The Binghamton Senators went into the week with a disappointing 2-3-2 record. The week featured a pair of games against the Utica Comets and a game back at home hosting the Syracuse Crunch.
The week began with a 20-game suspension to forward Brad Mills for violating the AHL/PHPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Mills is on a AHL contract and is not under contract with the Ottawa team. He has not played for the Senators since being injured in the preseason.
Wednesday: Binghamton Senators vs Utica Comets
As usual, Andrew Hammond got the start for the Sens for the eighth straight game. The teams exchanged chances early in a busy first period. Hammond couldn't locate a loose puck in his crease before the Utica Comets were able to bang it home for a 1-0 lead. On the goal, the defensive pairing of Wideman and Sdao were both caught behind the net.
The Sens were quick to respond. Buddy Robinson won a battle on the boards and the puck squeaked out to Jean-Gabriel Pageau who buried it underneath the Utica goaltender, Eriksson. The busy first period ended with the Comets outshooting the Sens 16-13.
Early in the second frame, the Sens got caught puck watching on a couple of occasions and the Comets took full advantage of both to go ahead 3-1.
The very next shift after the Comets' third goal, the hot streak continued for Chris Wideman. He threw it on net from the corner, it hit a body, and it trickled over the Comet goalie. It was far from a highlight reel goal, but they all count.
Hammond did his job and shut the door the rest of the way, but unfortunately the Sens couldn't find the equalizer.
Binghamton Senators 2 - Utica Comets 3
Binghamton Senators Record: 2-4-2
Friday: Binghamton Senators at Utica Comets
Hoping to bounce back from losing their previous meeting, the Sens gave Hammond a rest and back-up Scott Greenham settled in between the pipes for his first start of the year. Hammond was called up to Ottawa the day before on an emergency basis to back up Craig Anderson while the newest Lehner was being released into the world.
Prior to the game, Binghamton called up Jakub Culek and Danny Hobbs (minor league contract) from the ECHL Evansville Icemen to fill in for injuries to David Dziurzynski and Shane Prince.
Alex Guptill, who came over in the Spezza trade, opened the scoring for the Senators with his first professional goal. Guptill was filling in for the Prince injury on a line with Pageau and Robinson. The goal also ended Utica goalie, Jacob Markstrom's consecutive shutout streak at 238 minutes.
During a late first period powerplay, defenceman Alex Grant stepped into a slapshot and blew it by Markstrom to give the Sens a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The powerplay continued to click in the second period. After working it around the zone, Matt Puempel fed Wideman at the point who unleashed a blast that beat Markstrom clean to put the Sens up 3-0.
Point shots continued to rule the game. The Comets beat Greenham from the point off an offensive draw to cue the comeback. Utica added another two point shot goals in the third period to tie the game at three and force overtime.
In the extra frame, Pageau was hooked on a partial breakaway which gave the Sens a four on three powerplay. After some good movement in the offensive zone, Chris Wideman kept with the theme and blasted home the overtime winner from the point.
Wideman continued his hot streak with a two goal performance. He now has goals in three straight games and points in eight straight.
Binghamton Senators 4 - Utica Comets 3 (OT)
Binghamton Senators Record: 3-4-2
Saturday: Binghamton Senators vs Syracuse Crunch
Andrew Hammond was back in goal for Saturday's meeting against the Syracuse Crunch. The two teams met for their second of eight contests this season. The Sens were looking to come up on the winning of this one after losing their previous match-up 4-2.
After a penalty-filled first period that didn't see either team cash in any powerplay opportunities, the teams entered the second period tied at zero. The Crunch opened the scoring when they took advantage of the Senators' terrible defensive coverage to find a wide open player at the side of the net to give them a 1-0 lead. They later extended their lead to two off a powerplay point shot.
Later, the Guptill-Pageau-Robinson line worked the puck into the zone, Robinson dropped it for Wideman who fired it towards the net. The puck didn't make it all the way through, but Pageau was there to find it and finish it off past the Crunch goaltender for his third of the year.
After some strong forechecking by Ryan Dzingel and Matt Puempel, Dzingel pick-pocketed it from the Crunch defender and dzangled it out front to Puempel who made no mistake in tying the game up at two.
The third period begun with a couple of plays the Wideman-Sdao pairing wish they could have back. They were both left squirming on the ice while Syracuse moved the puck cross-crease for an easy tap in goal. On their next shift, Sdao couldn't handle a breakout pass and the Crunch took advantage with a partial breakaway goal for a 4-2 lead.
Wideman helped make up for his team's defensive blunders by responding with a powerplay goal from the point. It was his seventh goal and 13th point on the season, which ranks him in second in the league for both categories.
The comeback efforts stopped there, and the Crunch added a pair of insurance goals to take the game 6-3. Despite giving up six goals, Hammond (aka. The Hamburglar) did come up with some big saves to keep the Sens in it, but there were too many defensive breakdowns.
Binghamton Senators 3 - Syracuse Crunch 6
Binghamton Senators Record: 3-5-2
The Senators record of 3-5-2 is only good enough for 8 points which currently has them tied for last place in the Eastern Conference.
Who Stood Out this Week:
Chris Wideman: His hot streak continued. He has recorded a point in nine straight games while scoring seven goals and adding six assists. While contributing in a big way this week, he and Sdao must improve on their defensive zone coverage and be smarter with the puck in their own end.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: He has been rock-solid all season, but the points didn't start rolling in until this week when he put up two goals and three assists. He also used his speed to draw a penalty in overtime which led to a Senator overtime winner. He now has three goals and five assists in ten games this season.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, November 5 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Utica Comets
Friday, November 7 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Rochester Americans
Saturday, November 8 at 7:00pm. W-B/Scranton Penguins at Binghamton Senators
Notable Updates from North American Prospects:
Nick Paul: He recorded his second hat trick of the young season on Sunday. He showed some nice hands on his first goal, his sniping ability on his second goal, and then finished off the hat trick with an empty net goal. He now has 13 goals and five assists in 14 games.
Francis Perron: He put up a goal and an assist in back-to-back games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. He now has eight goals and ten assists for 18 points in 15 games.
Chris Driedger: He saw his first action of the season with the Evansville Icemen of the ECHL. He stopped 26 of 29 shots before losing in a shootout.