Rope-A-Doped: Bingo Leaves Portland With A Huge 2-0 Series Lead


They expected a push back and that’s exactly what they got. The Binghamton Senators went toe-to-toe with the Portland Pirates in game two of their Atlantic Division final series on Thursday night hoping to snag a commanding 2-0 lead. It didn’t look promising early on.

Bingo started the game much like game one the night before, sluggish and disengaged. Portland had a hand in it. Realizing the precarious position they would be in if they lost this match, the Pirates came out looking every bit like the club that had only lost eight games at home all year. They peppered Robin Lehner with shots from all angles. By the end of the first, the shots were 15-10 for the Pirates and they managed to get one by Lehner to grab the lead.

It was a lot of the same to start the second. In fact, it only took the Pirates a buck and half into the middle frame to expand their leads to two goals. Lehner was doing his best to keep Bingo in game two, but the shots kept coming while his team continued to generate a whole lot of nothing. It was evident that the B-Sens needed something – a hit, a scoring chance, a break – anything to spark them back to life. That spark eventually came, and it came in the form of a nifty Kaspars Daugavins short-handed goal at 8:28 of the period. That goal was apparently exactly what the doctor ordered as the team went on to erase the deficit and then grab the lead on goals by Zach Smith, his second in two games, and Bobby Butler’s fifth tally in five games, all before the end of 40 minutes. The display is becoming something of the mantra of these Bingo Sens. In the spirit of Muhammed Ali and his rope-a-dope style of boxing, the team, intentionally or not, has routinely taken whatever the opponent can dish out early in games and the moment they show weakness or let up, Bingo is quick to strike back, often in bunches. It can be a dangerous technique, but with the excellent goaltending of Lehner since entering the playoff picture, it is thus far paying off for the Ottawa Senators AHL affiliate.

Stunned by the transition of their lead into a trailing situation, Portland tried to get back on the offensive in the third. They fired five shots on the Bingo goalie before the three minute mark and eventually got one through at 10:06, it was Mark Mancari’s second of the night. It looked like overtime was on the horizon, but in true B-Sens fashion, they scored a late regulation goal to take back the lead for good. The goal was Bobby Raymond’s first of the post-season. Daugavins capped off the night with an empty netter. Final score was 5-3 for the rope-a-dope road warriors.


The final shot total was lopsided in favour of the Pirates, 46-26. Lehner made 43 saves for his fifth straight “W”, hard not to get excited about this guy’s future if you’re a Sens fan. The win was the first multi-goal margin of victory for Bingo in these playoffs. The B-Sens went 1-3 on the power play while Portland went 0-2, giving up a shorty as well.

The scene now shifts back to Binghamton for game three, Saturday at 7 PM. Should be an amazing atmosphere at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena as bus loads of Sens fans are expected to make the trek and be in attendance along with Bingo’s great local area fans. Go BinGo!


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