The Utica Comets refused to die after finding themselves down 4-0 early in the second, roared back and forced a shootout winning their fourth in a row by a score of 6-5 over the Binghamton Senators. It’s the Sens fifth straight loss and they now see their first place grip in the East gone as Norfolk is the new frontrunners and Binghamton is precariously only two points out of the Conference playoff spot sitting in fifth place.
Jim O’Brien crashes the net as Joe Cannata is holding the fort in Utica’s come from behind win. Photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.
Senators look a little rusty out of the gate for the first half of the period but manage to get on the board first on a shorthanded goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau for his eleventh of the season. That is the Sens league leading 16th shorty as Buddy Robinson with the nice pass between Alex Biega‘s legs placing the puck on Pageau’s tape and simply put it past Joacim Eriksson. Senators would eventually find their legs and get some glorious chances in the period but Utica crawls out of it being only one goal down.
Into the second and Pageau gets his second of the evening by tapping in another Robinson pass while being parked in front of Eriksson’s cage. Then as that goal was being announced David Dziurzynski would flip a high backhanded shot into the net from a feed from Wacey Hamilton and quickly it’s 3-0 Senators. Mike Sdao would make it a 4-0 contest with his tremendous slap shot from the slot beating Eriksson top shelf and Binghamton is off and rolling as they score three goals in a 1:18. That would be all for Eriksson’s night as Joe Cannata comes in for relief.
Biega would get things going for the Comets as he scores beating Lawson down low far side that Nathan should have had. Soon after Ray Kaunisto nets his second of the season and the momentum continues to shift over for the Comets making it a 4-2 game. Kaunisto crashed the net as the puck rolled off of Lawson’s leg from a shot by Kellan Lain in the crease.
On a Senators power Matt Puempel scores his 21st as he one times a pass from Mark Stone scorching Cannata and its free biscuits for all. The play was started by Stephane Da Costa as a quick tic tac toe play ensued. However, Utica answers back with a power play goal of their own less than two minutes later when Pascal Pelletier‘s shot beats Lawson with Brandon DeFazio creating a screen ending the second with the Sens out front 5-3. Seven goals would exchange between the two teams in the second with the Sens holding a 23-18 shot advantage.
Third period has Alex Friesen‘s shot from the point getting deflected in at the 13:35 mark as a Utica player was parked out front blocking Lawson making it a 5-4 game. The Comets continue to grind away and don’t give up and it pays off with Cal O’Reilly and DeFazio coming down on a shorthanded opportunity with Da Costa the lone Senator as it might as well been a 2-0 breakaway with Da Costa doing nothing. O’Reilly simply dishes to DeFazio for the tieing goal as Lawson had no chance on the play. 5-5 contest heading to overtime.
Senators would get the break they are looking for in the extra session as Yann Sauve hauls Patrick Mullen into the net and the Senators have 57.3 seconds to get the win as Luke Richardson calls a timeout. Pageau, Alex Grant, Chris Wideman and Stone are the four skaters on the power play. Sens get their chances but can’t get one in by Cannata as he stops all eight Binghamton shots.
Shootout would have Puempel scoring for the Sens and Pelletier and DeFazio the goal scores as DeFazio simply undressed Lawson included in the highlights.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Seemed to be a team meeting after the game as none of the players were milling around outside the locker room way after the game ended like some normally do. Luke obviously can’t be happy with his club’s performance, or lack of, after what should have been a win.
- I wasn’t thrilled by Mullen’s game tonight. Coughed up the puck and his defensive play was just average. I was impressed by A. Grant as the big defenseman played well for the most part. A few hiccups here and there but he’s got a nice one timer that is accurate and saw time on the special units on both ends.
- This team misses Mark Borowiecki and is winless in his absence, as the Captain is still out nursing a lower body injury, but has been skating and will be ready next week. Fredrik Claesson will be back in action Sunday after serving his one game suspension.
- In the second Lawson made an incredible stick save while out of position and with DeFazio crashing in on Nathan knocking his helmet off. Over head replays showed his paddle saving a goal.
- The club has a quick turnaround as they play Sunday afternoon at 3:00 on daylight savings time up in Syracuse. Time to get their nose to the grind and get back to the win column re-taking the East and playing their game in hand they have on Norfolk.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Pelletier (1g 1a)
- #2 Biega (1g 1a)
- #3 Pageau (2a)
Sunday Afternoon vs. Syracuse Crunch.
Cover photo and insert courtesy of Alicia Strauch.