The Binghamton Senators finally got the big elephant off it’s back in beating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the post season for the first time since April 23rd, 2005 that stretched for eight consecutive wins for the Pens. Stephane Da Costa scored a perfect no look shot up high on Peter Mannino and giving the Sens a 4-3 victory. Mark Stone had a goal and three assists as the Senators tie up the Eastern Conference Quarter Series at one game a piece. This was a do or die contest for the team and the offense finally found their groove in the third period that set up the overtime win. Game three shifts down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday with renewed life for the Senators.
Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton setting the tone in exchanging some heavy checks as we are in the first period of play. Just 4:51 into the period Chuck Kobasew lets a floater in through traffic out front of Andrew Hammond finding the back of the net and the Pens strike first for a 1-0 lead. Momentum carries the Pens way as the play is mostly tied in the Senators zone. However, with Adam Payerl in the box for tripping Patrick Mullen, Chris Wideman answers as his shot is similar to Kobasew’s as the puck has eyes for the back of the cage on a wrist shot from the blue line up high though a screened Mannino and ties up the game at 1-1 and gives some life back to Binghamton.
That renewed life is short-lived as a little over two minutes later Tom Kostopoulos gives the Penguins the lead once again as his one timer snap shot is hard enough to whiz by Hammond’s ear as he committed early going to his knees giving the upper net lots of space and Kostopoulos found it. Defense left him all alone near the circle as the Pens have scored two goals on three shots in the opening period. Senators finish out the first on the power play with great puck control and quick passes with ample amount of scoring opportunities but Mannino slams the door shut.
Into the middle frame just 1:58 in, WBS gets a fluke goal when Reid McNeill shoots the puck around the boards and it caroms off out of the corner on an odd bounce onto the stick of Mike Carman. As Hammond was apparently tracking the puck behind him missed that funny bounce as Carman just shoots through Andrew’s legs and in to his dismay. 3-1 W-B/Scranton on four shots. Yes, three goals on four shots so far in the game.
Mannino buckles down and comes up with some nice saves on a David Dziurzynski slapper that is gloved and a Mullen shot after that. Shane Prince has a nice backhand shot stopped and Fredrik Claesson‘s slap shot is a blocker save. Senators continue to apply pressure but not before Anton Zlobin almost makes it a three goal lead but he whiffed on his one timer that would have spelled trouble for Binghamton as he caught Hammond off guard.
Da Costa gets his first of the playoffs tapping home a Stone shot off the end boards behind the net and in past Mannino who was scrambling around trying to follow the puck as the goal puts some life into the crowd. 3-2 Pens after two periods. Shots favor Binghamton 17-13 for the game.
Stone gets the start of the third period rolling just 23 seconds in as he picks up the loose puck and carries into the slot and unloads a bullet by Mannino to tie up the game at three. That goal sets the tone as Binghamton fans begin chanting “Lets Go Senators” and getting the ole barn rocking. That would wind up being the only goal in the period as they look like their old selves again and their uptempo play leads them to the best period in the series so far. All tied up at three heading to overtime once again.
In the overtime at 11:07 with the Senators attacking Stone tries to get a pass to Cole Schneider in front only to have the puck deflect off of one of his skates and to an open Da Costa as he rakes in the loose puck. Stephane calmly carries in and waits an extra second before roofing a no look shot by a stunned Mannino giving the home crowd the win as they go nuts. Players all smiles and hugs in the celebration that ties up the series at one each as the Senators win 4-3.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Ottawa Senators head coach Paul MacLean was in attendance taking in the action and making notes.
- Another sub par game by Hammond letting in the fluke goal where somehow he lost sight of the puck in the Pens third tally. I just wish he had more fire in his belly once in a while.
- A lot of Ottawa folk in attendance rooting for their baby Sens as it worked out quite well for those making the trip in an entertaining game.
- Matt Puempel is listed day-to-day but should be ready for next Wednesday’s contest in Wilkes-Barre. Corey Cowick and Darren Kramer re-inserted in the line up adding some toughness with Ryan Dzingel out taking a breather.
- Great to have Cody Ceci playing for Binghamton as he brings some NHL experience with him and he’s getting a ton of ice time as well. Kid is going to continue to be good as this is great exposure for him in the post season that perhaps will carry over for Ottawa some day.
- Sens score the last three goals to complete the rare comeback as that shows some true character from the club as the main focus has been get the early lead and build on it. Nice comeback win.
- The club finally discovered some passion tonight in the third period that has been lacking. It took the team a better part of nearly eight periods in two nights to find it, but they have as their overtime celebration was great to witness as you could tell the relief was genuine amongst the players.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Da Costa(2g)
- #2 Stone (1a 3a)
- #3 Carman (1g 1a)
Playoffs. Game III.
Wednesday Night @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Cover photo & inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch