Cowick penalty as they have some jump and good pace to their game so far. Andrew Hammond looks sharp early making several good saves. Cole Schneider passes to a streaking Jean-Gabriel Pageau and lays a backhand shot but big Michael Hutchinson is there with the glove.
Midway through the period Eric O’Dell scores his 15th as he receives a pass from Carl Klingberg from the corner and snaps one home down low by Hammond for a 1-0 lead. Hutchinson great save on Darren Kramer in front on the following play. Senators go on a power play but too many passes and not enough shots on this one as IceCats get Kael Mouillierat sprung free from the box. Senators play a better first than the one 24 hours ago but still sit being down by a goal. Shots end up 17-8 Bingo.
Up and down goes the flow of the play starting the second as Binghamton looks to get on the board and tie this contest. Not before Chris Wideman getting called for closing the hand on the biscuit followed that up with Wacey Hamilton‘s interference penalty on Brenden Kichton behind the net and St. John’s finds themselves with a two-man advantage. Fredrik Claesson, Pageau and Derek Grant are the trio out on the ice for the penalty kill and are effective as IceCats call a timeout to re-group.
St. John’s fails to generate anything as Binghamton has a great chance in the offensive zone when Schneider puts the puck cross ice on the tape of Cowick sitting all alone in front of Hutchinson but can’t put it by the big goaltender. Pageau’s shot is juggled but Hutchinson hangs onto it as the Senators are unable to solve him. Senators much better effort so far out pacing the IceCats as they cling to their 1-0 lead.
Senators need a goal in this third to get going and they start pressing right from the puck drop but Hutchinson stands tall making save after save as the play is in their zone for the majority of the time. The few times it’s out of their zone Hammond has been there as he makes a leg save on Kyle MacKinnon.
Then the bottom half of the period, not so good as the parade to the penalty box returns and the Sens are re-living last night’s bad habit’s as three consecutive calls would just about kill the spark. Hutchinson however, comes up strong stopping several shorthanded rushes on Pageau twice and Stephane Da Costa.
Binghamton gives it one final push with Ben Chiarot in the box for elbowing with 1:50 left. Senators unload shooting from all angles on the power play but Hutchinson won’t bend. Hammond is pulled making it a six on four man advantage as then a timeout is called by the Sens. Andre Petersson‘s shot is blocked from the point and ricochet’s to mid ice and the game is over as the Senators are shutout for the third time this season.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Sens made their adjustments from Friday’s contest and Luke Richardson had to be pleased with his team’s effort tonight that was so lacking before. However, the offense has cooled off considerably in scoring only two goals this weekend. St. John’s are 9-2 against Binghamton in the last 5 seasons.
- Stone had his league leading 12 game point streak snapped while scoring 8 goals and 9 assists during it and also his 7 game assist streak to go along with it.
- Interesting roster move with Shane Prince out and Kramer in for tonight’s game. David Dziurzynski also sat out and Hamilton in as Luke tweaked the middle of the line up with Jim O’Brien centering Grant and Petersson along with Pageau in the middle of Schneider and Robinson.
- Troy Rutkowski needs to go back to Elmira as I wasn’t impressed this weekend at all with his play. Why he was out quarterbacking the power play on several occasions is beyond me. Hammond played well stopping 24 shots for his first game back after playing for Ottawa on Thursday.
- Senators not in action until next Saturday so as to figure this out and what they need to do to get back in the W column as their six point lead in the East they had a week ago is gone.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Hutchinson(42 saves)
- #2 O’Dell (1g)
- #3 Da Costa (-)
Saturday Night host Utica Comets.
Cover photo and insert courtesy of Jeff Ulmer.