Zack Smith's clutch face-off skills helped Binghamton advance to the Calder Cup Finals.
After many close calls, Binghamton was able to sweep the Charlotte Checkers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Binghamton got first blood for the fourth time in the series, with a Ryan Potulny powerplay goal, his 14th of the Calder Cup playoffs. Minutes later, Charlotte went on the powerplay, but it was Kaspars Daugavins that scored short-handed, as Binghamton got their second goal of the period. Daugavins's goal was Binghamton's fifth short-handed goal of the playoffs.
However, Charlotte answered back with two goals to tie it late in the second period. Charlotte forward Chris Terry scored Charloote's first goal of the game to cut the lead to one, and a minute later defenseman Casey Borer scored his first goal of the playoffs to tie it. Both offenses were alive in the second, as Charlotte had 18 shots to Binghamton's 13.
When the third period arrived, the BSens took advantage of their opponent's desperation, drawing two slashing penalties in a row, giving Binghamton more than a minute of 5-on-3 time. Andre Benoit was able to convert the advantage with his third goal of the playoffs, a shot that found its way through a mass of people. The remainder of the period was a battle, and Charlotte refused to be put away. The back and forth action had the near capacity crowd on its feet until Chris Terry scored his second goal of the night with under two minutes remaining to send the game into overtime.
In their first overtime game since game seven against Manchester, the BSens came out strong but seemed to grow more tentative as the period went on. It was obvious they didn't want to make a mistake and cost themselves the game. That may be why it was such a shock to everyone when Ryan Keller scored his eighth playoff goal, shooting right off a Zack Smith faceoff win to send the BSens to the Calder Cup finals for the first time. The goal stunned both the players and the crowd, and once the realization of what had just happened set in, the celebration began.
BSens Hero: Ryan Keller
The captain of Binghamton Senators showed up when his team needed him the most and scored the most important goal in history of the team. Does anything else need to be said?
BSens Hero: Robin Lehner
Lehner again showed up in overtime to get his tenth postseason win this season. Lehner made 42 saves and allowed only three goals throughout the the entire 73 minutes he was one the ice. Though the Checkers' first two goals came rapidly, Lehner could not be faulted on either one. His inexperience showed on Terry's second goal, however, as he was beaten cleanly by a deke during a two-on-one.
BSens Hero: Special Teams
Both of Binghamton's regulation time goals were scored by a special teams unit. The powerplay went 2-for-5 and the penalty kill went 0-for-3 with a shorthanded goal and a huge kill in overtime. That level of contribution is a good recipe for a win.