Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Taylor Leier recorded a hit trick and Phil DeSimone added three assists in pushing aside the deflated Binghamton Senators by a score of 7-2 down in Allentown, PA. Sens goaltender Chris Driedger was in net for all seven, while the team put two defensemen up front to help out the shorthanded club.
No Matt Puempel or Dave Dziurzynski, both out with injuries. No Ryan Dzingel or Nick Paul, both in Ottawa. No Colin Greening or Tobias Lindberg, both been traded. In making their Senators debut, rookie Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert. Travis Ewanyk a healthy scratch. Couldn't say you saw it coming with the make shift type of line-up.
Veteran Colin McDonald got it started just 2:49 in the first scoring his tenth taking a pass from Danick Martel and backhanded the puck past Driedger, who was caught out of position in just about every goal allowed. Then Leier and Robert Hagg make the most of a five minute elbowing call on Sens defenseman Mike Sdao on Cole Bardreau by potting a pair of goals quickly making it 3-0.
Allen gave Binghamton a glimpse ray of hope, recording his second of the season off a faceoff win by Kyle Flanagan, as he quickly got off a shot through a partially screened Jason LaBarbera keeping the Sens within a striking distance 3-1 early in the second period.
Chris Conner of the Phantoms put an end to that brief ray of hope with a breakaway and made Driedger look foolish with a front to backhand deke and into the empty net the puck would end up regaining the three goal margin for Lehigh Valley. Just a 1:09 after, Phantoms' defenseman Adam Comrie was wide open in the slot with a blown coverage by another D-man Ben Harpur, and scored easily on a snap shot increasing the lead by four.
Senators would get a lucky bounce, one that hasn't come their way lately, as Buddy Robinson's shot from the corner hits a Phantoms' skate in front re-directing the puck through LaBarbera's five hole, who was playing without a stick. Smart, heads-up play by Robinson, as he is credited for his ninth of the season.
Leier scored the final two goals of the night, with the first on a wrist shot from the left dot, then capped off on a rebound pad save kicked by Driedger right to a waiting Leier by the corner of the cage. This team is so mishmashed and fragile with the frustration level reaching sky high with no end in sight to the madness.
Matt Puempel, injured. Travis Ewanyk, Nick Tuzzolino, healthy.
POST GAME NOTES
- Player movements; Two defensemen playing forward as the team is thin up front with Puempel and Dizzy out injured, Ryan Dzingel and Nick Paul remain in Ottawa. New guys filled in the roster for the first game since Tuesday's trade and did the best they could've while probably feeling a little bit of a sting going from the penthouse to the basement of the Eastern Conference.
- Team has lost four straight and have been outscored 23-5 during that stretch. I thought we already had hit 'rock bottom' earlier in the season. Guess not.
- Sdao was challenged by rookie Tyrell Goulbourne, which was a mistake as Sdao landed several rights before sending him to the ice. The same Tyrell Goulbourne that knocked out Zack Stortini a few weeks ago sending the Captain to the dressing room all wobbly.
- Speaking of our Captain, the team leads the league with a staggering 937 PIM's. I found out that last season's PIM leaders were the Lehigh Vally Phantoms led by, you guessed it, Stortini. Somehow I'm not very comfortable knowing this, as that's a sure fire starting debate beckoning for someone to light up.
Senators have two lined up for the weekend with a visit to Utica to take on the Comets on Firday. Then the big 'home' game in Ottawa on Saturday at CTC with a tilt against the Syracuse Crunch.