There comes a time in the season where you dig deep, elevate your performance and grit out the tough ones and tonight was no exception as the Binghamton Senators grind out a road win against their interstate rivals in Syracuse winning their fourth straight 4-3 on Cole Schneider‘s lone shootout goal. Andrew Hammond stopped 24 shots and all five Crunch players in the shootout as he improved his record to 22-15-3 in winning his second in a row in as many nights. With the win, Binghamton remains in first place in the division and reduced their magic number to 10 for a post season berth.
A pair of fights and a pair of goals exchange in the opening period as these two rivals have seen enough of each other over the season for the 10th time. Jean-Philippe Cote delivers a hard hit on Patrick Mullen along the dasher and Mark Borowiecki goes after Cote and end up with a brief tussle before Boro landing on top of him down on the ice. Borowiecki is sent off to the dressing room with 2,5 and 10 minute calls putting the Crunch on a power play, but no damage is done.
Derek Grant gets Binghamton out front first by hustling for a loose puck in the o-zone and swatting it past Kristers Gudlevskis from a bad angle as it trickles in for a 1-0 lead. Lead is short lived though when Crunch tie it up as Alex Grant miscues the puck leading to a 3-1 shorthanded rush with Mullen the lone Senator back. Brett Connolly slides a pass for Jonathan Marchessault to shoot in past Hammond for the goal.
Things get a little tacky as Chris Wideman and Mike Angelidis chat gets heated with both throwing off the mitts but Fredrik Claesson grabs Angelidis before any punches are thrown. At the same time Syracuse’s bad boy Luke Witkowski forces Darren Kramer by his jersey and punches him right on his nose dropping Kramer down to his knees and drawing blood. After things sorted out Sens end up on the man advantage to play out the period.
Things settle down in the second, for a bit, as Borowiecki cross checks Vladislav Namestnikov which draws a penalty and Cedric Paquette shoves Boro and David Dziurzynski tackles Paquette to the ice as a big melee ensues in the corner. On the following Crunch power play, Nikita Nesterov scores from the point three seconds in on a screened Hammond off the faceoff to take the lead 2-1.
Soon after Gudlevskis with two big saves on A. Grant shooting and Matt Puempel picking up the rebound out front. With the Senators on the power play Stephane Da Costa gets a stick to the face from Angelidis which appeared accidental, but leaves a trail of blood on the ice as he leaves for the locker room holding his face, and it’s a 5-3 situation for the Sens. Jean-Gabriel Pageau nets his 17th on a rebound shot by the side of the net from A. Grant’s slapper and ties up the contest once again. The goal goes under a brief video review as the cage was knocked off right after the puck went in and it’s ruled a good goal, 2-2 game after two.
Under way in the third period as Da Costa is not on the ice. D. Grant moves into Da Costa’s spot on the first line. Syracuse once again regains the lead with Geoff Walker scoring his sixth on a one timer fed from Yanni Gourde past a diving Hammond for the power play tally making it a 3-2 game. Binghamton answers getting an important goal at the 5:14 mark as A. Grant scores his first in a Senator uniform timing his slapshot through traffic perfectly past Gudlevskis and we are tied up at three a piece.
We are heading to overtime where the Sens are 8-1 on the season. First half not much brewing but that would change as both clubs are playing the run and gun style of hockey with scoring opportunities abundant but both goalies hold down the fort as the shootout looms ahead.
In the shootout Schneider is the first and only scorer netting a wrist shot by Gudlevskis as Hammond shuts the door on Marchessault, Connolly, Gourde, Paquette and Namestnikov to preserve the goal and the win 4-3 final.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- There must have been some bad blood in the past concerning Witkowski and Kramer as he really tugged hard trying to get after Kramer before unleashing a right which dropped him. Could have been when Kramer took on three guys earlier on in Binghamton and hit each one.
- Boro blocked a shot on a late Syracuse power play in the third and limped off the ice in pain but he didn’t miss a shift. Enough said.
- Senators showed true character in this one coming back as Luke Richardson has his club in the right zone this time of year and doing what it takes to get the points. That is exactly how a playoff bound team responds on the road and coming back for the victory.
- Sens are now short their entire first line of Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and now Da Costa as their was a lot of blood on the ice not knowing his exact status at the time of this re-cap.
- Hammond solid in the shootout which was once his weakness earlier in the season. Feeling really confident in his game lately as the tide has turned and we should ride Hammy from here on out, even though Scott Greenham will most likely start on Sunday in Albany.
- Alex scored his first goal in a Binghamton jersey that couldn’t have come at a better time with the game winding down in the third. It seemed to give the Senators new life and momentum that carried over to the shootout.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Schneider(SH goal)
- #2 A. Grant (1g 1a)
- #3 Paquette (??)
Sunday Afternoon at Albany Devils.
Cover photo courtesy by Jeff Ulmer.