One team showed up, the other, not so much as the Binghamton Senators destroyed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-2 on a rare Sunday afternoon meeting on home ice snapping their three game losing streak. Sens scored five goals in the first period and took advantage of a young defense and a goalie just called up from the ECHL. Eric Hartzell was in net for all six Senator goals as Binghamton regained first place in the East Division percentage points ahead of W/B-Scranton and with a game on hand. Andrew Hammond made 29 saves and had a couple of beauts in recording his 23rd win of the season as Sens magic number lowered to six with the tie breaker.
Ryan Dzingel skates towards the net in Sunday’s 6-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.
Binghamton gets their mojo on early and often in the first as they matched a club record five goals in the period and Hartzell most likely wished he was still in Wheeling. Matt Puempel pounces on a loose puck in the crease and lifts it in past Hartzell making it 1-0 as Matt fist pumps to the crowds approval. Then David Dziurzynski shoots a lazy shot that slides under Hartzell and into the back of the cage giving the Sens a two goal lead. Hartzell looked pretty bad on that one.
Shortly after Corey Cowick shoots in off of a Wacey Hamilton stick into the empty net with Hartzell out of position and now it’s a 3-0 contest and the rout is on. Pens defense hasn’t been very good in helping Hartzell out at all but Binghamton has come to play this afternoon. W/B-Scranton works to get back in it by getting a fluke goal by Spencer Machacek off of Hammond but Sens roar right back and answers with 5:56 left as rookie Garrett Thompson scoring his first professional goal sending the puck in off of Hartzell from the corner and now it’s a 4-1 game and quiets the Penguins fans in attendance.
Senators tack on one more before their thrilling period ends on the power play as Patrick Mullen sliding the biscuit over to Alex Grant who sees Cole Schneider all alone in front for the easy tap in as Pens looked pretty bad on that play. That’s Schneider’s 20th of the season earning fans free McDonald biscuits as it’s all Senators.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond gets a hit from Mike Sdao and goads Mike into a fight but nothing comes from it other than a Sens power play as Letourneau-Leblond gets the instigating call. That would pay off when Puempel nets his team leading 28th on a beautiful give and go with Schneider and beats Hartzell up high making it 6-1. That was a quick return pass by Cole as he timed it perfectly between the Pens defense to a streaking Puempel.
Machacek scores his second of the game poking the puck in through Hammond’s pads at the 11:36 mark in the second making it 6-2. Hammond with a quick leg save on Machacek soon after as the Pens once again try to get something started but Binghamton is right there shutting the door.
Third period not a whole lot to talk about other than two teams wanting to call it a day with the Pens conceiving their loss to the Sens. One big note to mention though a fight between two pests in Darren Kramer and Bobby Farnham with Darren getting the better of Bobby delivering some nasty rights crumbling him to the ice to the crowd’s roars. Replay convinces those fans who couldn’t see the fight as it was deep in the corner. Moments later, Sdao and Letourneau-Leblond have themselves a little stick fight near center ice but officials puts an end to it before it got nasty sending both of them off to their lockers. Penguins outshooting the Senators 31-27 for the game but come up short as Sens take it 6-2.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- A. Grant and Mullen each had three assists as they both played their best games in a Senator uniform. Puempel continues to be the spark plug of the club as that sixth goal was just amazing. Man, can he play.
- Good to see Thompson get his first as Buddy Robinson went into the net and grabbed the puck for Garrett to keep. Kid has good size and was pretty poised this weekend. Made some mental mistakes and looked a little confused here and there but it’ll come.
- Ryan Dzingel took a hard knee on knee hit but got up and shook it off during the intermission. Another good attribute in his overall game is he’s pretty good at faceoffs and almost scored his first as a pro but did rack up another assist on the weekend on Puempel’s first period goal.
- Hartzell was 5-0-0 in his last five starts for Wheeling before getting the call up with the 14th of February the last time he saw any action in the AHL and admitted afterwards to the media he was nervous in that first period.
- Two buses filled the Arena with Pens fans but the home team, and crowd, made sure not to let them be heard or that often.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Puempel (2g)
- #2 Mullen (3a)
- #3 A. Grant (3a)
Friday Night host Hershey Bears.
Cover photo/inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch.