This game had all the making of another hit in the loss column for the Binghamton Senators. Down by a pair of goals late in the third period to the visiting Syracuse Crunch with under five minutes to play on Hall Of Fame night at The Floyd on Friday. Time to look forward to Saturday night when St. John’s arrives.
Then the improbable happened. A comeback for the ages.
Binghamton scored twice within nine seconds of each other to tie it at three apiece, (just one second short of the club’s record) that sent it to overtime. Within a minute Senators’ forward Nick Paul skated with the puck towards the hash marks and let a wrister rip by Syracuse netminder Mike McKenna for the game winner and was soon mobbed by his teammates with celebratory pats on the head of Paul along the side boards as the home fans cheered the rare victory by a final 4-3.
Sens’ goaltender Matt O’Connor (14-18-2-0, 3.23 GAA 0.895 SV%) received the win with his 27 save effort and Jason Akeson and Phil Varone each had a goal and an assist that helped knock off the division rivals.
Varone scored his 15th 9:28 in the first period on a rather sweet triangular passing from Mike Blunden to Akeson that left Varone wide open to give Binghamton the early lead. Syracuse got the equalizer later in the period with a sharp snipe by Tye McGinn from near the goal line for his 8th of the season that was set up by Tanner Richard from behind the net.
Crunch went out in front by a 2-1 margin when Henri Ikonen notched his 5th on a poke of the puck that slid under O’Connor for the lone tally in the middle frame.
In the third period Syracuse increased their slim lead to two as McGinn recorded his second of the game as his wrister beat O’Connor stick side with 10:38 remaining. But the Sens rallied back with two quick goals.
Akesome made it look easy as he skated into the offensive zone ad lifted the puck from inside the circle past McKenna for his 20th goal of the season. Nine seconds later as the crowd gathered into their seats they rose again when Jack Rodewald scored unassisted off the center faceoff and made the most of a defensive lapse when defenseman Dominik Mason took a spill, with a shot from a near impossible angle that tied the game at three apiece.
In the overtime period, Paul was patient and made some room as he skated near the hash marks and sniped the game winner with just over a minute in for the 4-3 final.
Emery: "We had such a great team. McGrattan, Spezza, and I lived together and we have fun memories here in Binghamton." pic.twitter.com/SOzaWYOO2y— Binghamton Senators (@SenatorsAHL) April 7, 2017
POST GAME NOTES
- Rookie prospect Marcus Hogberg served as back-up. Perhaps he’ll get the start on Saturday. If so, I’ll have the recap to follow.
- Paul looks to be ready as I’m sure he’ll be included on the Black Aces for Ottawa’s post-season run. His third goal in the last two games.
- Former goalie Ray Emery was inducted to Binghamton’s Hall of Fame and made a brief speech with the support of the fans as they cheered him on. Current BSens’ assistant coach Steve Stirling and former BC IceMen owner Patrick Snyder were inducted as well.
- Blunden-Varone-Akeson, McCormick-Paul-Hagel, McParland-Nehring-Rodewald, Boucher-Flanagan-Gagne. Englund/Carlisle, Gormley/Erkamps, Murray/Rumble. Sieloff, Perron and Lepine injured./
Senators return to action when they take on the St. John’s IceCaps on Saturday.