The Binghamton Senators (7-14-1-1) caught a break and took advantage to what otherwised might’ve been different results as they hung on for a wild 4-3 victory past the Utica Comets (10-12-1-0) on Friday at The Floyd.
Forward Casey Bailey recorded his team leading eighth and ninth goals of the season and goaltender Matt O’Connor (4-8-1-0, 2.94 GAA 0.898 SV%) came up with 30 saves and back-to-back wins as they paced the Senators to their second win in a row following Wednesday’s victory in Albany, while the Comets saw their three game win streak come to an end.
Each team traded a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes as Utica struck first when forward Curtis Valk scored his eighth with a short poke of the puck in past O’C near the crease as it found its way inside the cage. However, just 56 seconds later Sens’ defenseman Chris Rumble sent a rising one-timer from near the wall and it caught Alex Krushelnyski on the corner of his helmet and deflected off his visor and into the net past Utica rookie netminder Thatcher Demko. Krush was shaken up on the play and headed off to the locker room and didn’t return.
Then, it was the Bailey show that gave Binghamton a two goal lead as he struck twice in the second period. His first was set up on a beautiful give and go feed between Nick Paul and newly acquired Jason Akeson, but it was Akeson’s cross ice, touch pass that set up Bailey’s one-timer that ended up too quick for Demko to stop. Then with time running down, Chad Nehring’s shot was kicked out in front by Demko to a crashing Bailey with Comets’ Captain Carter Bancks all over him, but managed to get a stick on it just before the two fell and past Demko the puck went with 3.9 ticks left in the period.
In the final period the Comets took momentum away from the Senators and as a result they cut the two goal deficit in half when forward Borna Rendulic scored easily off a rebound given up by O’C and into the empty net for his second of the season as the Comets were in comeback mode.
But it was the Senators that caught a break.
Demko left the net for the extra attacker with the Sens leading 3-2 but never made it to the bench in time as Max McCormick quickly saw an opportunity. It was a heads up play by Spicy as he nailed a long shot that sailed through the center ice area and into the empty net with 1:35 left that stood up to be the winning goal. Demko wasn’t focused on what transpired on the other end of the ice but instead to the bench and he knew it, with the audible F-bomb that he let loose.
It was then things got rather dicey for Binghamton as Francis Perron was in the box for high-sticking, (that really was a dive by a Comets’ player, a dramatic one at that) and Demko successfully off to the bench for a six-on-four attack. Utica cashed in with Jake Virtanen’s deflection in front that made it a 4-3 contest with 19.3 seconds left. Utica then won the faceoff after and the seconds felt like minutes counting off the clock but the guys pulled it together and held on for the win.
POST GAME NOTES
- With Krushelnyski’s injury in the first period the team was forced to play shorthanded and with some new faces. All and all a gutsy win against a team that won their last three straight. If he’s out with some type of concussion Zack Stortini, who was a healthy scratch, may suit up on Saturday.
- O’Connor is getting a lot of starts as of late (4th in a row) with Chris Driedger now playing second fiddle. Not sure what to think then otherwise to get him going, with the flip side Driedger staying out of the way as he didn’t look sharp in last Friday’s 6-2 loss in Providence.
- Guillaume Lepine was late in his coverage to Rendulic as the Comets third was a gravy goal that O’C didn’t have a chance with him on the ice after his initial stop off the stick of Utica defenseman David Shields.
- Macoy Erkamps was (somewhat) impressive. Showed some poise and looked confident. A few turnovers here and there but overall he looked pretty good in his 2nd game with the BSens. I’m not looking for much in a short span, but will further take note of his time here in Binghamton.
- I’m also liking what I see out of Rumble as he finished playing in his 13th game for Binghamton. Good, quick shot and agile defender. Offensive type with good vision.
- Forward Alexis Loiseau made his debut and saw action on the fourth line.
- Bailey-Paul-Akeson, McCormick-Nehring-Blunden, Perron-Flanagan-Rodewald, Krushelnyski-Loiseau-Gagne. Rumble/Harpur, Lepine/Carlisle, Seiloff/Erkamps. Kostka and Rupert both out with lower body injuries. Stortini again, a healthy scratch.
The Senators return to the ice on Saturday for another home meeting with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to round up the weekend.