Goaltender Matt O'Connor recorded his first professional win leading the Binghamton Senators to a 4-1 dusting over the visiting St. John's IceCaps. The 23 year old rookie had a strong outing making some key saves stopping 27 IceCaps shots as the team tightened up defensively and played a solid 60 minutes of hockey given the rookie his first win in 11 attempts. Ryan Dzingel had a three point night (1g, 2a), Matt Puempel added a pair of goals and Max McCormick had a Gordie Howe hat trick to help put an end to their five game losing streak.
It wasn't a pretty beginning that showed signs of here we go again as St. John's score early with rookie Mark MacMillan getting his team out front just 4:14 into the first. The puck would trickle in off O'Connor's left leg pad just inside the goal post as Gabriel Dumont threw it in front from the boards hoping something would happen. After that, he was spot on the rest of the way.
Senators would tie it 1:19 later as Nick Paul shoots from the high slot with goaltender Dustin Tokarski making a kick save only to have Cole Schneider and Puempel on his doorstep. As Cole pounces on the rebound, he sends a short pass to Matt in the crease and scores sending the home fans tossing stuffed furry things onto the ice for the annual holiday Teddy Bear Toss.
Binghamton takes the lead late in the second as Dzingel gets a stick off a slapper from the blue line by Fredrik Claesson and redirects it home by Tokarski that the ref initially waved off as play continued. After video review, it's a good goal sending the team to the locker room on a positive note.
Overhead shot with Dzingel's go ahead goal in the second which went to being reviewed..
..as he gets a stick on Claesson's shot from the point..
.. and with this pic clearly showing the puck is in and is eventually ruled a good goal.
In the third period McCormick scores his fifth of the season due to the diligent work of Dzingel as he steals the puck from behind the net and passes out front to a wide open Spicy. Really solid hustle by Ryan there, as that increases the Senators lead by two. Binghamton ups the tempo and starts unloading shot after shot in a fury of action and continues to apply pressure as they add a empty netter by Puempel to defeat the IceCaps.
POST GAME NOTES
- O'Connor bounced back after Friday's loss up in Syracuse as his record now stands at 1-8-2, 3.98 GAA, 0.869 SV%. He was the difference tonight but after letting in a soft one in the opening period, he came back and kept his team in it until the offense took over later in the game with four unanswered goals. Give credit to Rick Wamsley in shutting Matt's five hole!
- Ryan Penny made his AHL debut tonight as he took David Dziurzynski's spot with him on re-call up for Ottawa. Not bad, creating several scoring chances but need to see more out of him before evaluating his place in the line-up. On the other hand, I like what Darian (Dizzy's younger brother) brings to the table as he gives the team a little bit of an edge with his aggressive play.
- McCormick with the Gordie Howe hat trick as he and Jeremy Gregoire went at it big time in the first period with both throwing punches toe to toe before the take down by Max. Love this kid's energy and toughness.
- Buddy Robinson had one of his better efforts and even dropped the gloves with another big man, 6' 6" Michael McCarron as the two would hug and grab one another with a few punches being thrown as McCarron lands on top of Buddy.
- Paul also looked good centering the top line with O'Dell still out with the flu. This should boost his confidence some as he is still in search for his first professional goal.
- Senators stayed out of the box and concentrated on playing to win as they did what they needed to do in a couple of fisticuffs. This is the type of effort that is needed to turn this season around and there's plenty of time for that to happen. Good solid win over a very good team as the Sens outshoot the IceCaps 30-28.
Binghamton is off until next weekend when they go on the road for two games. On Friday it will be in Springfield to take on the Falcons. Then on Saturday, it's the Hershey Bears down in Chocolate Town.
*Cover Pic Courtesy of Alicia Strauch.
*Inside Pics Courtesy of Binghamton Senators