That was crazy.
Binghamton and Syracuse participated in a wild one but the Senators would prevail to end their seven game losing skid with a 6-4 victory over the Crunch at The Floyd on a rare Sunday matinee. With both clubs coming off a long weekend of three games in three days, it didn’t show as the two rivals skated hard in the third period with back and forth action with less than five minutes to play as the Crunch almost pulled off an incredible comeback.
Sens goaltender Matt O’Connor played well enough to get the win, but not before Syracuse scored twice within 14 seconds that made it a one goal game with less than two minutes left. Luckily a pair of empty netters from Jason Akeson sealed it for his unconventional hat trick.
Casey Bailey scored his team leading 17th on a delayed penalty call from the arc of the circle through traffic past ex-BSens’ netminder Mike McKenna, who was acquired in a trade last Wednesday. Binghamton went up 2-0 five minutes later as Captain Mike Blunden’s one-timer from the slot beat McKenna for a power play goal. Syracuse would cut the lead in half when defenseman Daniel Walcott wrist shot rang off the upper left post past O’Connor’s stick side and into the six-by-four cage.
Senators regained their two goal lead as Akeson beat McKenna one-on-one near the corner of the net after taking a long pass from the point by forward Phil Varone, one of his four helpers of the day. Crunch forward Matthew Peca would again make it a one goal game when he picked up a loose puck off the rebound in front and placed it into the empty net for his eighth of the season.
Less than a minute remained in the second period when Bailey unleashed a big slapper from inside the blueline that whips by McKenna’s glove on the power play as he looked to the heavens knowing he should’ve came up with the save that gave Binghamton a 4-2 lead heading into the locker-rooms.
The Crunch with all kinds of pressure early in the third period as O’Connor made some nice saves to keep it a two goal game. However, with Mckenna pulled for the extra attacker, Akeson was able to make it 5-2 with an empty netter from center ice that kept the big Sunday crowd happy with a win in sight.
But hold on, as Syracuse scored two goals in a span of 14 seconds that allowed them to have an opportunity to tie it and send it to overtime with 1:42 left in the third. Mike Halmo skated around the back of the net and found forward John Kurtz in front as was able to tap in the puck past O’Connor in a goal-mouth scramble in his first game with Syracuse. Then Halmo went top shelf over O’C’s left shoulder identical to Walcott’s shot in the first period that made things interesting to say the least.
McKenna was pulled once again as Max McCormick missed the open net from along the side wall that gave Syracuse one more life. But in came Akeson to save the day as his shot was successful into the empty cage with 0:25.7 left to end Binghamton’s long seven game losing streak.
POST GAME NOTES
- The home-on-home weekend series ended up with a split, as the Crunch defeated the Sens by a 4-1 count on Saturday in Syracuse followed by the Sens win tonight. The boys showed some fight in them that otherwised looked like it was heading into an atomic choke near the end.
- Scouting Report on O’Connor appears to be shoot high, stick side as he let in a couple tonight as well as on Friday before he was yanked after he gave up four goals in 3:05 in Syracuse. Always a question with him in net when the game is on the line with less than three minutes left. It just never fails when it’s crunch time. (Pun not intended)
- D-man Andreas Englund with a big hit on Syracuse forward Tye McGinn in the defensive zone that sent him to the ice as players gathered in the corner soon after.
- Senators Nick Paul and Varone both had breakaways but were unable to get a shot off. Varone finished with four assists
- Bailey ended up with 2nd Star honors with two goals and an assist and number one Star went to Akeson with his hatty and also an assist.
- Akeson-Varone-Perron, McCormick-Paul-Blunden, Flanagan-Bailey-Hagel, Krushelnyski-Rupert-Rodewald. Englund/Harpur, Lepine/Sieloff, Doornbosch/Carlisle. Nehring out injured. Hanson and Rumble a pair of healthy’s.
BSens has the pleasure of playing on yet, another three-in-three event coming up next weekend with the first two games slated in Binghamton starting on Friday with the Albany Devils.