Binghamton traveled to Pennsylvania for a rare mid-week matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to cap off a road trip that lasted six games and took them through four states.
Taking on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their tenth game of the season, Binghamton entered with a record of 4-4-1. Both defenses were strong and both goalies were impenetrable and acrobatic through sixty-five minutes. It took eight rounds of a shootout before the Penguins could come away with two points, but there are certainly some positives for Binghamotn to take away heading into the weekend. Let's get into the stuff everyone wants to hear about:
Penalty Kill: With Shane Prince off for a questionable tripping call near the start of the second, Mark Borowiecki took a swing in the direction of a bouncing puck. He ended up only finding the face of Eric Tangradi, earning himself a double minor and a nearly complete two-man advantage for the Penguins, with two extra if they were able to kill it off. Kill it off they did, escaping unscathed from 4:05 of 4-on-5 hockey. The penalty kill, which has a league high four short-handed goals, added two chances a man short. Also, Binghamton killed off a tense 4-on-3 opportunity for Wilkes-Barre in overtime.
Robin Lehner: Having him in this list will never get redundant. Lehner looked strong and confident all night, handling rebounds well and deflecting shots away from dangerous areas in a cool, collected manner. Once again, his smooth play with the puck was an asset for the B-Sens, helping direct the traffic after Penguin dump-ins. Lehner's defenders looked confident in front of him and there were few moments of chaos in the slot.
Robin Lehner: Okay, I see how it could get redundant. But Lehner stopped 34 shots through regulation and overtime. If that isn't enough to satisfy, this was Lehner's second start against the Penguins this year. How did he fare in the first one? He stopped 35 of 36. So, through two games against the Pittsburgh affiliate, Lehner has stopped 69 of the 70 shots they've directed his way.
Andre Petersson: He wasn't a standout offensively or on the powerplay. But partway through the third period, Robin Lehner was run over in his crease and Andre Petersson hustled back, literally flying into the offending Penguin. He jumped to defend his goalie. And that deserves hero status. Shane Prince also joined the scuffle and drew some blood from the forehead of Bobby Farnham, who created a mild ruckus in his first game for Wilkes-Barre. Andre Petersson also scored one in the shootout, reading Zatkoff's attempted pokecheck well, drawing the puck back and firing it past the lunging Penguin goalie.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: The most striking part of Pageau's game is his poise. In his first year out of junior, Pageau has adopted the confidence of a veteran, turning back behind his own net when he doesn't see the right outlet and creating offense through a tenacious forecheck. He is all over the ice with speed and good vision. Exciting player.
The Powerplay: It looked like rubbish. Granted, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton announcer did point out during the second period that the Penguins had killed off thirty-three straight penalties. It isn't much for Binghamton's powerplay to take solace in. There were too many uncontrolled bouncing pucks and dilly-dallying on entry leading to easy clears, though they did generate some solid shots on goal in their third period man-advantage. One highlight, if we can call it that, was Patrick Wiercioch having his pocket picked at the blueline, only to turn around and execute some quick stick-work to prevent a rush the other way. Best moment of the powerplay on the night was a giveaway and recovery, so read into that what you will.
Binghamton's next game is Saturday night, as they'll play host to the Norfolk Admirals.