With Binghamton’s leading goal scorer on recall in Ottawa, there was a void that the Senators just couldn’t fill as they lost by a score of 3-1 to the Springfield Thunderbirds at the Mass Mutual Center on Friday night. T-Birds’ starter Reto Berra played out of his mind with some great efforts to preserve his seventh win of the season as he made 35 saves, while Binghamton would fight hard right to the end with goaltender Matt O’Connor pulled in the final moments for the extra attacker, only to come up short.
Senators (8-15-2-1) would get some uncharacteristic penalty problems in the opening 20 minutes that included some brief five-on-three situations for the T-Birds (11-9-3-2) as they were whistled for four calls, but the Sens escaped with little damage as neither team lit the lamp. Berra was outstanding as he denied veteran forward Jason Akeson first on a slapper, that followed with a one-timer from the left circle.
In the middle frame Springfield scored twice, but not before Berra again denied Akeson with the save of the game while on his back in the crease, as Binghamton was frustrated and couldn’t buy one off the 29-year-old Swede.
That would fuel Springfield and they bounced to a 1-0 lead as rookie and former first round draft pick forward Jared McCann scored his third of the season on a nice give and go along the boards with Greg McKegg that ate up Sens’ defenseman Michael Kostka badly, and sniped one, top shelf by O’Connor’s stick side 13:32 into the period.
Then the back-breaker goal happened. With 0:13:8 remaining in the period, McKegg was launched through the center area with a pass by Thomas Schemitsch from the far blueline, and with a burst of speed he burned past Sens rookie defenseman Andreas Englund and approached the net that drew O’Connor out of position with a late snap shot for a 2-0 lead.
The Senators didn’t cave in as Binghamton gave one of their best efforts of the season in the final period as they peppered Berra with 19 shots with only a single goal to show for. Forward Kyle Flanagan, down on one knee, roofed a one-timer from a sharp angle near the far circle for his third of the season that cut the lead in half.
O’Connor was then pulled for the extra attacker and Binghamton nearly forced the tieing goal with an all out effort around the net, but McKegg managed to get the puck out of the opposing zone and from center ice, he lifted the puck into the empty net for his second of the game with 0:04:4 left remaining for the win by the Thunderbirds.
POST GAME NOTES
- Forward Casey Bailey was called up earlier today to fill-in for the suspended (2 games) Mike Hoffman. This was a big blow to the offense and it showed tonight. This was a game that we should’ve won. Just ran into a hot netminder as Berra was terrific.
- Word must be out on O’Connor; Shoot high, stick side because he has a weak blocker. That’s where his goals are coming from as of late. Back-up Scott Greenham should get the start on Saturday vs the Comets.
- Senators continue to struggle on the power play as the puck movement is limited to just the perimeter with passes back and forth and nothing created down the middle. It appears there is no set play in place, just a bunch of passes. 0/3 on the night.
- The way this season has gone, the Senators are
0-13-1-10-14-1-1 by trailing after two periods, and tonight ended up no different.
- Kostka returned to action after missing a handful of games with an injury and wasn’t impressive. He continues his downward spiral and it’s hard to watch to be honest. However the defense overall looked pretty good in shutting down the lanes and forcing shots. A couple of goals here and there made things look rather bleak.
- Roster Moves; Englund was sent down, Bailey up and Loiseau was let go of his PTO.
- McCormick-Varone-Akeson, Krushelnyski-Nehring-Blunden, Perron-Paul-Robinson, Rodewald-Flanagan-Gagne. Englund/Kostka, Lepine/Carlisle, Sieloff/Rumble. Erkamps a healthy scratch. Rupert missed his 6th game due to a lower body injury. Stortini also a healthy scratch.
BSens return home for a rematch with the Utica Comets on Saturday to complete the weekend.