The good news? Binghamton and Syracuse's longtime rivalry is as strong as ever. The bad news? Senators continue to find ways of losing as they are shutout by the Crunch up in Syracuse in a game that featured defenseman Fredrik Claesson getting involved in not one, but two fights. Wait what? Ya, it was that kind of night.
In a game the Senators so desperately needed to win not only to lift their spirits, but as well as the fans, it turned out the more desperate team was the Crunch as they somehow mishmash a line-up tonight dressing eight d-man and only ten forwards, with the parent club Lightning calling up players left and right to fill their depleted roster.
Crunch defender Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his third pro shutout stopping all 27 Senators' shots after being sent down by the Lightning on Thursday with a 4-3 OT win over Toronto fresh on his mind. He made some key saves as the game wore on over his counter-part, Chris Driedger.
Syracuse scores first on the power play with Sens' defenseman Mark Fraser in the box for cross-checking as Cameron Darcy re-directs a pass from the boards from Anthony DeAngelo that sails by Driedger's blocker. Vasilevskiy comes up big stopping Ryan Dzingel, then denies Nick Paul's first pro goal on his doorstep. Binghamton finishes a pretty good period as Matt Puempel's last second shot is grounded by a sliding Joey Mormina but trail 1-0.
Binghamton falls behind by two in the second period with the Crunch winning the faceoff in the offensive zone right to Dylan Blujus at the point, as he unloads on net that tips Daniel Walcott's stick in front that fools Driedger in changing directions. Then the bitter nastiness begins as Claesson gets involved in a scrum around the net with Philippe Paradis taking advantage grabbing and mauling Claesson to the ice throwing punches to the back of his head.
Soon after Puempel and Jake Dotchin have a throw down as the two wind up by the glass with Dotchin wrestling Matt to the ice in the end. One of the best hip checks I've ever seen with Claesson nailing Slater Koekkoek in front of Syracuse's bench causing all kinds of words with Adam Erne taking exception and draws Freddy into another fight, which would end his evening being his second of the game followed by a game misconduct.
As the middle frame winds down, one of the most disgusting plays I have ever witnessed. Fraser has no right to do what he did. Despicable.
The play began in the corner with himself and Tanner Richard getting tangled up and the fire ignited with both players exchanging words. Richard's helmet popped off during the fracas and Fraser now had both hands around his neck and slammed his head into the glass and down he fell to the ice. Now Richard is certainly no angel by any stretch of the imagination, but that was totally uncalled for. He only received a roughing call, as Richard was slow getting up giving Fraser some words before heading off the ice.
Dylan Blujus puts the Crunch ahead 3-0 from inside the blueline firing a shot with Koekkoek in front screening Driedger that goes harmlessly off his glove and into the back of the cage for another power play goal. Binghamton doesn't seem to want it bad enough packing it in as Syracuse caps off the scoring with 1:49 left. Tye McGinn tips in a wrister from along the boards by DeAngelo that handcuffed Driedger as he had no shot at. Syracuse with the shot advantage 31-27 as Binghamton loses their fourth straight.
POST GAME NOTES
- Surely one would expect a suspension coming on Fraser's part with his choke hold slamming of Richard's head into the glass. As fans we like the rough stuff, but when it gets dirty and dangerous, that's just not acceptable.
- Puempel's stick speed seems to have slowed as at the end of the first, he hesitated rather then whipping the puck home like last season.
- Watching Claesson deliver that hip check in the second was ruled a clipping call. Looked pretty clean to me but the story with him being involved in two fights just shows how frustrated this team really is. He handled his own and did well in tangling up his persuaders with little damage.
- This is what you are going to get after signing a bunch of tough guys. Lots of penalties that will hurt the team and it has. Not enough scoring up the middle with many play-makers along with minimum secondary results. Goaltending has been rough as Matt O'Connor can't be all to blame while learning the pros in front of a porous defense. Although that's a lot of points he has missed in only recording one win in 12 attempts.
- Lots of fans pointing to the coaching staff. And I mean tons. Blame Luke all you want, he's not going anywhere. What I will say is this, if he had a say in some off-season signings, let's not allow that to happen ever again and let the scouting do their jobs in recruiting players.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms take the I-81 north to Binghamton for the second time this season on Saturday as the Senators look for something to cheer about.