That third quarter didn’t take long as 57 games rapidly into the 2013-’14 campaign we find the Binghamton Senators falling from their first place perch into second place with a 33-19-1-4 record in the East Division and fifth in the Conference as the club went 10-7-1-2 in the third quarter.
The Sens lead the league in averaging 3.68 goals per game but have given up a whopping 177 goals in return on the season. Losing leading scorer Mike Hoffman and recently traded Andre Petersson hurts the club offensively, but in return gain two experienced blueliners to help offset that and try to get the goals against in order.
Matt Puempel takes over as the leading goal producer and Fredrik Claesson triumphs on defense with his incredible plus/minus ratio as we take a look into the club’s third quarter grades. First two quarters are left intentionally for a continuous season long comparison.
- #3 Fredrik Claesson B+/A-/A
Good, reliable D-man again this quarter keeping it simple and tries to aid in keeping the young defense in check. Great penalty killer especially being down two men. His physical play has turned up a notch throwing up at least two or three big hits per game lately. Smooth skating and good with the biscuit with his up front passes.
- #4 Mike Sdao C+/C+/C
Physical presence on the ice protecting the small, speedy forwards that this team has. Sometimes trying to do it all and loses focus. Good heavy shot from the point and recently had a two goal game in this quarter. A guy you can rely on when there’s trouble brewing.
- #5 Mark Borowiecki I*/B+/B
This man is not afraid to take on anybody as the bigger you are, the more likely you’ll get in a tussle with him. The rugged D-man has been injured as of late missing some valuable time in keeping his club at top. Will be depended on as the leader into his final fourth quarter especially with some new faces that have recently arrived.
- #6 Chris Wideman B/B+/B+
Continues to make the power play what it is with his play making skills and gets a nice look feathering in a few goals through traffic from the point at times. Smart playing and puck mover getting it up ice to the forwards and considered to have a quick temper when tested creating havoc with opposing players.
- #8 Daniel New I*/C+/C+
Seeing consistent ice time as the coaching staff has shown confidence in his game. Looking better behind a very young defense with his good skating and decent passes as he has settled in this quarter continuing to develop and hone his overall game.
- #9 Matt Puempel B+/B+/B+
Consistency has been the rookie’s success for the season as his quick, heavy, hard shot makes him a scoring threat around the net. Shuffling around the line-up is no big deal as he just scores goals no matter where you place him. However, currently has taken the spot on the first line and on the power play filling in for Hoff.
- #10 Buddy Robinson B-/C-/C+
The big guy continues to be agile on his skates and has put some points up as you can’t miss him when he’s on the ice. Has a nose around the cage and has seen regular shifts in this quarter not missing too many games.
- #15 Cole Schneider B/B+/B+
A producing point player and slowly earning the respect around the league as a threat scoring in bunches. Personally would like him playing on the first line but has enough talent to spread it around to whichever line he’s skates on. Solid quarter from the second year pro.
- #16 Mark Stone B+/A-/A
He’s ready to be called upon if the parent club is in a pinch. Great playmaker and sometimes he relies on it too much when he should be shooting instead of passing. Overall can’t complain as his game has developed to match the hype surrounding him. Good energy guy that truly loves the game lead by his actions on the ice and who doesn’t love his reactions when his line scores a goal.
- #18 Shane Prince A-/B-/B-
Big rumor mill circulating around the time of the NHL tradeline concerning a trade or off to a different continent accepting a supposed offer. Nothing came to light but did draw some attention recently being a healthy scratch. The high energy, speedy winger has found his scoring touch but not enough to put him over the top as of yet.
- #19 Jim O’Brien D+/B-/C+
Would like to have seen some more consistent production at this point but won’t nag too much on his trying so. His experience on this team is extremely valuable as the club hopefully finds success in the post season. Needs to get things rolling in the fourth quarter as his future is on the line.
