Once again, Binghamton was unable to hold onto a one goal lead after two periods of play as the visiting Utica Comets scored twice in the third en-route to a 3-2 victory over the Senators on #DIFD night on Saturday. Just like the case on Friday, with the BSens up 3-2 after 40 minutes before falling to the Toronto Marlies 6-3. The latest set back is the team’s fourth straight loss and furthers them out of playoff contention with 21 games left on the schedule.
Kyle Flanagan had another strong outing as he scored his eighth of the season 3:00 into the opening frame as a loose puck bounced his way inside the right circle and sent a one-timer past the wickets of Comets’ rookie netminder Thatcher Demko for the early 1-0 lead. The play was led by defenseman Ben Harpur as he lost control of the puck near the slot but was able to get credit with an assist.
In the second period, recently sent down Casey Bailey gave the Senators a 2-0 lead as he created an odd man rush with forward Francis Perron, but his attempted pass went off the glove of Utica’s defenseman Ashton Sautner and the puck bounced right back as Bailey buried it by Demko’s five hole for his 15th.
Utica then cut the lead in half with 1:02 left as defenseman Chad Billins fed a cross ice feed to Cody Kunyk and he let it rip from the exact spot as Flanagan’s goal was from at the dot on the right circle, that beat goaltender Matt O’Connor short side for a power play goal that gave the Comets momentum headed into the third period.
And it payed off once again as Utica tied it with a 1:00 in when Colby Robak took a shot from his blueline that bounced off the back wall and in front off of Mike Zalewski to Borna Rendulic for the empty netter, as O’Connor was caught out of position.
Comets took their first and final lead of the game when forward Darren Archibald’s back door pass found Kunyk all alone at the far side of the cage for the simple tap in for his second of the night, and the eventual game winner with O’Conner fooled and Sens’ defenseman Chris Carlisle caught in the middle
POST GAME NOTES
- I thought O’Conner played well for the most part in his first game back after his recall from Wichita. First goal was a blister of a shot by Kunyk, and the last two was hard to overcome with the lack of some defensive help with him caught out of position.
- Utica’s Jake Virtanen railed Chris Rumble into the side boards by the player’s bench in the second frame that caught the eyes of Harpur, as he dropped the gloves in his attempt to take on the rookie forward, but was denied and caught a 4 minute penalty instead, (which was really 2 for instigating and 2 for roughing). The result was a late goal that put the Comets on the board and shifted momentum Utica’s way headed to the third period. I can’t blame a player sticking up for one of his teammates by Harpur, but that was a hard hit to Rumble that could've should’ve been called.
- Shots ended up in favor of Binghamton 32-27 as this was quite the lull of a game with either club lacking emotions for the majority of the night.
- Max McCormick and Bailey made it back just in time after they were sent down and Mike Blunden and Phil Varone were called up to Ottawa earlier on Saturday. Bailey continues to wear the full cage after he took a stick to the mouth last week.
- Perron-Paul-Bailey, Krushelnyski-McCormick-Akeson, Hanson-Flanagan-Rodewald, Cazzola-Rupert-Hagel. Englund/Harpur, Rumble/Sieloff, Lepine/Carlisle. Gagne, Nehring, Kostka and Hammond all out injured, while Doornbosch was a healthy scratch. /
Bus was waiting outside the Sens’ locker room getting loaded up for the long haul to Hartford for a 5:00pm contest with the Wolf Pack on Sunday.
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