Calder Cup Final: Bingo Captures The 75TH Annual AHL Championship


Late Tuesday night in Houston Texas, the Binghamton Senators became the 25th different American Hockey League team to win the Calder Cup in the league’s 75-year history. The B-Sens scored a comeback 3-2 victory in the third period of Game #6. The type of win the team had been achieving all throughout this miracle run – gutsy, determined, never-say-die. For the city of Binghamton, the Championship is unparalleled. This is the first time a professional hockey team hailing from the city has tasted ultimate victory in its 29 years of participation. For the baby Senators franchise, this is it’s first championship in its 11-year existence.

Earlier in the day, the city of Binghamton made life a whole lot tougher on its team by announcing plans for a parade in the, apparently very likely, event that they won the Cup. The announcement was completely unnecessary and no doubt made its way on to the bulletin board inside the Houston Aeros dressing room, providing them with extra motivation. Being prepared in advance is typically a smart modus operandi, but with nothing decided and still so much on the line, just an utterly stupid piece of news for the city to come out with. The “hockey gods” have punished teams for far less.

Game #6 started out cautiously and evenly. After a scoreless first period, Roman Wick and the B-Sens broke the ice with a garbage goal in close at 2:28 of the second frame. With a goal in the bank and the road team carrying the play, the penalty trouble began. Through the remainder of the period, Bingo was on the wrong end of four straight penalty calls (some more justified than others). Houston was able to capitalize on two of the four PPs and snagged at 2-1 lead through 40 minutes of play. Thoughts of the premature parade plans loomed large. The B-Sens would have to draw from the well one last time if they wanted to avoid the uncertainty of a Game #7.

Cue the third period, championship-calibre heroics.

Not long into the third stanza, Bingo was granted a power-play of their own and Bobby Butler made them pay. The rookie set phasers to kill and netted the game tying goal only 3:26 into the period. Huge goal, but not the hugest. Those honours were reserved for series clinching specialist, Captain Ryan Keller. On yet another power-play, the heart and soul of the small-market franchise went short-side roof on a bewildered Jeff Hackett. The Aeros and their fans were stunned and could see the writing as it appeared on the wall. With 10 minutes separating them from AHL supremacy, Robin Lehner and the Binghamton Senators went into lock-down mode. Special credit to Geoff Kinrade with the game-saving shot block in the final minute of play.

As the clock hit zero, black jersey-clad hockey players streamed towards playoff MVP Lehner as he flung his blocker and trapper into the air. The team that not many picked to get out of the first round is now sipping beer and bubbly out of the Calder Cup. Congratulations, again, to the organization and the city – Binghamton – 2011 Calder Cup Champions!

And that parade, which would have been the bane of Bingo’s existence had the whole thing gone awry, is set to go this evening at 6pm in downtown Binghamton. For now there is only one thing left to say, “Take it away Freddy…” Video courtesy Queen Official.


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