The Binghamton Senators looked at game three as an opportunity to make a statement, and make a statement they did with a 7-1 victory over the Charlotte Checkers. The win puts
Bingo the B-Sens just one away from making their first ever Calder Cup Finals appearance.
Erik Condra gave Binghamton the lead just before the mid-way point of the first period, and the Senators finished the first with a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 15-10 in the period.
Early in the second, Zack Smith scored back-to-back goals to put Bingo up 3-0. Jon Matsumoto responded for the Checkers, but from there on out, it was all Senators.
Ryan Keller expanded Binghamton's lead just 55 seconds into the third, and Bobby Butler, Z. Smith, and Roman Wick piled on to the score. Charlotte fired another 11 shots at Robin Lehner in the third period, but he stopped them all en route to a 37-save performance.
After all was said and done, Binghamton's high-powered offence fueled the team to their most convincing win of the post-season so far. Solid goaltending by Lehner, combined with the scoring prowess, left the Checkers with little cause for optimism heading into the fourth game of the series, which will take place Wednesday night.
B-Sens Hero: Zack Smith
Remarkably, Z. Smith has six playoff goals, and they've come in the form of two playoff hat tricks. Zack Smith put up three goals in game three, becoming the second Senator to score a hat trick in these playoffs. Tonight he added an assist for a four-point night, and led the B-Sens in shots on net with five of them. Also noteworthy: His second goal was a short-handed marker, the AHL-leading fourth of the post-season for Binghamton.
B-Sens Hero: Robin Lehner
Hell of a game for Lehner tonight. He stopped 37 of 38 shots faced, and in the last two games has allowed just one goal, outperforming the former hottest goalie of the AHL playoffs (Mike Murphy) by a wide margin. He also had an assist in the game, which--hilariously enough--gives him as many playoff points as Patrick Wiercioch.
B-Sens Hero: Penalty Kill
Binghamton's penalty kill shut the door, stopping all six of Charlotte's powerplay opportunities and scoring shorthanded. Jared Cowen and Andre Benoit have both been particularly strong on the PK, as has Lehner. In the series, Binghamton has killed off 14 of 16 penalties.