For the first time since 2003, the Binghamton Senators will be going to the American Hockey League Eastern Conference Finals. Their series-clinching win over the Portland Pirates was an impressive, all-around, thorough effort from top to bottom, and it ended in a convincing 3-0 final score.
Mere seconds into the game, the Senators took the lead--needless to say, it was the start they were looking for. Jim O`Brien scored just 25 seconds into the game, with assists to Jared Cowen--his first pro point in his first pro playoff game--and Kaspars Daugavins. Portland took it to Binghamton for the rest of the period, recording 11 shots through the rest of the frame, but Robin Lehner was there to stop each of them.
It looked like the Pirates tied things up on the powerplay in the second period, but the refs waved it off after deciding that the whistle was blown before the puck crossed the line, and Bingo stayed ahead. The Sens were then forced to fight off a 5-on-3, but did so successfully, and shortly after the half-way mark of the period Zack Smith scored his third of the playoffs to double Binghamton's lead.
Bingo defended their lead well through the third period, and with just over a minute left, Daugavins scored his sixth goal of the series to lock it down for the Sens. That was all she wrote for the series, and the B-Sens move on to the conference finals. They await the winner of the series between the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins and the Charlotte Checkers.
BSens Hero: Robin Lehner
Lehner bounced back big time in game six. After allowing four goals and being pulled before the first period of game five even ended, he was clutch in game six. He stopped all 36 shots he faced, and his first playoff shutout couldn't have come at a better time.
B-Sens Hero: Kaspars Daugavins
Daugavins had a goal and an assist in game six, which is impressive. But more impressive: In the six games of the Atlantic Division Final series, Daugavins had 6G and 2A overall, including one game-winner and plenty of huge goals. Ryan Potulny powered Bingo to their first-round win, but Daugavins was the go-to guy in round two.
B-Sens Hero: Jared Cowen
Cowen stepped in for his first professional playoff game, and didn't look at all out of place. He put up a point just 25 seconds into the game, but more than that, he played a sound and responsible defensive game. With the team still dealing with serious injury problems on defence, having Cowen on the blue line was huge (literally). He was especially good on the penalty kill.
BSens Hero: Penalty Kill
The B-Sens penalty killers were instrumental in the win. Although the team found themselves in penalty trouble once again, the whole gang managed to kill each one off (including that extended 5-on-3 kill) to preserve their win.
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