After dropping their season opener in overtime to the Worcester Sharks one week ago, the Binghamton Senators went into the weekend hoping to add their first tick in the win column. On Friday, the Senators welcomed the Portland Pirates to town for what was a penalty-filled affair. The game also offered David Dziurzynski an opportunity to renew his childhood rivalry by playing against his brother Darian.
To follow up his excellent performance last week, coach Luke Richardson chose to stick with Andrew Hammond in net. The Sens were given a scare early when Portland's Jordan Szwarz barrelled into Hammond. Luckily, Hammond summoned his inner Lehner and got up fine after the huge collision.
Midway through the first period on the penalty kill, Buddy Robinson showed off his wheels off a Pageau face-off win when he picked up the puck just inside his own blue line, out-skated a Portland defender, and made a nice deke to bury it on the backhand past former Binghamton goalie Mike McKenna.
A few minutes later during a delayed penalty call, the Sens kept the pressure on in the offensive zone. They worked the puck up to the point for a blast from Chris Wideman before the rebound was buried in the low slot by Shane Prince to give the Sens a 2-0 lead.
While on a second period powerplay, everything went wrong for the Sens. A turnover near the blue line gave the Pirates a shorthanded 2-on-1. A poorly timed dive from defenceman Alex Grant combined with captain Aaron Johnson's late back-check gave the Pirates' forward Jordan Szwarz enough time for a quick shot before firing home the rebound past Hammond.
It didn't take long for Alex Grant and Aaron Johnson to make up for the shorthanded goal against. Just as Johnson stepped out of the box after serving an interference penalty, Grant hit him with a breakaway pass which Johnson ripped top shelf past the Portland goalie to restore the two goal lead.
After putting together seven straight successful penalty kills, Binghamton finally cracked when Portland's Samuelsson tipped a point shot past Hammond. Unfortunately it seems that last year's penalty woes from Ottawa have now found their way to Binghamton. The Sens gave up 9 powerplay opportunities including a last minute 6-on-4 advantage, but Hammond was up to the challenge by only allowing just the one powerplay goal.
Binghamton Senators 3 - Portland Pirates 2
Binghamton Senators record (1-0-1)
Binghamton Senators vs Syracuse Crunch:
Next up, Binghamton went up the road to visit their France travel buddies, the Syracuse Crunch. Hammond was in net again for the Sens, while the Latvian Olympic sensation Gudlevskis was in net for the Crunch.
The Sens wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. Shane Prince raced out of his own end, beating several Crunch players through the neutral zone and dropped a pass off to Wideman and went hard to the net. Prince tipped Wideman's shot on goal and Cole Schneider was going hard to the net on the other side to finish off the juicy rebound before the game was 4 minutes old.
The parade to the penalty box continued in this game, but thankfully the Sens were bringing a Crunch player with them this time. For the second game in a row, Darren Kramer dropped the gloves for a spirited bout. Shortly after Kramer's scrap, Max McCormick discarded his mitts for his first fight of the year.
Early in the second, Jonathan Drouin threw it out front to Paquette who fired it on net but Hammond held his post strong. He took a couple more whacks at it and the puck squeaked over to Marchessault who potted it in the open cage to tie the game at one. Not long thereafter, the Crunch's Vermin ripped one through a screen past Hammond to give the bad guys a one-goal lead.
After a Garrett Thompson scrap and a Syracuse penalty, the Sens powerplay unit took the ice looking to get back in it. Johnson ripped a slapshot looking for a tip from Puempel who tipped it home past Gudlevskis to tie the game at two.
The nasty play continued when a Dziurzynski hit led to him having to drop the gloves shortly thereafter for the game's fourth fight. The teams ended the period tied at two.
Fredrik Claesson came out from behind his own net, fed the puck to Derek Grant up the middle who had the puck bounce of his stick and right to the Syracuse forward. The turnover created a 2-on-0 against Hammond who had no chance getting across to make the save on Blunden from in tight.
Shortly thereafter, Syracuse Crunch forward came cruising through the crease and knocked over Hammond as a point shot flew past him. In my opinion, the goal never should have counted, but unfortunately it is not my opinion that counts. The Senators' complaints fell on deaf ears as the referee would not change his call.
The Crunch put the lockdown on to close out the game for 4-2 win.
Binghamton Senators 2 - Syracuse Crunch 4
Binghamton Senators record (1-1-1)
Who Stood Out this Week:
Andrew Hammond: It does sound cliché, but it always helps when your best penalty killer is your goaltender. Hammond has been a rock in net. He has come up big when he needs to be relied on.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Buddy Robinson: What is not to like about these two? They are speed demons out there. Between the two of them, they have had five breakaways in their first three games and a 2-on-1 in their game on Saturday. If they continue to get quality chances like those, the goals will start to come in bunches.
The Week Ahead:
Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30pm. Binghamton Senators at St. John's IceCaps
Wednesday, October 22 at 7:30pm. Binghamton Senators at St. John's IceCaps
Saturday, October 25 at 7:00pm. Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Binghamton Senators
Sunday, October 26 at 4:00pm. Binghamton Senators at W-B/Scranton Penguins
Notable North American Non-AHL Prospects:
Nick Paul: He has been on a tear to kick off the season with the North Bay Battalion. He has recorded 8 goals and 3 assists in 8 games so far. He shredded the Barrie Colts last Monday for a hat trick and shows no sign of slowing down.
Tobias Lindberg: He seems to have adjusted well to the North American game with the Oshawa Generals as he has put up 5 goals and 8 assists through 11 games.
Francis Perron: The Senators' seventh round draft pick has 6 goals and 8 assists in 11 games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL.
Quentin Shore: He kicked off the season potting one goal and adding an assist in a 3-0 win for the University of Denver.
Ben Harpur: The defenceman has recorded 2 goals and 5 assists through seven games with the Guelph Storm of the OHL.