Don't look now, but the Binghamton Senators are back to playing hockey the same way that got them to the Calder Cup finals.
The new line shakeup for Binghamton got off to a great start in the first period, as Binghamton played their best hockey in the Calder Cup finals and outshot Houston 18-8 in the first period alone. On Binghamton's 12th shot of the game, Cody Bass scored his second goal of the playoffs, beating Matt Hackett on the wraparound. Houston got into penalty trouble later in the first, and Binghamton converted on a 5-on-3 advantage when AHL MVP Corey Locke launched a one-timer past Hackett. For the first time in the series, Binghamton had a two-goal lead.
Binghamton's offense cooled down in the second period, but still beat Houston in shots, 9-8. Both defenses went into shutdown mode, with both sides killing both penalties in the period and making some very punishing hits.
Just a minute into the third, Derek Smith, in just his second game back from injury, scored his first goal of the playoffs. Binghamton's defense continued to limited the Aeroes scoring chances keeping the Aeros to only five shots. Things got heated in the third, as well, and the two teams combined for 74 penalty minutes, but the B-Sens came away with the shutout win and tied the series at two games apiece.
B-Sens Hero: The Offense
It took four games, but Binghamton's offense finally woke up. Before tonight's game Binghamton's highest shot total in the finals was 29, but in game four their shot total was 37. Binghamton's offense played the way they were expected to play since game of the finals: Creating chances, taking full advantage of each powerplay second, and getting the goals when needed.
B-Sens Hero: Robin Lehner
With the offense returning to normal, Lehner turned in another perfect game. In his third shutout game of the playoffs, Lehner stopped all of Houston's 21 shots, and was able to bounce back after tripping in his creasing and falling on his glove hand in the first period.
B-Sens Hero: The Defense
Killing all three of Houston's powerplay wasn't enough in and of itself, but the fact that they were able to beat Houston at their own game was enough for Binghamton's defense to get the Hero nod. The defense limited Houston's shots to single-digits in each period and kept the Aeros' offense starving for decent scoring chances. It wasn't easy, but Binghamton's defense beat Houston at their own game.