Newcomer Phil Varone let his frustrations be known barking on the player's bench after a second period shift, while also slamming the door in disgust after some sloppy defense and poor netminding, as the Utica Comets scored three rather easy goals en-route to a 5-1 victory over the Binghamton. The home ice defeat extended the Sens losing streak to three, as the offense was shut down for a third straight time while just accounting for three goals in that span.
Rookie Matt O'Connor took the loss and was pulled after letting in four goals on 19 shots in two periods of play, as he was night and day after an impressive showing in Friday night's loss to the .
Comets got on the board first as they took advantage of a turnover by defenseman Jerome Leduc in the Senators end, when he coughed up the puck along the sideboards to Utica forward Carter Bancks, as he backhanded a pass to Kellen Jones in the middle who sent a knuckler up high to the corner that fooled O'Connor for a shorthanded goal.
Utica then continued their strong showing in the middle frame as they potted three to increase their lead to 4-0 that gave their Booster Club in attendance some additional cheers, as the Senators defense was shoddy to say the least that didn't help O'Connor's cause one bit.
First it was Ronalds Kenins' chip shot from about 15 feet out that sailed by O'Connor's glove. Then Joseph LaBate found rookie forward Curtis Valk in front for his first professional goal in four games, as his snapper sailed by O'C's blocker with Senators' defensemen Guillaume Lepine and Leduc caught out of position.
Veteran forward T.J. Hensick rounded out the scoring with his eight of the season at the 13:36 mark, as he swept towards the net and plucked the puck off a sliding Lepine in the crease for an empty netter. Kellen Jones set-up the play after he beat Leduc to the puck along the wall, and his shot towards the net hit Lepine while flat on the ice.
Chris Driedger replaced O'Connor to start the final period, and he promptly gave up a goal a little more than two minutes in, as Comets' defenseman Jon Landry let a shot go from his blueline that went past a screened Driedger with Lepine in front.
Binghamton did ruin goaltender Joe Cannata's shutout bid early in the third, as Dave Dziurzynski scored his eighth of the season unassisted, but the damage took its toll with an all around poor performance by the home team. Cannata would end up with 35 saves for his 18th win in 35 appearances.
POST GAME NOTES
- Lepine and Leduc with awful performances, as they both had a -4 on the night. Utica's fourth goal in the second was all Lepine, as he slid to block a shot, only to interfere with O'Connor that created a scoring opportunity for Utica. Earlier on, Leduc with the giveaway for the first Comets' goal, and beaten to the puck along the wall by Jones for the fourth one in the second period.
- Not sure what to make of Verone's outburst on the bench. On one hand it's good to have players with passion and fire in their belly's, on the other hand, isn't that up to the ones that have the letter's sewn on the front upper corner of their jerseys? Perhaps it was just frustrations that spilled over for the veteran, but still interesting to witness.
- O'Connor has not been good on back-to-back games this season. If the BSens were in a playoff position, no way, as Driedger would've got the call instead. But at this point with the club out of post season contention, give him as much ice time as possible and worry about his confidence over the long off-season.
The team is off until a three in three weekend beginning with a game against the Albanynext Friday followed by the same Utica Comets on Saturday.
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of @AliciaS20