The Binghamton Senators win back to back games this weekend as rookie goaltending sensation Chris Driedger remains undefeated in stopping 40 shots and Cole Schneider tallied the only goal in a strange SO for a 3-2 victory over the feisty Utica Comets.
Both clubs feel one another out in a competitive opening period as Driedger stops forward Brandon DeFazio‘s tap in front after a wrap around attempt by Darren Archibald. Then Senators’ defenseman Mike Sdao with a few moves of his own (who knew?) down the lane but is stopped by Comet’s goaltender Joacim Eriksson. Binghamton continues to apply pressure as Derek Grant is denied by the corner of the cage.
A sweet blocker save comes from Driedger off a shot by Utica’s Joseph LaBate in front as he has looked good so far. With Senators’ Garrett Thompson in the box for tripping, Comets are organized in the offensive zone with Driedger making a chest save off the one timer from Cory Conacher, but Binghamton is able to kill off the power play. Senators with a slight shot advantage 14-1o.
Off a faceoff win by forward Alexandre Grenier, as he gathers near the puck and chips it to Hunter Shinkaruk parked in front and with the tap in for a 1-0 lead 50 seconds into the second. Senators go on a power play and have great puck movement from the first unit but can’t connect as Driedger stops Conacher on the other end. Binghamton ties it on a Utica turnover by forward Mike Zalewski by the blue line as Schneider picks up from where he left off from last night and scores his 28th of the season sending the biscuit by Eriksson.
Driedger with a big save on defenseman Travis Ehrhardt but can’t stop a two on one with Brandon DeFazio taking a short cross ice pass from Brendan Gaunce and shoots high hitting the crossbar and in as the Comets regain the lead. But with 4:51 left Derek Grant and Buddy Robinson creates a two on one rush of their own as Robinson pops home the rebound from Grant’s wrister to tie it up at two a piece.
In the overtime period, fun times as both clubs get close in scoring and some exciting three on three action transpires half way through, but it’s going to take a shootout to decide this one for only the second time for Binghamton this season.
Schneider scores on the first attempt shooting high upper left corner that stands to be the winner after three rounds are completed. However, referee Kendrick Nicholson lets play continue with two addition rounds for a total of five. The weird twist is that the Binghamton bench allows it as this game should have been over already.
The rule clearly states this after overtime; If neither team scores, the game advances to a shootout, with each team getting three attempts. If the score remains tied, the shootout progresses to sudden-death rounds until a winner is determined. AHL Website
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- So say the Comets win it in round 4, the Senators would’ve been declared the winners if they filed a protest as there’s just no way around it. Ahhh, life in the minors.
- Robinson scored his 12th of the season as he’s been snake bitten around the net lately.
- Ex-Sens forward Wacey Hamilton hasn’t lost a step in the faceoffs as that has been his specialty over the years. He won a crucial one in the Comet’s zone in the second period with his team short on a 5 on 3 disadvantage.
- Darren Kramer trying to goad Utica’s defenseman Frank Corrado into a fight in the first period as the two were chipping at one another through out the night.
- Senators and Phantoms are tied with 72 points each for 3rd place in the East as Lehigh Valley has a game on hand.
- With Ottawa making the post season earlier today, look for the Black Aces going up from Binghamton once the season is finished. I would imagine 3 forwards, 2 defensemen and possible Driedger depending on the status of Robin Lehner.
Forwards – Prince-Camper-Schneider, A Wideman-D Grant-Hobbs, Guptill-Dzingel-Robinson, Kramer-McCormick-Thompson
Defense – Claesson-Lepine, Johnson-Grant, Sdao-Wideman
Out – Matt Tassone, Patrick Mullen, Danny New and David Dziurzynski, injured. Mathew Zay and Troy Rutkowski, healthy.
Utica Comets return to action next Wednesday in a rematch with the Senators at the Arena.
*Cover Pic & Inserts Courtesy of SenShot’s Photographer Alicia Strauch