The Eastern Conference last place Binghamton Senators went into a weekend of three games in three days hoping to put an end to a four-game losing streak. Scott Greenham was given the start in net for the second time since being recalled from ECHL Evansville. Friday's game was also former Senator Jim O'Brien's first time back in Binghamton as a member of the Hershey Bears.
Seven minutes into the first period, a Bears turnover just inside the Senators' blueline would start the Sens going the other way. Buddy Robinson would feed a streaking Garrett Thompson who would show off some nice hands to give a quick deke and finish on the forehand to give the Sens the early lead.
The lead didn't last long though as the Sens would have some trouble clearing the zone. Jim O'Brien would circle the net, throw it out front for a point blank shot, and the puck squeaked across the goal line to even the game at one. Before the period was over, the Bears would catch Greenham going the wrong way with the puck behind the net to go up 2-1 heading into the intermission.
Just over two minutes into the third period, Alex Grant would lose the puck in his feet and Chris Conner would take advantage for his second goal of the game.
Later in the third, a failed Bears centering pass would set up a rush going the other way for Cole Schneider and Colin Greening. Greening would finish off the passing play for his first AHL goal of the season. Unfortunately, that's as close as the Sens would get and the game would finish 3-2 to extend their losing streak to five games.
Binghamton Senators 2 - Hershey Bears 3
Binghamton Senators Record: 17-21-6
Saturday: Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Binghamton Senators
Through their first five of ten (!) meetings this season, the Binghamton Senators have a record of 2-2-1. After being scratched in Friday's game, Ryan Dzingel was back in the lineup while Alex Guptill took a seat as a healthy scratch. Meanwhile, Peter Mannino got the call in net.
The Sens had a couple chances early on, but couldn't capitalize. The Phantoms were able to strike first at the five minute mark. Mannino made a scrambling save, but he wasn't able to hold onto the rebound. The Phantoms grabbed the rebound and put it off the post. Unfortunately for the BSens, Jason Akeson was able to poke in the loose puck for the 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, the Sens would respond. A point shot off the stick of Alex Grant would produce a juicy rebound that would find its way into the slot. The rebound would find the friendly stick of Shane Prince for his team-leading 16th goal to tie the game at one.
Late in the second, a nice rush from Shane Prince would be finished off on the backhand by Cole Schneider. Cole Schneider continues to be one of the more consistent players on the Binghamton Senators, not a ton of flash but can produce on a regular basis. The goal put the Sens up 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
On an early third period rush, Matt Puempel would be taken down and slide into Rob Zepp, the Phantom goaltender. Zepp would have to leave the game and would not return.
The Sens would add a pair of empty net goals from Carter Camper and Buddy Robinson to close out the game 4-1. Mannino stopped 29 of 30 shots for his second win as a Senator. He came up with some big saves but he got a bit lucky on a couple occasions. The win finally put an end to the five game losing streak for the Sens.
Binghamton Senators 4 - Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1
Binghamton Senators Record: 18-21-6
Sunday: Binghamton Senators at Utica Comets
To close out a weekend of back-to-back-to-back games, the Sens went on the road to Utica to take on the Vancouver Canucks affiliate, the Comets. Peter Mannino was back in net for the Binghamton Senators.
Just over a minute into the game, the Sens worked it around nicely in the offensive zone. Shane Prince walked it out from the corner and ripped it on net from the slot to give the Sens the early lead.
Just over a minute later, Alex Grant hit Ryan Dzingel with a stretch pass for a clear-cut breakaway. The Utica defenseman dove and took his feet out from under him which led to a penalty shot. Dzingel dzangled in, leg kicked, and fired it past the goaltender to go up 2-0.
Just before the midway point of the first period, Mannino gets hit by Archibald as they both went for a loose puck. Alex Grant took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with him. A secondary scrap broke out between Claesson and DeFazio which came with an automatic game misconduct.
A bit later in the period, the Senators' Lepine would slash the Comets' Grenier on a breakaway to give them a penalty shot. Mannino would come up big on the shot and keep the zero on the board.
The Comets would finally get on the board with five minutes to go in the first. A centering pass from the side of the net would bank off a sliding Chris Wideman and into the Senators' net. Just terrible luck.
Yet another scrap would break out at the end of the period between Darren Kramer and Carter Bancks, bringing the final tally for the period to: 3 fights, 3 goals, 2 penalty shots, and 1 shattered pane of glass. The Comets outshot the Sens by a 19-9 in a busy and exciting opening period.
On a second period powerplay, some miscommunication between Mannino and the Senator defencemen behind the net led to an easy wrap-around goal for Acton to even the game at two. Later in the period, the Senators would get revenge and capitalize on a 5-on-3 advantage to regain the lead. Derek Grant would find some space all alone in the slot, Prince would hit him with a pass on the tape, and he would waste no time firing it into the net.
Towards the end of the period, the physicality would continue as Alex Guptill dropped the gloves with Pedan, Prince with Jensen, and Tuzzolino with Archibald. Also at the end of the period, Guillaume Lepine would take a tripping penalty for the Sens and Wideman would get a 10-minute misconduct. It was a bizarre situation, as the Sens were then only left with 2 defensemen (Alex Grant and Daniel New) to kill off the penalty. Despite all that, the Sens were able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game square at three.
At the beginning of the third, the Comets would win an offensive draw cleanly, fire it through traffic, and into the back of the net. A few minutes later, Robinson and Dzingel would go hard to the net and Dzingel was able to sneak home the tying goal.
Unfortunately for the Sens, the second half of the third was disastrous. Sanguinetti would finish off a nice tic-tac-toe play to put the Comets up 5-4. Then, Gaunce would add a wrap-around goal. And to finish off the terrible two-minute span, Acton would rip one shortside on Mannino to make it 7-4.
Binghamton Senators 4 - Utica Comets 7
Binghamton Senators Record: 18-22-6
Bits and Bites from Bingo:
- Ryan Dzingel was a healthy scratch on Friday, but bounced back with a two goal performance on Sunday, snapping his personal 5-game pointless streak.
- Binghamton and Utica combined for a total of 132 penalty minutes through the first two periods of Saturday. The Senators have the third-most penalty minutes in the AHL.
- Binghamton has a record of 18-22-6 for 42 points, 13 points out of a playoff spot with 30 games to go.
- Chris Wideman's point totals have slowed down after the vicious start to the season, but he has become more defensively reliable than in the past. Still has some work to do, but better.
- Shane Prince has taken over top spot on the B-Sens with 37 points though 44 games.
- Colin Greening finally got on the board with his first goal/point since being sent down from Ottawa.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at W-B/Scranton Penguins
Friday, February 13 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, February 15 at 3:00pm. Toronto Marlies at Binghamton Senators (in Ottawa)
Notable Updates from North American Prospects:
Vincent Dunn: Returned from his suspension, and went pointless in one game this weekend.
Francis Perron: Had a pair of two-assist games this weekend. He now has recorded multi-point games in all of his past five games.
Chris Driedger: The struggles continue down with the ECHL Evansville Icemen. Driedger was given the start in three straight games over the weekend, losing all three while giving up 13 goals.
Kelly Summers: Big weekend from defenceman Kelly Summers at Clarkson University, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Nick Paul: Scored two goals this week and added an assist through three games. His North Bay Battalion team is third in the OHL Eastern Conference.