There is a feeling of optimism in the air. Yeah, it was only an exhibition game against a team that doesn’t appear very good, but something just feels right about this group of players.
Binghamton Senators’ netminder Chris Driedger had a very good night en-route to a 5-0 shutout over the Rochester Americans in pre-season action at The Floyd on Saturday. The offense was led by a pair of goals each from Mike Blunden and Francis Perron, and Macoy Erkamps also contributed with a goal early on in the first period to set the tone right away.
Binghamton eventually chased Rochester starter Linus Ullmark, as he had a rough night giving up five goals on 17 shots through two periods. The win earned the Senators a split with the Amerks in their home and home series with the official season right around the corner beginning next weekend.
A small crowd gathered to watch basically a one-sided contest with the Senators in control and played well in front of Driedger. I would expect the same to continue and have high hopes it will, but I’m going to remain grounded for the time being seeing it was just an exhibition match. But there’s room to be optimistic as this bunch of guys appear to have some positive chemistry going on.
Erkamps quick shot from the point sailed though traffic past Ullmark, and the rout was on early in the opening period as Driedger did all the rest. At one point Driedger made two quick saves on a odd man rush, as he first stopped Cal O’Reilly and then Cole Schneider off the rebound. Another was from a breakaway as he once again stoned O’Reilly from in close to help preserve the shutout.
Blunden’s first goal was from a snap shot by defenseman Guillaume Lepine just inside the blueline as the puck ricocheted off his body out in front. His second was on a set play on the power play, as Kostka’s low pass to Nick Paul near the corner was quickly sent cross-ice to Blunden standing all alone near the corner of the net, as he had an empty cage to shoot for.
And they have some talent. Pretty good talent I will say. Perron’s back-to-back power play goals in the second period were identical shots set-up both by defenseman Michael Kostka, as both slappers whizzed by Ullmark high and tight with one off the crossbar.
Perron, Kostka, Blunden, Lepine, Paul, Erkamps, Driedger, yeah there’s some talent on this club. And led by a coach that has a proven track record. There is reason to be optimistic, let’s see where it takes them starting next Saturday night where games like tonight will count.
POST GAME NOTES
- Driedger looked to be in prime season form as he had 26 saves. Very impressive. Very poised. He came prepared this season to grab the #1 spot in deserving fashion.
- The evening featured a one-sided fight with rookie defenseman Andreas Englund being goaded to drop the mitts by Rochester forward Tyson Fawcett. Englund not only took advantage of the height difference, (Englund is 6’3” vs Fawcett at 5’7”) but landed some good shots to the face.
- Blunden, Kostka and Max McCormick wore the “A”. Ryan Rupert, Ben Harpur, Zack Stortini, Chris Rumble and Vincent Arseneau all sat along with Matt O’Connor. Scott Greenham served as back-up.
- Lines were Paul-Blunden-Chad Nehring, Casey Bailey-Perron-Kyle Flanagan, McCormick, Buddy Robinson-Gabriel Gagne, Alex Krusheinyski-Vincent Dunn-Jack Rodewald. Kostka- Patrick Seiloff, Lepine-Chris Carlisle, Englund-Erkamps rounded out the defense.
- Shots ended up in favor of the Amerks 26-24. Three Stars: Perron, Driedger, Blunden.
The real test begins on Saturday night with the season opener as the BSens host the Hershey Bears.
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of @AliciaS20