Fast starts continue to be hard to find for the Binghamton Senators, but thanks to some clutch goaltending and their goal scoring depth, they still managed to beat the Portland Pirates in game two to take a 2-0 series lead in the Atlantic Division final.
For the second time on the series, Binghamton found themselves down 1-0 in the first period when Derek Whitmore put the puck past Robin Lehner. A late first-period powerplay gave the Sens a few good opportunities to score, but they couldn't convert, and finished the first down 1-0 on the scoreboard and 15-10 in shots.
The second period started with much of the same. Portland came out firing, and early in the period Mark Mancari scored his second to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Binghamton didn't even get a shot on Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth until the 8:28 mark, but that first shot of the period was a short-handed tally by Kaspars Daugavins that cut the Pirates' lead in half. Minutes later, game one hero Zack Smith fired a laser-beam past Enroth to knot the game at two. The a few minutes after that, Bobby Butler extended his scoring streak to five games with a powerplay marker, and the B-Sens had their first lead of the night. But Bingo was still outshot 15-10 in the second, and were being outshot 30-20 through two periods.
Mancari scored his second of the night mid-way through the third period to tie it once again, but Bobby Raymond-the defenceman on a professional try-out contract with the B-Sens while the team deals with injuries on the blueline-scored his first of the post-season to restore Bingo's lead. Daugavins salted things away with an empty-netter late in the third, and Binghamton won 5-3 despite being outshot by a massive 46-26 count.
B-Sens Hero: Kaspars Daugavins
Daugavins' terrific solo effort to get the B-Sens back into the game in the second period was a huge boost for Binghamton, and kick-started their offence to set them on the road to their comeback. It seems like every night, someone new steps up for Binghamton, and tonight was Daugavins' night.
B-Sens Hero: Bob Raymond
Raymond had spent the regular season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, but if he keeps playing like he did for Bingo tonight, I'd be surprised if he's not in the AHL next year. On top of his goal (which proved to be the game-winner), Raymond also had an assist and now has two points in two AHL playoff games. Not bad.
B-Sens Hero: Zack Smith
Another two-point night for Z. Smith. After being the hero in game one, Smith scored for the second straight game, tying it up in the second. He also earned an assist on Karspars Daugavins shorthanded goal that got Binghamton on the board. Smith has recorded 4P (2G, 2A) so far in this series.
B-Sens Hero: Robin Lehner
Fifth straight start, fifth straight win for Binghamton's rookie netminder. As impressive as his first four wins were-including three pressure-packed overtime wins-Thursday's might have been Lehner's most challenging, as he faced a season-high 46 shots against. He stopped 43 of them, though, good enough for a .934 save percentage.
B-Sens Zero: Geoff Kinrade
Tough night for the one-time double-overtime hero, as Kinrade was on the ice for all three goals Portland scored (although he was also on for the empty-netter, so he finished -2 on the night). Considering the insane amounts of ice time Kinrade's been playing through the first nine games of the post-season it's hard to fault him for an off-game, but Thursday was definitely an off-game.
Unfortunate historical fact:
This is the first time Bingo's had a 2-0 series lead since they did so in the 2005 East Division semi-final against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins-a series lead Bingo went on to give up when they lost the next four games and in doing so, lost the series.