Andrew Hammond had a sensational game in stopping 30 shots earning his 18th win and halting the Senators six game winless streak as he takes first star honors in a 3-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals. The much-needed win was played by a complete defensive effort and a full 60 minutes of play in what would turn out to be a playoff type of atmosphere for both clubs. With the win, the Senators keep pace in the East and are one point out of first behind W/B-Scranton following their 5-1 home win over Hamilton and are now fifth in the conference. Luke Richardson has to be satisfied with his team’s effort tonight as they finally played a sound game and supported Hammond throughout the contest.
Senators and the Admirals start off the first period uneventful as lots of stoppages but David Dziurzynski would switch things up scoring off the rebound from Jean-Gabriel Pageau‘s shot as surprised starter Brad Thiessen gave up a juicy rebound and it’s 1-0 Sens. Hammond with a pair of good saves on Devante Smith-Pelly as Andrew looks sharp early. Defense is keeping things tight and playing well so far.
Stephane Da Costa appears to have scored a goal but it is waved off as the puck appears to have crossed the goal line. It won’t matter much as he then takes a cross ice snap pass from Mark Borowiecki and pulls in on Thiessen and directs a nifty backhand in by him who is caught scrambling around the cage. Video review on the first goal stands firm but would end up good on the second attempt and it’s a 2-0 Sens lead.
Second period sees Norfolk getting a quick goal when Smith-Pelly shooting a beauty of a wrist shot beating Hammond down low from the circle for his 22nd of the season and it’s now a 2-1 game. That caught the Sens off guard as the goal was just 13 seconds into the period. Now the real test begins if they can hold the one goal lead or collapse like the club has recently experienced. Hammond answers with an impressive leg save on a quick snap shot from the stick of Steve Eminger.
It doesn’t help though when Derek Grant served three consecutive penalties in the period but his teammates would wind up bailing him out as one of the calls was questionable (actually a load of crap) as he was pushed into Thiesson into his net and got the goalie interference call. Good team defense as Norfolk doesn’t look very creative on the ensuing man advantage’s. Both goalies are looking solid and some tight checking is taking place as this is starting to turn into a playoff type of atmosphere.
Hammond starts off the third with a great save on Max Friberg by the side of his net and stands his ground making another good save again from Smith-Pelly’s twig. Shane Prince gets aggravated by Jesse Blacker‘s chippy stick in the corner and drops the gloves with Blacker with nothing coming from it except a pair of trips to the box. This game is a tight checking contest and has post season play written all over it.
Admirals keep pressing though in the last ten minutes as the Senators are having trouble keeping the biscuit out of their own end. Norfolk pulls Thiesson for the extra attacker but Hammond is there to shut it down. Then Cole Schneider finds the loose puck and feeds it to an off and running Pageau as he shoots from center ice into the empty goal mouth and that would put an end to Binghamton’s six game losing streak. Shots for the evening are 34-31 Bingo.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Andre Petersson was mostly ineffective as he saw lots of ice and on the power play. He was held at bay for the entire game by the Sens stingy defense and looked rather vulnerable at times.
- If you don’t know, you should as Alex Grant has a wicked slapper that he unloads very quickly and on target. He had more than a handful of shots tonight and looked good on the second power play unit.
- Great to get Boro back on the ice as his physical presence just changes the dynamics of the game. Team definitely missed him and not just because of the win, just seems to solidify the defense as the overall unit continues to adjust to the new pairings.
- Fredrik Claesson also stood out as this was one of his best games making great defensive plays on the power kill and clogging up the scoring lanes making it difficult for their pesky forwards to find a scoring opportunity.
- Thiesson looked pretty good in only his ninth game of the season for Norfolk. The ex-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie is all too familiar with the Sens as he got the call over rookie sensation John Gibson to my surprise. Their two netminder’s are scary good and are going to be tough to beat as the Admirals strong point in the upcoming post season.
- B-Sens wore a trendy green and white stripe St. Patrick’s Day uni’s and looked sharp with the return of the flying ‘B’ on their front.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Hammond (30 saves)
- #2 Pageau (1g 1a)
- #3 Smith-Pelly (1g)
Saturday Night host Rochester Americans.
Cover photo and inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch.