*My thoughts and prayers goes out to our friends and families north of the border and to those that were affected by the shootings today at Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa and to the solder that past away due to his injuries.
Matt Puempel was going to either shoot or pass and it paid off with a nice dish to Chris Wideman as the Binghamton Senators win in overtime 3-2 earning the season’s first road victory and first ever on ‘The Rock’. The tight defensive minded contest featured a nice bounce back effort from the team led by Andrew Hammond‘s 40 saves for their second win in five tries. It’s a sweet victory to lift the spirits on a rather stressful day for the organization and the events that took place earlier on in Ottawa, Canada.
Forwards – Prince-Pageau-Robinson, Kramer-D Grant-McCormick, Puempel-Camper-Schneider, New-Dzingel-Thompson
Defense – Claesson-Mullen, Johnson-A Grant, Sdao-Wideman..Hammond in goal.
Early on see the Senators playing sound defense and structured play forcing St. John’s to take early shots from outside the perimeter. Both teams playing end to end action as play is tightened up with not many scoring chances. Eric O’Dell slams Mike Sdao into the boards as Sdao comes back on a retaliatory hit and is whistle for the infraction. Wideman also is called for slashing to give the IceCaps a two man advantage for two full minutes at 14:45.
Patrick Mullen, Fred Claesson and Derek Grant do a fine job not letting St. John’s get set up. Jean-Gabriel Pageau takes Grant’s place and is equally effective. The trio of Alex Grant, Mullen and Grant finish killing the penalties holding their opponent’s to just one shot. Sens finish out the first on their second power play as Brandon MacLean slashes Ryan Dzingel near the boards. Binghamton gets plenty of chances to score as Wideman misses an open net and A. Grant’s shot is blocked near top of the circle when the horn blows ending the period. Much, much better effort on behalf of the Senators.
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Cole Schneider has a golden opportunity but he shoots the puck over the net instead as we are in the middle stanza. On the other end of the ice JC Lipon is stymied by Hammond with a blocker save as he sneaks around the defense for a brief breakaway as Andrew looks sharp tonight with St. John’s gaining momentum. After a pile up around Peter Budaj, Darren Kramer and Julian Melchiori emerge with a short scrap with nothing amounting except penalties and a power play with Brenden Kichton getting a roughing call for St. John’s.
Another partial breakaway for the IceCaps as Hammond stones Patrice Cormier as he continues his fine work. Keaton Ellerby trips up Shane Prince for the Senators’ fourth power play of the game as the second unit works the puck around swiftly looking for openings as Budaj stops Puempel twice near the net. Just as the period comes to a close, Kris Fredheim trips up Garrett Thompson that will carry over to start the third. St. John’s had the better part of the period but Sens should have momentum coming up.
So much for that momentum into the third when Cormier steals the Senators thunder just at 1:58 in and unleashes a wrist shot on the fly inside the blue line that floats by Hammond’s glove to give the IceCaps the 1-0 lead. Hammond wails on the post with his stick in disgust as he should have come up with the save. It’s soon forgotten however, when Carter Camper scores his first as a Senator parked by the side of the net pouncing on a Claesson point shot and in by Budaj for the rebound goal as the game is tied up 1-1.
The Senators get their first lead of the night as Mullen let’s one loose from inside his blue line through traffic and in past Budaj making it 2-1. St. John’s though fights back when Carl Klingberg again ties it up with 5:00 left in regulation with his quick one timer just outside the crease sending the puck past Hammond’s glove side with a nice feed from behind the net by Chase Balisy, as soon after the horn blows as the two clubs head into overtime.
In the extra session with both teams three aside, Hammond clears the puck out of the zone along the boards where Puempel picks it up at center ice. As he skates into the zone with a lone defender, Puempel waits patiently holding the puck before putting it on an incoming Wideman’s stick as he shoots inside high corner past Budaj for the game winner with 51.4 seconds remaining for the win.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Defense stepped up and played much better. Still high on the shot count with 42 allowed, but a good sign that it’s coming along however slowly it may take.
- Hammond should have had the first goal but that’s the way his games go with just about every one of his he finds a way to let in the simple ones in. It was a heluva shot (or lucky) by Cormier but still.
- Big PK in the first killing off the 5-3 advantage that set the tone as the IceCaps could have ran away with it but Sens defense was there. Good 60 minute effort by the team.
- Hammond gets an assist on the game winner with a smart heads-up pass seeing Puempel all alone near the boards at center ice.
- Daniel New played up front for the second night in a row on the fourth line as Guptill was again scratched. Last night the reason was for insurance on Claesson’s ankle. Tonight’s reasoning?
- Luke Richardson kept to his guns and started Hammond over back-up Scott Greenham, along with keeping the core of the defense intact to hash it out, and both decisions paid off.
PLAYER’S SPOTLIGHT CARD
Senators face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for their first ever look that will take place this Saturday in Binghamton.