No overtime was needed in this one as the Binghamton Senators were eliminated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a score of 5-1 in the Eastern Conference Quarter playoffs taking the five game series in four 3-1. Chuck Kobasew had a goal and an assist and ex-Senator Andrew Ebbett had a goal and two assists to lead the Penguins in Game 4 as the Senators got into early penalty trouble and dug themselves in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Veteran goaltender Peter Mannino grabbed second star honors making 26 saves, some timely as the B-Sens couldn’t find the back of the net in this game or the entire series after leading the league in scoring in the regular season.
Binghamton comes out strong in the first period and buzzing early as Luke Richardson has moved up Jean-Gabriel Pageau up with Stephane Da Costa and Mark Stone on the top line as they get early scoring chances but Mannino is there for several key saves. Mannino another big save on Da Costa from Pageau on a rush as the pressure continues. Unfortunately Chris Wideman kills the momentum as gets his first of back to back penalties for himself but Sens kill the first one with Hammond coming up big on Kobasew. The second Wideman call for delay of game gets better pressure by the Penguins as they would score with Ebbett’s cross ice pass to Kobasew as he one times it hard up high on Hammond that was initially looked to go off the crossbar and wasn’t called a goal until video review changed that non call into a good one, 1-0 Pens.
That Penguins goal looks to temporary zap the Senators energy as they get a little careless when Buddy Robinson goes off for slashing and soon after Alex Grant‘s clearing attempt ends up in the crowd and is called for delay of game for the second time to give WBS a five on three. Not before Binghamton gets a three on one shorthanded rush ending up with Patrick Mullen going from his forehand to the backhand but Mannino falls on the puck stopping play.
Second period with W-B/Scranton on the man advantage, gets a bad start for the B-Sens as David Dziurzynski gets called for high sticking putting the Pens up on another five on three situation for 53 seconds. Unbelievable. It didn’t take long for them to increase their lead as Kobasew, without a stick and Pageau bearing down, gets it to Brian Dumoulin for a one time slap shot from the blue line making it 2-0 game. There was some traffic in front for Hammond to deal with but don’t know if it was a factor if he was eventually screened or not.
Pens add to their lead scoring goal number three as Senators just now playing sloppy, undisciplined hockey with Dominik Uher shoots from deep in the right circle past Hammond which Andrew seemed he lost the puck somehow. Binghamton calls a timeout as Luke Richardson looks to settle down his troops. Frustrations mount up soon after as Corey Cowick levels Mannino with a little theatrics from the goaltender but a melee soon follows with Penguins coming out of it with their seventh power play of the evening.
Wilkes-Barre once again pads their lead when Kobasew blocks a Senator shot before diving for the puck in center ice to Ebbett who breaks in on Hammond and beats him down low far side for a 4-0 lead. All Kobasew on that one making the extra effort in getting the puck to a streaking Ebbett. Da Costa and Zach Sill get calls but Stephane slams his stick on the glass in the box and gets the extra two for another PP for the Pens.
In the third period Binghamton finally gets on the board with Da Costa’s cross ice feed to Shane Prince on the power play who’s left alone far corner and buries it in past Mannino ending the shutout bid and making it 4-1 contest. Quickly after Cole Schneider follows up with a wrist shot from the hash marks as John Hynes calls a timeout not liking what he sees from his players. Then Mannino robs Pageau in close on a backhander that was close to going in but didn’t as Richardson pulls Hammond with a little more than four minutes left for the extra attacker but Binghamton can’t get settled for a scoring opportunity as Harry Zolnierczyk scores in the empty net set up by Tom Kostopoulos upping the score to 5-1 and putting a stamp on this one with the Penguins advancing.
Both teams line up at center ice for the customary traditional handshakes exchanging players respect for the game and sharing well wishes for one another.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Goaltending was a big factor as Hammond faced his first professional post season and did his best but fell short to WBS and Mannino who played very well the entire series.
- I don’t know how many minutes Kobasew played tonight but himself and Ebbett were constantly on the ice playing in all situations as Hynes rightfully so went with the veterans. Both players ended up with six points a piece in four games as they carried the Pens team along with Mannino, who ended up with a 2.02 gaa.
- Bryan Rust had a breakaway and his stick was hit by Mullen in setting up a penalty shot with 17.9 seconds left in the third. Rust skated in but lost control near the net giving credit for Hammond making an effort with absolutely nothing to lose except his pride.
- Senators were simply outclassed by the veteran laden Penguins squad and couldn’t establish some footing except in Game 2 ‘s comeback. Both games in Pens territory were tough, as the Sens lacked energy and flow going in, as perhaps the team got to comfy at home playing the last eight out of eleven including the first two in the post season and not enough time was spent on the road.
- Richardson and Kostopoulos were the last ones to shake hands at the end and had a rather lengthy conversation between the two.
- A follow-up article with what went wrong for the Senators will be coming up in the next few days.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Ebbett (1g 2a)
- #2 Mannino (26 saves)
- #3 Dumoulin (1g 1a)
Cover photo & inserts courtesy of Jeff Ulmer.