- #20 Andre Petersson B/B/B+ (Traded)
Perhaps his best quarter of the season producing and create offensive opportunities as the ever sulking player we are so used to seeing has disappeared and keeping his head up avoiding the let downs that has brought the gifted player before. Might be a little too late as his year is closing fast and possible future with the organization.
- #22 David Dziurzynski C/C+/C-
Quiet quarter this time around and not a lot going from him as he has seen a handful of healthy scratches. That big heavy fight he had up with the big club seemed to have altered his game some as he no longer drops the mitts. Great PK man though and likes the occasional corner bashing and banging around with good grit as well.
- #23 Corey Cowick C+/C/C+
Found some points this quarter and has helped the team with his physical play but sometimes taking too many costly penalties. Good hustling forward and always relied upon sticking up for his team mates, likes to get dirty in the corners and is a hard worker with good ethics.
- #24 Stephane Da Costa A/A-/B-
Second biggest disappointment this quarter as he hasn’t been the same since his demotion as perhaps he’s maybe experiencing some sort of nagging injury that he’s trying to play through. Lost a step, not as quick taking that awesome one timer he is known for. Needs to re-focus and get his game back in line to help the team finish strong.
- #26 Ben Blood C+/C-/C-
Threw some big hits but still needs experience as he has become a project in the works. Has held his share of healthy scratches rotating with another veteran D-man. It’s going to be a haul for him but if he’s committed it’ll fall into place at some point. Might need a refresher in the ECHL.
- #27 Mike Hoffman A+/A+/A+
What can you say but speedy forward looks to have finally graduated and perhaps sticking up top for as he’s done all he can do to accomplish what is needed in the AHL. He’s been included on the club’s playoff roster so that’s a blessing when the post season begins here.
- #29 Tyler Eckford C-/C/D-
Time to hang ‘em up after this season to a once was promising career. Just missed passes and bad puck possession and poor shooting. He was brought in to help shore up the young defense but it hasn’t quite worked out for the veteran blueliner.
- #30 Andrew Hammond B+/C+/B+
This quarter has been his best hockey of the season. Playing with confidence and standing tall, or hunched over, in net. His positional play is so much better than before as he now squares up on the shooter. With his steady play, he was rewarded with some minutes in the NHL and played well in his debut. Need him to be strong filling in for the stretch run.
- #36 Wacey Hamilton C+/C+/C-
Not much has changed about his game except he’s been a victim of a logjam of forwards and has been sitting more than usual this quarter. Continues to be decent at the dots and hustles when he’s in.
- #37 Darren Kramer C/I*/D+
Hard to give a player that kind of mark but he’s just in for the his physical play. Has seen more ice this time around then last quarter, but not by much. Serves as an agitator which doesn’t bring a lot of glamor but is fun to watch.
- #44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau B/A-
Love his play and continues to be that speedy, slick, puck handling forward and sometimes pest as he gets under his opponents skin irritating the hell out of them at times. Always giving 100% on the ice, consistently reliable whatever the situation calls for.
- #52 Nathan Lawson A/A-/I*
Nagging flu and various injuries has kept the veteran netminder out of action the majority of the quarter. Hard to rate when he hasn’t seen a whole lot of action, but hope he finishes strong as this team needs him to get going again. One thing for sure, he should be well rested in leading to the post season play barring anymore letdown’s.
- #57 Derek Grant I*/B-/C+
First biggest disappointment this quarter and not the same guy as the ever hustling, getting dirty in the corners type of player. Like him, always have, just don’t see the fire in his eyes like I use to. Not sure what to think of this talented player as he absolutely needs to get his head out of his butt and start to dominate the league and compete on a nightly basis.
New defensemen #14 Patrick Mullen and #20 Alex Grant don’t qualify but look for improvements on the blue line as those two have added some experience sorely needed. This team is loaded on the front end, but now with the defensive additions the back-end has now been addressed.
Cover and article photos courtesy of Alicia Strauch.