Andre Benoit (center) added on to his defensemen scoring lead in the playoffs as the Binghamton Senators beat the Charlotte Checkers in game one of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Time Warner Cable Arena is normally home to the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA, and the scoreboard almost looked like that of a basketball game after Thursday night's high-scoring affair between the Binghamton Senators and Charlotte Checkers. The two teams combined for seven goals in the first 20 minutes alone, and had scored 11 by the end of the game, with Bingo coming out on top with a 7-4 win. Binghamton's was the highest output of any team in this year's Calder Cup playoffs, and it came against one of the strongest defensive teams left in the playoffs courtesy of seven different goal scorers. It's fair to say the Sens' scoring depth made a statement.
The first game started off with a bang, as Corey Locke scored his first of the playoffs just over a minute into the game. The Checkers tied it up seconds later, but seconds after that, Kaspars Daugavins but Bingo back up by one. A few minutes after that, with Ryan Potulny in the box for hooking, Andre Benoit scored a short-handed goal to give Binghamton a two-goal lead--but that was cut in half minutes later. The teams each scored one more, and the first period finished with Bingo up 4-3.
Barry Brust led the Sens out for the second period, after coach Kurt Kleinendorst made the atypical move of pulling his goalie while the team was up after Robin Lehner allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first frame. It turned out to be a wise move, though, and Brust turned aside all 17 shots he faced in the middle period. His heroics saved Binghamton's lead until Roman Wick scored the only goal in the second to give Bingo a 5-3 advantage. After Wick's goal, the Checkers pulled goaltender Mike Murphy and put Justin Pogge in for the rest of the game.
A few minutes into the third Wick took a hooking penalty, and Oskar Osala scored with the man advantage to get Charlotte to within one. It looked like the Checkers might fight their way back into the game, but a quick sequence of goals from Daugavins and the Zack Smith in a span of just 25 seconds pretty much killed any momentum Charlotte had worked up.
When all was said and done, Bingo came away with another road win--their seventh in a row--despite being outshot by a 40-22 margin. Game Two is Friday evening in Charlotte once again.
B-Sens Hero: Barry Brust
Coming into the second and replacing Robin Lehner, Brust allowed only one goal off 27 shots, with the only goal coming off a 5-on-3 powerplay advantage. While his team didn't get him much support in the second, they rallied behind him after he allowed his only goal by scoring two quick ones to give Brust the win.
B-Sens Hero: Kaspars Daugavins
Kaspars Daugavins lead Binghamton in goals in their series against Portland, and is off to good start in game one to do it again. Daugavins had three points tonight, including Binghamton's second goal in the first period and assists on Andre Benoit's shorty and Erik Condra's goal in the third.
B-Sens Hero: Depth
Seven different goal scorers for Binghamton tonight. Seven. That's just crazy. Goal scorers included Locke, Daugavins, Benoit, Bobby Butler, Wick, Erik Condra, and Ryan Potulny. This level of offensive depth is almost unheard of.
Great debut: Jared Cowen
Cowen played his second pro playoff game on Thursday, and notched his second pro playoff assist to earn his first pro playoff scoring streak. Not too bad.
Back at it in game two: Robin Lehner
Although Lehner was pulled after the first period and Brust came in to preserve the win for Bingo, coach Kleinendorst said that Lehner's getting an opportunity to bounce back next game. It was his second time being pulled in the last three games, but last time it happened, he came back with a shutout in a series-clinching victory. We'll see what he does in his bounce-back game this time around.