Heading into a weekend filled with three games in three days, the Binghamton Senators hosted the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night. The Sens have put up a record of 1-2-1 through four of eight meetings so far this season. Looking to break him out of his funk, coach Luke Richardson looked back to Andrew Hammond in goal who has been pretty disappointing as of late. The game also marked the Binghamton debut for newly signed Todd Bertuzzi.
The Sens came out strong, getting good pressure early and taking it to the Crunch. Binghamton opened the scoring five minutes into the first. AHL All-Star Chris Wideman pinched down the boards, blocked a Crunch clearing shot, and took the puck down low in the zone. He hit Darren Kramer who was going hard to the net with his stick on the ice who was able to chip it by the Crunch goaltender.
They would continue to pepper the Tampa Bay Lightning goaltending prospect, Andrei Vasilevskiy with a ton of shots. Midway through the first, a great individual effort from Matt Puempel on a one-on-one rush as he worked his way into the high slot and ripped it home for the 2-0 lead. A minute later, after some offensive zone pressure, Ryan Dzingel put it on net. Buddy Robinson was doing a great job as a screen in front and was able to redirect it into the net.
Before the first period was finished, the Sens would extend their lead to four on a late powerplay. After working the puck around the zone, captain Aaron Johnson unleashed a slapshot from the point. The rebound popped out to Carter Camper who was able to poke it into the crease. Shane Prince dove to tap in the loose puck to give the Sens a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Sens ended up outshooting the Crunch by a 17-5 margin. The shots were very indicative of the play in the period, but the Crunch did have a few top quality scoring chances in which Hammond stood tall to keep the zero on the board.
Before the second period was three minutes old, Max McCormick would take a pass from Dzingel at the right circle and fire it through the Crunch goalie and find the back of the net. The fifth goal would spell the end of the night for Vasilevskiy, and Kristers Gudlevskis would come in for mop-up duty for the Crunch. The Sens would continue to carry the play for the remainder of the game, but were unable to beat Gudlevskis while holding on to their 5-0 lead.
The Sens ended the game outshooting the Crunch by a 40-18 margin. It was great to see the Sens start to click and put up a full 60-minute effort. Five different goal scorers found the back of the net for the Sens. While he was only tested with 18 shots, Hammond came up with some big saves en route to his second shutout of the season.
Binghamton Senators 5 - Syracuse Crunch 0
Binghamton Senators Record: 16-17-4
Saturday: Binghamton Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Coming off a big 5-0 win the previous night, the Sens went to take on the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The two teams went into Saturday night with their season series tied at two games apiece, with one of the Binghamton losses coming in overtime. In their previous meeting with the Phantoms, Hammond and the Sens gave up three goals on three shots in 36 seconds. So, it couldn't be worse than that... right?
It only took 14 seconds into the first period for the Phantoms to get on the board. A pass out from the corner to a wide open Phantom in the slot who ripped it past Hammond for the first goal of the game. Later in the period following a Binghamton too many men on the ice penalty, the Phantoms tipped home a point shot to go up by a pair.
Before the end of the first, the Sens would answer back off of some nice passing from Dzingel to Mullen to Guptill to the back of the net. The busy first period would end with the Phantoms outshooting the Sens 17-12 and leading 2-1.
The slow starts would continue to haunt the Sens. Just 33 seconds into the second period, the Phantoms would break in on a three on two rush. The Phantoms fired one low on net and were able to bury the ensuing rebound past Hammond. Later in the period after some sustained pressure, the Phantoms circled up to the blueline and wristed one on net that was tipped over Hammond's right shoulder. The Sens went into the second intermission down 4-1.
The third period was filled with four fights, an unsuccessful penalty shot, and yet another Phantoms goal. They broke in 2-on-1, and Nick Cousins kept the puck and roofed his second of the night over Hammond's shoulder followed by a "Money Manziel" goal celebration.
Binghamton Senators 1 - Lehigh Valley Phantoms 5
Binghamton Senators Record: 16-18-4
Sunday: Binghamton Senators at Springfield Falcons
To finish off their back-to-back-to-back games this weekend, the Sens took to Springfield hoping to close out the weekend on a positive note. In their previous matchup back in mid-December, the Sens squandered an early 4-1 lead to drop the game 6-5 in regulation.
The teams traded chances in the first period, but neither were able to find twine as both Binghamton's Peter Mannino and Springfield's Anton Forsberg kept the doors shut. After previously being held off the scoresheet for over a month, Buddy Robinson scored for the second time in the past three games. He broke in the zone, circled the net up to the high slot, and put a hard wrister on net to give the Sens the 1-0 lead in the second period.
Not long after Buddy's goal, David Marshall (one of the new additions from ECHL Evansville) extended the lead to two following a strong skate from Garrett Thompson to beat out an icing call. Soon after that, Buddy Robinson would add his second of the game by putting one off the far post on a 3-on-2 rush. The flurry of goals would continue when a squeaker from the corner would find its way past Mannino to end his shutout bid.
Thanks to a couple Springfield penalties at the end of the period, the Sens found themselves on a 5-on-3 powerplay. They worked the puck around the zone and up to Chris Wideman at the point. He fired a hard slapshot that hit a diving Falcon in front. The puck bounced up high into the air and no one knew exactly where it had ended up, except for Shane Prince who was able to one time the puck past an unsuspecting Anton Forsberg.
The Sens went into the third period up 4-1 and hopefully remembered what happened last time they had a 4-1 lead against the Falcons. The Sens were unable to clear the zone, as the Falcons' Sedlak would be left alone in the high slot and pick a corner on Mannino to trim the lead to two. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Dzingel would then put the Sens shorthanded. The Falcons would take advantage on a shot from the point through a maze of bodies to make it a 4-3 game.
The Sens were able to hold on for the win, with both Puempel and Prince adding empty net goals at the end of the game to seal the deal for a 6-3 Senators win.
Binghamton Senators 6 - Springfield Falcons 3
Binghamton Senators Record: 17-18-4
The Week Ahead:
Friday, January 23 at 7:00pm. St. John's IceCaps at Binghamton Senators
Saturday, January 24 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Hershey Bears
Bert Watch 2015:
Bertuzzi made his Binghamton Senators debut on Friday against the Syracuse Crunch, he played a good game. He didn't exactly stand out, but he didn't do anything to hurt the team. He showed a few signs of rust in terms of speed, but he was able to lay out a couple nice hits. In his first game Bertuzzi was unable to get on the scoresheet, but did have a pair of shots in the contest.
In his second game, Bertuzzi didn't do too much to impress. Before the midway point of the second period, Bertuzzi was already a -3. He didn't play at all in the third period, and rumours were that it was due to a knee injury suffered in the game.
On Sunday, it was announced that Bertuzzi was a healthy scratch, which led to even more rumours to swirl. One reason could be that it would be a bad idea to start out your season with three back-to-back games, or another rumour is that Bertuzzi is finished with Binghamton. Nothing has been officially announced, so as it stands now he is still on his professional tryout contract.
Notable Updates from North American Prospects:
Nick Paul: His five game point streak came to an end this weekend. He recorded one assist through three games this week. His North Bay Battalion team is third in the OHL Eastern Conference.
Vincent Dunn: Scored one goal this weekend for the QMJHL leading Rimouski Oceanic.
Tobias Lindberg: Had a three point game on Saturday against the Belleville Bulls with a goal and two assists for the OHL leading Oshawa Generals.
Chris Driedger: The Evansville Icemen lost 4-3 on Saturday night, with Driedger stopping 27 of 31 in the losing effort.
Quentin Shore: Picked up an assist in back-to-back games with the University of Denver over St. Cloud State.