Heading into their last six games of what was mostly a disappointing season for the Binghamton Senators, the Sens played host to the Norfolk Admirals on Tuesday night. After Chris Driedger posted a pair of wins last week, coach Luke Richardson gave him a rest and gave Scott Greenham the start between the pipes.
It wouldn't take long for the BSens to give up the first goal. Just under four minutes into the first, Norfolk's Laganiere danced out of the corner past Troy Rutkowski and had a wide open lane to the net. He made a nice move coming across and potted it on Greenham for the early lead. The BSens came right back the other way and responded with one of their own with tough guy Darren Kramer tipping home a Chris Wideman point shot.
Before the end of the first period, the Norfolk Admirals were able to capitalize on a pair of defensive lapses by the BSens. One on a back door 2-on-1 play that Greenham didn't have a chance on, and the other on an unscreened knuckler that Greenham would want to have back.
Early in the second, Norfolk stretched their lead to three with Sgarbossa going top shelf on Greenham. Later, Alex Guptill fumbled with the puck in the offensive zone and the puck slid over to Danny Hobbs who one-timed it past LaBarbera to give the BSens some life. Then, Cole Schneider would be the beneficiary of an excellent fake slapshot pass from Shane Prince to make it a 4-3 game.
The comeback attempt was then quickly squashed. The Admirals came right back the other way and bury a pair of goals due to some questionable goaltending.
The BSens entered the third period down 6-3 and with Chris Driedger relieving Greenham in net. The goaltending change wasn't able to turn the tide of the game as the Admirals continued to carry the play.
The two teams exchanged third period back-door goals to hand the Admirals the 7-4 win. While Greenham didn't have himself a good game whatsoever, but the Binghamton defenders didn't do much to help him out.
Binghamton Senators 4 - Norfolk Admirals 7
Friday: Albany Devils at Binghamton Senators
After relieving Greenham last game, Driedger was back in net for the BSens putting his perfect 4-0-0 AHL record on the line. Chris Wideman's younger brother, Alex Wideman, was made his AHL debut for Bingo on Friday night after signing an ATO (Amateur Try Out contract) last week. Matthew Zay, another recent signing, also made his debut for Binghamton on Friday against the Albany Devils. Friday's match-up was somewhat of a must-win game for the Devils as they try to push for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Binghamton opened the scoring off a 2-on-2 rush by Chris Wideman and Cole Schneider. Wideman fed it over to Schneider who made a nice move to put home his 25th marker of the season. Wideman's assist tied Andre Benoit's BSens record for most points by a defenseman in a season.
The BSens took it to the Devils in the second period. It started with Aaron Johnson tipping in a Alex Grant point shot. Then, Schneider had a Mark Stone-esque takeaway to feed Shane Prince for a one-timer goal to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Later in the period, Schneider went in alone on a breakaway and fired it top shelf to make it a 4-goal rout. 16 seconds later, newly signed Matthew Zay made a nice tip on a Chris Wideman point shot to make it 5-0. Wideman's assist on the play gave him sole possession of the BSens record for most points by a defenseman.
With their playoff hopes dwindling, the Devils came out hard in the third period. They scored two early ones through a pair of semi-screens to make it 5-2 with 17 minutes remaining. Later, Johnson tried to take the puck rather than the body on a 2-on-2 rush and the Devils made him pay by cutting the lead to 5-3.
The bleeding stopped there and Schneider added some late insurance with an empty net goal to complete his hat trick. The BSens really sat back on their 5-0 lead and ended up being outshot 16-6 in the third, but were able to hang on for the 6-3 win.
Binghamton Senators 6 - Albany Devils 3
Saturday: Utica Comets at Binghamton Senators
Putting his perfect AHL 5-0-0 record on the line again, Chris Driedger was back in between the pipes on Saturday night as the Binghamton Senators played host to Good Old Cory Conacher and the Utica Comets.
It took until the 50 second mark of the second period before we found our first goal of the game. Both Binghamton defensemen abandoned the front of the net and Utica's Shinkaruk was left all alone in front to finish off a centering feed to give the Comets the 1-0 lead.
Off a failed Utica clearing attempt, Schneider picked up the loose puck and walked down main street to snap one past goaltender Joacim Eriksson for his team-leading 28th goal of the season. Not much later, the Comets took advantage of a powerplay opportunity to go bar-down on Driedger to make it a 2-1 game.
Following coincidental roughing minors to Max McCormick and Cory Conacher to make it 4-on-4, Buddy Robinson and Derek Grant took advantage of the extra space out there. The pair came down 2-on-1 and Robinson tapped home Grant's rebound to tie the game at two and the game would be headed for overtime.
A scary moment happened early in the extra frame where a back-checking Derek Grant dove and slammed into Driedger while trying to stop a breakaway. Luckily, both of them would be okay and be able to stay in the game. Overtime solved nothing and the game was headed for a shootout.
The shootout was an interesting one to say the least. Schneider opened the scoring for Binghamton in round 1. Driedger then shut the door for three shooters. Some might say that would give the BSens the shootout win (including the AHL rulebook), but not today! The referees decided to go rogue and have this game go to five shooters. Not to worry, Driedger stood tall and kept the zero on the board in the shootout to give the BSens the 3-2 shootout victory.
Binghamton Senators 3 - Utica Comets 2 (SO)
Binghamton Senators Record: 32-33-8
Bits and Bites from Bingo:
- Huge week from Cole Schneider. He potted five goals and added two assists this week, rocketing him up the AHL leaderboard to 4th place with 28 goals on the season. He also scored the shootout winner in the game against Utica. Personally, I've been very impressed with Schneider the season and I am sure his season has turned the heads of the Ottawa Senators management.
- Chris Driedger continues to be perfect in Binghamton by picking up his sixth win in as many starts. He stopped 40 of 42 shots against Utica on Saturday, including nine that came off the stick of Cory Conacher. He also locked it down in the shootout, stopping all five of the Comet shooters.
- Congratulations to Chris Wideman who was named to the AHL First All-Star Team this past week. He was also voted the winner of the Eddie Shore Award for top defenseman in the AHL. To cap off his big week, he also broke Andre Benoit's record for most points by Binghamton Senator defenseman.
- Also, a huge congratulations to Shane Prince who was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team. He also picked up a goal and three assists this past week.
The Week Ahead:
Wednesday, April 15 at 7:00pm. Utica Comets at Binghamton Senators
Friday, April 17 at 7:00pm. Binghamton Senators at Hershey Bears
Saturday, April 18 at 7:00pm. Rochester Americans at Binghamton Senators
Sens Prospects in the Playoffs:
Tobias Lindberg: He scored a goal and two assists through the first two games of the Oshawa Generals series with Niagara. He was also named first star in game two.
Nicholas Paul: He has picked up a goal and two assists in his series against Ben Harpur and the Barrie Colts. Through two games, the series is even at one game apiece heading into a pair of games in North Bay
Robbie Baillargeon: The lone Sens prospect taking part in the NCAA Frozen Four picked up an assist in the semi-finals for Boston University. His team went on to lose a 4-3 heartbreaker to Providence.