Bingo Bites: A Look Back At The 2011 Calder Cup Champs

The Binghamton Senators won their first Calder Cup in 2011 along with the City of Binghamton's first ever hockey championship in nearly 40 years.

The 2010-'11 AHL Calder Cup Championship season for the Senators was a wild ride that saw many hero's as well as the introduction of new players as we take a brief look through the power of youtube on a summer morning in July.

The four rounds went like this, with the most challenging being the opening round when Binghamton fell behind three games to one before coach Kurt Klenindorst made a switch in net, taking the injured Barry Brust out and inserting rookie Robin Lehner, and the rest is history.

The four rounds ended like this;

1st round: Bingo 4 Manchester Monarchs 3

2nd round: Bingo 4 Portland Pirates 2

3rd round: Bingo 4 Charlotte Checkers 0

4th and final round: Bingo 4 Houston Aeros 2

With Binghamton ending up in fifth place in the East Division and seeded overall seventh in the Eastern Conference, the club was loaded with talent led by Corey Locke, as he was the leading scorer in the AHL with 21 goals 65 assists in 69 games and earned the AHL regular season MVP Award as well.

That first round was extremely challenging against the Monarchs that featured an overtime penalty shot by Rob Holliday that drew most Senators' fans to their knees listening to the radio, as Lehner came up big with the save. Before that Senators found some inspiration as rookie Derek Grant scored his first goal as a B-Sens evening up the series at one game a piece giving his club a new life on the road.

It wouldn't exactly prevail long, as the team saw themselves on the back end of a three to one deficit before a sudden turn-around led by newly acquired forward Ryan Potulny, as he had a five point night in leading the comeback after being down three games to one for the Sens.

After completing the hurdle, Binghamton rolled through the next two rounds as Marc Mancari, Luke Adam and T.J. Brennan led the Portland Pirates but fell in six as Binghamton gained momentum and rolled over the Charlotte Checkers in the following round in four straight. After they ended up beating division rival's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears in the opening two rounds, the Sens found themselves not having to face one of their biggest rivals. (The B-Sens had a cross over post season berth in the overall eight teams in the conference therefore didn't have to face any division teams back then.)

After the Pens series, Charlotte appeared to run out of gas after the first two rounds, as they were against some tough division foes, and then were swepted in four in the next round at the hands of the Sens.

Here's Ryan Keller with the overtime goal advancing the Senators to the finals;

Kaspars Daugavins afterwards in a colorful, yet inspiring speech which is an all time favorite of mine;

Binghamton continued the momentum and won the Cup on the road in game six with again, Keller making the difference from an impossible shot that beats goaltender Matt Hackett down in Houston. Hackett would endure the local fans cheers of "you can't hack it" to this day whenever he visits the ole barn in Binghamton for the opposing team.

First of two with Grady Whittenberg making the call highlighting the first two rounds;

Then the final two rounds including the game winner by Captain Keller against Houston in Game Six;

What a playoff run it was. I recall Andre Benoit playing at least 40 minutes in the early goings with Eric Gryba out with a foot injury. Brust also banged up losing the first three out of four in the first round and never saw the ice again with Lehner taking over. Cody Bass, Derek Smith, Zack Smith, Butler the list goes on and on. Good times.

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