On Boxing Day, the Binghamton Senators hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for their fourth of eight matchups this season, and maybe some leftover turkey. The Sens have been winless in their first three games against the Penguins, and hoped to fix that on Friday night.
After some shaky play from Hammond of late, coach Luke Richardson went with Scott Greenham in net to try and get the Sens back on track. The Sens came out flying in the first period, outshooting the Penguins 19-9 in the opening frame. Max McCormick got the Sens on the board with five minutes to go in the first. After a failed Pens breakout pass, McCormick picked it off and backhanded one past the Penguin goaltender, Jeff Zatkoff.
The Sens would continue to take it to the Penguins in the second period, but couldn't manage to extend their lead despite outshooting them again by a 13-5 margin. While the Sens held the shot lead, Greenham did come up with some great saves to keep the Penguins off the board.
Midway through the third, Ryan Dzingel and Cole Schneider would break into the zone. They would work a give-and-go to perfection, and Dzingel would show off his dzangles and go backhand-forehand to put the Sens up 2-0. Shortly thereafter, they would connect again to give the Sens some insurance. Darren Kramer would start a 3-on-2 rush by feeding Schneider up the right wing. He then threw it across to Dzingel streaking down the middle, who made no mistake putting it over Zatkoff's right shoulder for his second of the game.
The Penguins would take it to the Sens in the third, but Greenham would shut the door for the shutout win. The win gives him his first win in his last five appearances and his first AHL shutout.
Binghamton Senators 3 - W-B/Scranton Penguins 0
Binghamton Senators Record: 13-13-3
Saturday: Binghamton Senators at Hershey Bears
After dropping their first of eight games against their division rival Hershey Bears, the Sens went back into chocolatetown seeking revenge for their 5-2 loss back at the start of the month. After his shutout on Friday, the Sens turned to Greenham in between the pipes again.
The Bears would open the scoring on a late first period powerplay on a blast from the point. Just over a minute later, Fredrik Claesson and Alex Grant must have got their signals crossed and left a Bear wide open in the low slot for a quick goal to put the Sens down 2-0 going into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, Carter Camper, Shane Prince, and Darren Kramer would break in to the zone. After some scrambling for the loose puck, Claesson came in and buried it for his third of the season. Later in the second, the Sens were able to catch the Bears' goaltender scrambling back into his net. Camper faked a shot in the slot and then dished it over to Schneider who ripped it past a sprawling goalie to even the game at two. Before the second period closed, the Bears powerplay would strike again when a rebound off a point shot would find its way into the slot to put them up 3-2 heading into the break.
Late in the third, the Sens would get their chance on a powerplay. Claesson passed it cross-ice to Alex Grant at the opposite point who unleashed a one-timer that went top shelf. On the goal, Derek Grant was doing an excellent job of screening the Bears goalie and made it next to impossible for him to see the blast from the point. The 3-3 game would be headed for overtime. After a save by Greenham, Claesson would advance the puck along to Dzingel. It would be Dzingel's night to shine again as he fired the overtime winner through the five-hole. The win extends the Sens winning "streak" to two.
Binghamton Senators 4 - Hershey Bears 3 (OT)
Binghamton Senators Record: 14-13-3
Who Stood Out This Week:
Ryan Dzingel: He put on a show this week, scoring two goals in Friday's game and then adding the overtime winner on Saturday night. After a slow start to the season, he now has scored in three of the past four games. He's been playing with more of a shoot-first mentally recently that has started to pay dividends for him. With Jean-Gabriel Pageau being called up with the big club in Ottawa, it gives an opportunity for the B-Sens to move up the lineup. Could Dzingel help fill that void? That remains to be seen, but he has shown some glimmers of potential.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, December 31 at 6:00pm. Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Binghamton Senators
Friday, January 2 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at W-B/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, January 3 at 7:00pm. Syracuse Crunch at Binghamton Senators
Notable Updates from North American Prospects:
Nick Paul: Scored his first goal of the World Junior tournament on Friday against Slovakia.
Tobias Lindberg: He scored two goals and added an assist in an Oshawa Generals 5-4 win over the Peterborough Petes.
Francis Perron: Picked up a goal and an assist in a 8-3 blowout loss to Val d'Or on Sunday.