Binghamton Senators showed up for the first 35 minutes and an early 1-0 lead before the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins stormed back with four unanswered goals in the final 25 minutes and emerged victorious by a 4-1 margin on a Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The Sens fall two games below .500 and lost for the third consecutive time as they played shorthanded with 11 forwards.
But Binghamton (2-4-0-1) got the early jump and outplayed WB/Scranton for the better part of two periods as forward Mike Blunden forced a turnover from behind the net to Pens’ netminder Tristan Jarry and skated out front for a backhander into the empty cage for his second of the season, unassisted, and a 1-0 lead. That would be all the scoring for the Senators as the offense continues to struggle during this current losing streak.
The Pens (6-1-1-0) then proved why they are in first place in the Atlantic Division as they powered their way on the offense that erased a one goal deficit and turned it into a one goal lead with under five minutes left in the second period.
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel’s slapper from the blueline hit Jake Guentzel in front through traffic and behind Matt O’Connor that gave the Penguins the spark they needed for an even strength goal. Two minutes later, Pens’ Captain Tom Kostopoulos hammered home a rebound for a power play goal and a 2-1 lead to end the period.
In the third it was more Pens and less Sens with defensive breakdowns that resulted into two goals for WBS. The first led to a three-on-one rush as forward Garrett Wilson faked a pass and shot instead that hit the mark far side past O’Connor’s blocker for his first of the season. Then, quite remarkably, forward Oskar Sundqvist was left all alone in the right circle and buried a one-timer that snuck in off the near post for a three goal cushion to close out the scoring.
Binghamton will have two more opportunities to get back on the winning side with this being a three-in-three weekend. However, they will need a 60 minute effort for it to happen.
POST GAME NOTES
- Defense looked really sound in the first half of the game as they shut down the shooting lanes with sticks on pucks until the wheels fell off late in the second. Same can be said of O’Connor’s effort, but that too would be altered by a tough Penguin club. Shots ended up in favor of WBS 30-21.
- Sens had a full two minute 5 on 3 man advantage in the third but couldn’t capitalize.
- Curtis Lazar was clearly the best forward on the ice with his hustle and fore-checking.
- For the second game in a row Binghamton jumps out front for an early lead only to squander it for a bunch of unanswered goals. This is not a comeback type of club, so there’s some confidence issues that need to be addressed.
- Still no Captain named as players continue to alternate the ‘A’. Tonight it was Blunden, Michael Kostka and Zack Stortini.
- Bailey-Varone-Blunden, Lazar-Paul-Robinson, Flanagan-Rupert-Perron, Grant-Stortini. Sieloff-Kostka, Englund-Rumble, Harpur-Carlisle. Nick Paul and Lazar rotated in the center position on the fourth line.
- Guy Lepine served Game 1 of a 3 game suspension, and Vincent Dunn sat out his 1 game suspension. Chad Nehring is out on the IR, Max McCormick and Fredrik Claesson are up in Ottawa.
- Forward Triston Grant was called up from Wichita and skated on the fourth line. Defenseman Chris Rumble was also called up and made his season debut for the BSens./
The second of the long weekend will take place on Saturday in Binghamton against the Rochester Americans.