I don’t know if Ottawa’s GM Bryan Murray and his Assit. Pierre Dorion taking notes while up in the Sky Boxes had any baring on player performances for the Senators, or perhaps new chemistry with line up changes was to blame, but the Binghamton Senators should have won this game if they didn’t have such a lackluster first period in addition to Andrew Hammond‘s soft puck miscues in the second. End result being the Toronto Marlies taking advantage with a 5-4 victory in overtime because AHL Defenseman of the Year T.J. Brennan lifted a backhander in past Hammond 2:50 into overtime and took the game’s First Star honors as well. It wasn’t as if Toronto played any better, but more likely Binghamton wasn’t up to snuff and beat themselves as they are now tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for first in the East.
Binghamton Senators Ryan Dzingel and Shane Prince battle for position in front of Drew MacIntyre in Toronto’s 5-4 overtime victory.
New faces and new line mates as the first period would play out to be a forgettable one. Adjustments to be made on the fly and Senators are flat in trying to get in sinc. Toronto isn’t necessarily playing better it’s just the home team can’t find their legs and complete plays. Marlies would strike first when Stuart Percy‘s heavy slap shot from the point reels in by Hammond for a power play tally putting the visiting team up 1-0. Binghamton shows some energy towards the end of the period but what an uncharacteristic terrible performance that sucks the life out of the building.
Let’s see if we get better results and effort in the second frame and just two and a half minutes in Buddy Robinson scores his 12th wristing home a quick shot by Drew MacIntyre from a Shane Prince pass from behind the net giving life to the home fans. Sens getting into the game and almost score twice with Patrick Mullen‘s shot is redirected by Matt Puempel dinging it off the post that had MacIntyre beat. Prince shoots from the right circle and MacIntyre somehow makes the save while losing the puck in the process as it sits between his legs. Okay, now we are looking like ourselves. Fight develops between Darren Kramer and one huge David Broll with Kramer getting the worse of it drawing blood from a couple of Broll rights.
Well hold everything now while Hammond has a mini meltdown. Andrew misplayed a harmless chip in by Jamie Devaneoff off target and panicked not knowing what to do as Toronto races towards him and Jerred Smithson is there to punch the loose puck into the cage giving Toronto new life. Bizarre sequence on the fluke goal. Less than two minutes later Sam Carrick takes a shot from behind the goal banking in off Hammond’s pads and finds space for another odd goal giving the Marlies a 3-1 cushion and momentum. Robinson cuts the lead by one scoring his second of the evening getting a rebound in by MacIntyre from a Corey Cowick shot with a bunch of players in front standing around unchecked.
Into the third with Wacey Hamilton on an outstanding highlight effort splitting the defense and beats MacIntyre on the short side making it a 3-3 game. Ryan Dzingel blocks a Marlie shot that stings him pretty good but appears alright giving a brief scare to the rookie. Shortly after David Dziurzynski gives the Senators a 4-3 lead with his shot sailing in through past a slightly screened MacIntyre and it’s the Sens first lead of the contest and they are the ones buzzing.
However two bad penalties put a buzz kill on the excitement for the Marlies enjoying a five on three with Cowick and Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the box. It takes just eight seconds for them to score by Percy’s second goal beating Hammond glove side for a 4-4 tie. The back to back penalties just killed Binghamton with overtime looming.
Early in the extra session Trevor Smith‘s head pass to Kevin Marshall seems to get the best of Hammond as he thought he was beat and looks behind him but his body was in the right position for the save. It goes for naught though as Brennan scores his team leading 25th goal backhanding a perfect shot while being untouched giving the Marlies the win. Shots favor Toronto 40-27.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Binghamton is technically in first place as they own the tiebreaker over the Penguins winning four out of seven games.
- Cody Ceci got a lot of ice time paired up with Chris Wideman on the first unit and looked to have matured versus last time I saw him in a B-Sens uniform. His shots were off target though, high missing the net but still looked overall decent. He didn’t rush the puck up as much like earlier in the year where now he’s passing letting the forward’s do his work.
- That second Toronto goal all Hammond had to do was get a glove on it. Not sure what he was thinking and he didn’t look so sure himself. He can’t be doing that as Senators should have had this game in their back pocket.
- Robinson continues to play well on the penalty kill and Luke Richardson keeps sending the big guy out there.
- Brennan belongs in the NHL. Awesome player and leads his team in scoring and in points while on defense!
- I don’t remember Murray being in Binghamton since the Calder Cup playoffs in 2011. Could be wrong. The team appeared tentative and nervous as it leaned towards players not wanting to make mistakes. I expect Murray along with Dorion to be here all weekend with Randy Lee joining later.
- Big Friday night game against the Pens looms ahead and should be really exciting with anticipated Pens fans in tow. It will be televised live on TWCS 325.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Brennan (1g 2a)
- #2 Percy (2g)
- #3 Robinson (2g)
Friday Night Host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pens.
Cover photo/inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch.