Binghamton Senators and Rochester Americans meet for the final time this season tonight at the Blue Cross Arena as the Senators look to make it their seventh win in eight meetings between the two clubs. Rochester just recently put a stop to their nine game losing skid by winning against Syracuse on Wednesday, but still are facing an uphill battle in making a playoff berth being seeded 10th in the Western Conference while missing both their starting goaltenders. The shorthanded Senators find themselves in a similar position maintaining their top spot in the East Division with a handful of key players out and playing two forwards fresh out of college making their pro debut’s. This is going to be interesting.
(40-21-1-5) 86 pts
First in East Division
(31-27-6-4) 72 pts
Second in North Division
Injured Reserve: Defenseman Danny New, Forwards Jim O’Brien and Stephane Da Costa.
Healthy: Forward Danny Hobbs.
Binghamton head coach Luke Richardson‘s patch work line up includes Garrett Thompson and Ryan Dzingel inserted into the mix making their pro debut’s as Stephane Da Costa, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Stone and Jim O’Brien are all out as it couldn’t come at a better time for the shorthanded Senators. That third line of Thompson, David Dziurzynski and Jacob Culek scares the heck out of me though and shows how much the club is really offensively handcuffed right now.
Thompson, a 6-2 191 lb forward from Traverse City, Michigan and was the leading scorer for the Ferris State Bulldogs this past season netting 16 goals and 16 assists in 43 games for the WCHA regular season champs. Meantime Dzingel, a 6-0 188 lb forward from Wheaton, Illinois, signed a two-year entry-level contract recently completed his third season of college eligibility with the Big Ten Ohio State Buckeyes, establishing new collegiate career highs with 22 goals and 24 assists in all 37 Buckeyes’ games.
Meanwhile the Amerks are a hurting bunch with netminder’s Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett both up in Buffalo filling in for the Sabres resulting in Rochester starting Andrey Makarov (1-3-0 2.54) and Connor Knapp (0-2-0 4.03) from the ECHL in the last six contests. That’s just insane.
Closer to home, defenseman Ben Blood was sent to Elmira on Thursday to work on his game for the Jackals as the Senators are going with a more experienced blue line from here on out. It’s a good move all around from the organization’s point of view as Blood has come up short this season for the Sens.
Binghamton’s magic number is nine heading into the weekend as three games are on tap with two against division opponents. Hershey, winners of their last three, has now leaped over Norfolk in the Eastern Conference standings for the final playoff slot as the Ads are winless in their last four and are faltering fast. I recently ran an article featuring the remaining schedule for Binghamton and you can access it by clicking here.
Players To Watch For
Rochester: Forwards Phil Varone (14g 38a 61gms) and Luke Adam (27g 20a 53gms), Defenseman Nick Crawford (3g 10a 55gms).
Binghamton: Forwards Cole Schneider (19g 30a 61gms) and Matt Puempel (26g 17a 65gms), Defenseman Chris Wideman (7g 38a 65gms).
Sens are 6-1-0-0 this season against their long time rivals Amerks with this being their final meeting of the year as Sens spanked the Amerks 7-3 in their last contest up in Monroe County.
Current Playoff Picture
- Percentage of reaching the playoffs: 99.9%
- Overall position (out of 100%) : 8th in the league
- Won or loss after last game +/-: +0.8 (L to Albany).
Sens Tweet of the Day
— Derek Grant (@DGrant57) April 2, 2014
Cover photo courtesy of Matt Trayling.