The Binghamton Senators scored three third period goals to break a 2-2 tie and go on and win 5-2 over the Norfolk Admirals. Emergency starter Scott Greenham stopped 24 shots for his second career win in only his second AHL game of the season as Sens take Game I of the two game mini series. This one had a playoff feel to it for two periods before Binghamton blew it open scoring four unanswered goals.
With the victory, Binghamton is now 14-32 lifetime at the Scope as they have seen more than their share of problems over the years in Virginia. This comes at an opportune time as they maintain first place in the East Division with W/B-Scranton shutting out Syracuse as the red-hot Penguins are on the heels of the Senators with a single point separating the two rivals.
Admirals and Senators with first place on the line as the opening period begins with Chris Wagner scoring his 11th with a wrist shot over Greenham’s glove for a 1-0 lead. Greenham should have had it as the rookie looks a little shaky. Good end to end action as Cole Schneider shoots on John Gibson as the puck fell out of his glove and near the goal line before harmlessly swatted away. Senators tie it up with Mark Borowiecki‘s blast from his blue line that had eyes for the net through traffic that Gibson didn’t react to. That’s Boro’s second of the season. Not a bad effort from the Senators as they are playing well defensively in front of Greenham.
Second period finds the Sens starting off the period on the power play as Borowiecki lays out Steven Whitney along the side boards as play starts to get a bit chippy. Darren Kramer and Zack Stortini have words as those two continue to get at one another. Gibson makes a nice save off the blade of Jean-Gabriel Pageau right in front of the net. Binghamton gets sloppy on a power play when Chris Wideman loses the puck from behind his net to Maxime Sauve and he finds Sens killer Devante Smith-Pelly all alone by Greenham’s left and lays a slapper from 10 feet out past Greenham for a 2-1 Norfolk lead. Greenham should have had that but his team mates allowed that goal to be scored.
Patrick Mullen looks to have lost an edge as he hits the corner boards hard while chasing a loose puck with Max Friberg landing on top of him. Slow to get up as he tries to shake the cobwebs but heads off to the dressing room. With 52 seconds left in the period Fredrik Claesson unloads from the point and David Dziurzynski getting a stick on the shot past Gibson to tie up the game. Good positioning in front of the net by Dizzy on the play as the period ends 2-2.
Mullen back on the ice and looks fine for the third period as Binghamton looks to carry some momentum from their late second period goal. They do as Shane Prince would score on the power play for his 18th with a shot from the top of the circle beating Gibson far corner for the Sens first lead of the contest. Claesson with a nice hit on Chris Wagner along the boards and Borowiecki hard hit on Andre Petersson as Mark works Petey pretty good sending him to the ice several times.
Schneider adds some cushion to their lead scoring his 19th of the season with a quick wrist shot at top circle from a pass by Buddy Robinson out of the corner beating Gibson right side of the cage and it’s a 4-2 game. Senators feel some pressure with Gibson pulled for the extra man but Stephane Da Costa lays one into the empty net from 30 feet out and puts his team up by three, 5-2. Soon after Mike Sdao and Stortini go at it as the two heavyweights each landing some punches with Stortini getting Sdao to his knees. Horn blows as Norfolk tries to take their frustrations out on Binghamton again but all four officials are there before anything really develops.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- This is more like the characteristics of a playoff team and much better effort from the guys up front as well as the back-end. Really was frustrated watching that Wednesday loss at Albany as good to see the team put that one behind them.
- Good game by Greenham. A little shaky here and there as he has a somewhat weak glove, but overall did a great job filling in with Andrew Hammond and Nathan Lawson both up in Ottawa. D was solid helping out the third string netminder and gave the offense hope as I was unsure how this would all play out with the inexperienced goaltender. Binghamton signed Philippe Trudeau to a ATO to serve as a back up for Greeny.
- Prince looked good out there and shot a laser by Gibson for the go ahead goal in the third to continue the rally from the late second period goal. That was a game changer as Binghamton carried the momentum the rest of the way.
- Jim O’Brien and Ben Blood didn’t make the trip as both are banged up but should be back soon as they are listed day-to-day.
- Senators have won four out of their last five games and Saturday’s game II is just as crucial.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Prince (1g)
- #2 Mullen (2a)
- #3 Wagner (1g)
Saturday Night vs Norfolk Admirals.
Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Ulmer.