Though I was distracted for the first few minutes of the game by the comic inability of the Rochester announcers to pronounce
Smith Mika Zibanejad, I was able to concentrate on the Binghamton and Rochester trading opportunities throughout the first. The game had good flow and speed from the start. Neither teams had much zone control with most chances coming on the rush. Curiously, despite the offensive flavour at the start of the game, neither team could gain much traction on their multiple powerplays, at least until Hugh Jessiman tipped a Patrick Wiercioch point blast in the second.
Binghamton surrendered the goose egg Robin Lehner was riding into the third period, but held on for a 3-1 win on the legs of a two-goal night from Dave Dziurzynski. Binghamton now has a perfect 2-0 record on the season, with only two goals allowed. Now, let's get to the stuff you really came here for. Here are some of the performances I thought really stood out in tonight's game.
Mika Zibanejad- The Rochester announcers had a tough time getting his name out, and he made them call it a lot to open the game. "Zibooneejod", "Janebad" and so forth had a number of good opportunities, showing off his powerful stride and terrific vision. He nearly had a goal of his own in the second, but was stymied by the glove hand of Leggio. He was an animal out there.
David Dziurzynski- Fantastic first goal. Dziurzynski pulled a toe-drag, used his own man (Mark Stone) as a screen and rifled it top corner on the glove side. Yet, even before his goal, Dziurzynski was skating with speed and had nearly created a goal on a 2-on-1 a few minutes earlier. His patience on an empty net goal (short-handed, for good measure) was icing on the cake. Dziurzynski is a two-year veteran of the AHL and yet is one of the lesser known values on this team. It would be a little immodest and silly to point out I had anticipated this, seeing as it's only been one game. Won't do that, then.
Mark Stone- One can't help but notice his presence on nearly every shift. If foot-speed is still a problem, Stone is doing a masterful job of masking it with his hockey sense and intelligent reads. He cut off a pass in the first period on the forecheck that resulted in a good shot on target, and was a part of numerous rushes. With one NHL playoff game and now two AHL matches under his belt, Stone has yet to have a sub-par game at the professional level. There's no rush.
Patrick Wiercioch- This is a tough one. Wiercioch had an up-and-down game, putting up a solid offensive performance, which was lacking the last two years, but also taking a penalty against a speedier forward and doing a spotty job containing the Americans' forwards.
Stephane da Costa- Yesterday's fan interest needs to have a good season in Binghamton. He was all over the nice for much of the game against Rochester, including slick moves to get around two Amerk defensemen on his way to a shot on goal.
Mike Hoffman- Smooth skating, nose for the net, Hoffman has developed his game from last season.
Robin Lehner- Looked great through two, and it took a snipe from Rochester captain Kevin Porter to beat him near the start of the third period. Lehner is going to compete for time with the recently signed Ben Bishop, so he needs more games like this. Lehner had help from his defenders: Binghamton did a good job boxing out Rochester's offense, only having a few breakdowns. When the defence did collapse, Lehner stood strong.
Jared Cowen- I was initially going to put down Cowen as having an off night. Partly owing to very high expectations, I felt Cowen's play at the outset of the game lacked a certain urgency. He certainly made up for it, though--he plays at a different level, often making deliberate offensive plays under a tight forecheck with patience. He is playing in a league a notch below where he belongs, and even in a very competitive AHL this year, it shows.
Marcus Foligno- Clearly a Sens killer on every level, Foligno executed some fantastic plays for Rochester and was their best forward. Maybe they can trade him for a tall defenseman someday.
David Leggio- With Binghamton Senators on his doorstep, the Rochester 'tender absorbed a number of shots and let very few fall back out. His very impressive play stifled the Senators' high-flying offense, which has clearly bought into their coach's style.
Jakob Silfverberg- This is some serious nitpicking, and somewhat of a practice in looking for flaws where there were few. Silfverberg didn't have a bad night, but he did have a fairly quiet one. Tonight wasn't much of an indictment of his play, as you can't be the star every game, but this was not his best.
Binghamton's next challenge to their unbeaten record is Friday night against division rival Hershey Bears.