It was a pretty slow week for the Binghamton Senators with only two games on the schedule. They kicked off their weekend by hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday night. The Binghamton Senators welcomed Brad Mills into the lineup after serving his 20-game suspension for violating the AHL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Andrew Hammond also returned to the team after his brief call-up to the big club to serve as a backup to Craig Anderson.
After not seeing any live action in the past two and a half weeks due to a small lower-body injury and the call-up, Hammond was given the start on Friday against the Phantoms. They exchanged chances early on, but the Phantoms were able to put home the first goal before the game was two minutes old. The puck came out from behind the net, and Zack Stortini roofed it backhand over a sprawled Hammond. The Sens went into the first intermission down by one.
Brad Mills got the Sens on the board on an excellent individual effort. He motored through the neutral zone and sniped it from the high slot. Fredrik Claesson followed that up with one of his own on a seeing-eye slapshot from the right point to put the Sens up 2-1.
The Sens would add some insurance on the powerplay midway through the third. Captain Aaron Johnson wristed it on net from the point that the Phantoms' goalie couldn't handle. The rebound dropped in front, Carter Camper and Derek Grant took a couple whacks at it, and then Shane Prince came in to finish it up for his tenth of the season.
Hammond shut the door for the rest of the way, stopping 34 of 35 shots on the night for the 3-1 Senator win. Defenceman Michael Sdao had a pair of spirited scraps, taking on a pair of Lehigh Valley heavyweights.
Binghamton Senators 3 - Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1
Binghamton Senators Record: 12-9-3
Saturday: Binghamton Senators at Hershey Bears
Coming off a big win, the Sens took to chocolate-town for their first of eight meetings this season with the Hershey Bears. After a solid performance the previous night, Hammond got the call in net again.
The game started off with some nastiness, with both Shane Prince and Darren Kramer dropping the mitts in the first five minutes of the game. The Bears would open the scoring on a skate redirection. They would add a second goal when Claesson and Alex Grant were unable to clear the crease and the Bears got too many hacks at it to put it pass a squirming Hammond. Hershey really took it to the Sens in the first, outshooting them by a 13-3 margin and leading 2-0.
The Sens got on the board in the second when Derek Grant tipped home a pass from Shane Prince on the powerplay. Unfortunately the goal was answered right back by the Bears with a powerplay goal of their own on a wide open snipe from the high slot. Soon after, the Sens refused to take the body and the Bears' Carrick danced around the Senator zone and fed Conner for a wide open goal. It was just a brutal defensive letdown to put Hershey up 4-1. Also in the second period, the nastiness continued with both McCormick and Mills getting into scraps of their own.
Derek Grant added his second of the game by speeding to the outside, cutting across in front of the net, and burying it past the Bears' goalie to make it 4-2 Hershey. The Sens wouldn't get any closer and Hershey would add an empty net goal to make the final 5-2. The Senators were outshot 32-20 in the game that saw the teams record 114 penalty minutes.
Binghamton Senators 2 - Hershey Bears 5
Binghamton Senators Record: 12-10-3
Senators are now 12th in the Eastern Conference and just 2 points out of a playoff spot.
Who Stood Out This Week:
Derek Grant: He picked up an assist on Friday and added two goals on Saturday. He now has points in 4 of his last 5 games. He was one of the lone offensive bright spots in Saturday's game when the Sens couldn't generate much in the way of scoring chances.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: With an injury to Zack Smith's wrist in the Ottawa Senators win on Saturday, Pageau got the call on Sunday to join Ottawa for their upcoming game in Buffalo. The call-up is very deserved, he has been playing big tough minutes for the B-Sens in all situations. He leads the team (and is second in the league) with 94 shots on goal and he is also the top forward on the team at a +6. Pageau has picked up eight goals and ten assists for 18 points in 25 games. His linemates have changed very often this season and he has adapted well to the changes. He knows that his speed is one of his biggest assets and he knows how to use it to his advantage. He is very deserving of the call-up and hopefully will do well in Ottawa.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, December 17 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Friday, December 19 at 7:00pm. Springfield Falcons at Binghamton Senators
Saturday, December 20 at 7:00pm. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Binghamton Senators
Notable Updates from North American Prospects:
Ben Harpur: Played in three games from Friday to Sunday, only picking up one assist over the games. He has four goals and 16 assists through 21 games this season for the Guelph Storm.
Francis Perron: He continues to light it up, potting two goals and adding an assist in two games this weekend. The left winger averages four shots per night and has recently seen some action at center.
Quentin Shore: The University of Denver player picked up a goal and assist this weekend against North Dakota. He has six goals and seven assists through 14 games this year.
Nick Paul: He is currently attending Canada's World Junior Selection Camp hoping to find a place on team Canada. There are still cuts to be made, so Paul will have to do his best to stand out this week.
Tobias Lindberg: Played three games this weekend, picking up four assists in the process. The winger is second on the Oshawa Generals with 39 points through 30 games.