Perhaps the extra motivation was right in front of them with Ottawa’s brass taking notes in attendance. Maybe they caught a Devils team flat-footed. Or possibly even the team just got tired of losing at home. Whatever the reason(s) may have been, it worked, as the Binghamton Senators jumped to an early four goal lead in the first five minutes en-route to a 6-2 win over the visiting Albany Devils.
BSens’ forward Buddy Robinson netted a pair and goaltender Matt O’Connor finally got the goal support that’s been missing as Binghamton ended their six game losing streak on home ice that dates back to the season opener over a month ago. O’Connor also put a stop to his four game losing streak with perhaps his best performance in the pros with a 28 save effort.
Just as fans got settled into their seats after the singing of the National Anthem, Robinson gave reason for them to stand once again, in celebration mode this time, as Buddy scored his first goal of the season just 0:25 seconds in after he took a backhanded pass from forward Nick Paul along the wall and lifted the puck over Albany rookie netminder Mackenzie Blackwood’s shoulder.
The early celebrations would soon continue 14 seconds later and it was 2-0 as defenseman Patrick Sieloff also scored his first of the season with a shot through traffic from his blueline, as it appeared the puck glanced off a leg or two and deflected in past Blackwood.
Binghamton added two more in a span of just over two minutes when Robinson scored his second off a steal poked free by defenseman Chris Carlisle from Albany forward Miles Wood near the blueline. Carlisle was able to shove the puck to Buddy, as he then skated towards the hash marks before letting a rising wrist shot sail past Blackwood.
That forced Albany head coach Rick Kowalsky to pull his rookie goaltender in favor of veteran Scott Wedgewood, with three goals on four shots. But it didn’t take long for them to solve Wedgewood as well as the Senators were in control with all kinds of momentum on their side.
The onslaught was on as Carlisle’s heads-up pass found a streaking Curtis Lazar along the boards at center ice. Lazar then sped into the offensive zone and ripped a shot through Wedgewood’s five hole from the lower part of the circle area for a power play goal as the electricity in the Arena was something that hasn’t been experienced at any point so far this season. 4-0 BSens in under five minutes of play with players and fans celebrated in unison.
The Devils tried to make their way back in it with two second period goals from forward’s Petr Straka and Brian Gibbons in the middle frame, as Albany outshot the Sens 14-8. But O’Connor kept his team in it with some key saves along with some lucky bounces that hasn’t been the beneficiary in the past for himself.
Senators felt the pressure from a very good Devils team in the final 20 minutes but didn’t break and responded with two more tallies of their own. Recently called-up forward Alex Krushelnyski potted his first for the BSens and Casey Bailey recorded his team leading fifth with 25 seconds left to play as the celebrations surrounded O’Connor after the final horn that was then followed with a stick salute to the fans from center ice.
Six goals, two fights, a free promotional cheeseburger (4 goals) and most importantly, a win. Tonight was one of those nights where everything aligned right. That hasn’t been witnessed so far this season, but I’ll gladly take it. This was a must win and the guys knew it and came through.
POST GAME NOTES
- Albany had a really bad night with their goaltenders as Blackwood was replaced by Wedgewood in the first after he let in 3 goals on 4 shots. However Wedgewood left the game with him holding his wrist after a pile-up in the third period, and was then replaced by Blackwood.
- Sens scored four goals on their first five shots, something that hasn’t been accomplished in like, I don’t remember when. Going have to dig deep in the past to find out the fastest two goals scored (0:39) off the opening faceoff.
- 2 fights with a pair of Ben’s in Harpur and Thomson in the 1st, as both connected but Harpur with the take-down (!!). The 2nd, featured Luke Gazdic, who was pleading all evening to take on Zack Stortini and finally got his wish as the two dropped the gloves during the waning minutes of the game. Stortini has just ran out of gas as this was an awful fight for him. I remember he used to have some heated battles with Mike Sdao not too long ago, but not any longer.
- O’C played well enough and this is where he needs to take it to the next level with something to build on, likewise for the team. He finally got some goals in support and it happened so fast, it’s gotta be a good feeling for everyone involved.
- GM Pierre Dorion, AGM Randy Lee and assistant Pierre Groulx in town as they dropped off defenseman Fredrik Claesson to make room for a forward or two on their way back either after this recap is complete, or tomorrow night with a game with Hartford.
- Bailey-Varone-Blunden, Paul-Lazar-Robinson, Perron-Flanagan-Rodewald, Krushelnyski-Rupert-Sortini. Sieloff/Kostka, Englund/Harpur, Lepine/Carlisle. Chad Nehring (inj) and Chris Rumble (healthy) scratched.
- Robinson (2g), Carlisle (2a) and O’Connor (28 saves, 1 a) your 3 stars.
The Senators are in a middle of a three-in-three weekend with another home game slated for Saturday against the Hartford Wolf Pack.