With a 1:20 left in the third period, Jason Akeson took a Chris Rumble pass and rifled home a long wrister that tied it, then he helped set-up the game winning goal with 16.9 left off the stick of Francis Perron in overtime, as the Binghamton Senators defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-2 on a rowdy, but otherwise warm January night at The Floyd on Saturday.
The Senators fought their way back past a pesky bunch from Springfield, as Binghamton scored the final two goals for the comeback win which is their 3rd straight, and ninth out of the last eleven. Goaltender Matt O’Connor had another strong outing with his 34 save performance, as he improved to 10-10-1-0 on the season, equaling his win count from last year.
Rookie sensation Jack Rodewald opened up the scoring in the second period with his snap shop that went off the right post by Springfield goalie and ex-BSens Mike McKenna. It took a nice backhanded pass by forward Kyle Flanagan from behind the net to set up Rodewald’s team leading 13th of the season.
Springfield would tie it on a rather fluke goal as forward Anthony Greco’s turnaround wrister from the side boards bounced off Sens’ defenseman Patrick Sieloff’s shoulder in front, with T-Birds’ forward Stephen MacAulay also in the mix as O’Connor never saw the puck with the deflection up high over his helmet and already deposited behind him.
Binghamton then found themselves down a goal with Springfield forward’s Denis Malgin and Jayce Hawryluk, as they combined with an odd man rush as O’Connor had little chance on the bang-bang type of play. Hawryluk’s near the crease cross-ice pass went off the stick of Malgin from near the side of the cage that gave the Thunderbird’s their only lead of the night.
With Binghamton in the midst of a final push, they sent Springfield on the back of their heels with some relentless pressure and it finally paid off, as Akeson scored his fourth of the season glove side of McKenna that sent the big crowd into a tizzy with overtime approaching.
The drama was then unfolded as both clubs had several scoring opportunities on the three-in-three action but Springfield got a little crazy (lazy?) and was whistled for a too many men penalty. That would give the Senators a four-on-three man advantage that they undoubtedly cashed in on.
From near the point, Akeson found Phil Varone down low in the circle with his target in place locked on Perron. A quick one-time pass to Perron caught the T-Birds by surprise and his lethal snipe sailed high past McKenna for the game winner, his sixth of the season that sent that the visiting Thunderbirds on their way to the dressing room with jubilation throughout the rink from the home crowd.
POST GAME NOTES
- Amazing win, the most exciting game of the season, bar none. The fanbase knows what’s developing with this club and this team just doesn’t give up. A game under .500 with the post-season in sight. It’s an excited time to be a BSens fan in what will be their final season in Binghamton with more to come.
- It’s good O’Connor is playing consistent hockey because he was in the fan’s doghouse before he was called up for Ottawa. Since he has returned, completely different player as he’s enjoying the ride with confidence being the key factor. No more Bronx Cheers required.
- Flanagan with a strong effort as he has filled the role of a unsung hero you might say. He’s done a remarkable job.
- Rumble also played what I thought was his best game of the season. He’s been used on the powerplay and is one of the better puck movers as you can see his confidence growing every game.
- You could just sense their was going to be a comeback of sorts, as they gave it their all in the final few minutes with O’Connor pulled. But the fans is what sold it as they were into it with one of the largest of the season and the players fed off of it. Great atmosphere.
- Three Stars; 1st Perron, 2nd Akeson, 3rd Malgin.
- Akeson-Varone-Krushelnyski, McCormick-Flanagan-Rodewald, Paul-Nehring-Robinson, Perron- -Gagne. Englund/Kostka, Sieloff/Harpur, Rumble/Carlisle, Lepine. Zack Stortini a healthy scratch, Mike Blunden on IR with a concussion. Casey Bailey and Chris Driedger up in Ottawa.
The Senators visit Lehigh Valley on Wednesday to take on the Phantoms in the first of a home-on-home mini series.