Goaltender Chris Driedger was solid for the Senators for the second game in a row, as he withstood a hectic, yet frantic St. John's team in the third with all kinds of pressure and preserved the 2-1 win. Driedger, (13-12-1-0, 3.03 GAA, 0.902 SV%) fresh off a 2-0 shutout over the Syracuse Crunch last Saturday in Ottawa, was particularly spectacular when he needed to be, including making a double-stack save on St. John's forward Max Friberg near the crease with time dwindling down.
After a meaningless first period with absolutely no flow with many whistle stoppages and stick checks, things began to settle down in the middle frame. All three goals were scored and the physical game took over as well.
As the Senators (19-28-3-0) played two defensemen up front, Chris Carlisle picked up his fourth of the season as he backhanded home a rebound off of Zack Stortini's body in front, after defenseman Ben Harpur aimed a slapper through traffic from the point. Being at the right place at the right time paid off for Carlisle, as IceCaps goalie Zachary Fucale, who finished with 22 saves, never saw it and was too late to react.
St. John's (23-20-7-3) would get the equalizer midway through the second on a wrist shot in front by Brandon McNally that beat Driedger on his glove side. Forward Michael McCarron got credit for the primary assist with a short pass from the trapezoid area that knotted the game at one apiece.
Binghamton would regain the lead three minutes later, as Casey Bailey recorded his first goal with his new team on a snipe past Fucale on a two on one rush with Cole Schneider. Bailey skated the length of the ice and looked to make a pass, but elected to shoot instead that paid off for the rookie.
With time running down and Fucale pulled for the extra attacker with a little more then a minute left, Sens hold their ground as defenseman Mark Fraser made the final clear for a Senators' celebration and a stick salute at center ice. Good win for the home team with the rematch less than 24-hours away.
Matt Puempel, injured. Ryan Penny, healthy.
POST GAME NOTES
- John Scott made his first appearance for the IceCaps in the Southern Tier of NY. The large, and I mean really large, player had some shifts on the power play as a huge wall in front, and lumbered around the ice getting some meaningful minutes. I don't see how anyone could beat this guy in a fight, it's just not possible. At one point, he and Bailey were exchanging stick taps during a faceoff which got a reaction from Scott in mouthing some words, which in turn drew a reaction with a smile from the rookie, as they parted ways soon afterwards. Good guy that Scott.
- Driedger is showing the form that saw him end last season with six straight wins. It's been a struggle for the team, and it made things tough for him, but he's got the confidence back and should get the start on Saturday, with Matt O'Connor getting the call on Sunday in Hartford.
- Really impressed with this Bailey kid. He's got some real potential. Pretty goal in the second period that deflected off of Fucale's stick and rang around the back of the cage. He's 25 years-old, in his prime and looking to make the most out of it. Kinda reminds me of a smaller, yet faster version of Colin Greening.
- Buddy Robinson with another strong showing on the penalty kill teamed up with Schneider. Robinson created a shorthanded breakaway in the second period but was snuffed out by Fucale. One of these days, he's going to get one as it seems he's getting an opportunity everytime he's out there.
- Converted forward and ex-defenseman Conor Allen took a stick up high to the face drawing blood, as he went off to the dressing room for repairs only to return the following period. I think I like him better at playing forward, as the club is severely shorthanded with injuries and mostly call-ups. I suppose Dave Dziurzynski is enjoying a nice paycheck while sitting for Ottawa out injured.
- Speaking of sitting, Matt Puempel missed his eighth game with a lower body injury. He's slated to return sometime in March, as he has resumed light skating.
Senators play Game #2 with the IceCaps on Saturday, then finish the weekend in Hartford for a Sunday afternoon affair.
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of @AliciaS20
Alicia with John Scott outside the Arena after the game.