Binghamton Senators lose to the mighty Hershey Bears 3-1 on home ice for their fourth straight loss to start out the month of March. The contest was pretty much run by the Bears, as they continue to roll this season while climbing to the top of the North Division.
Rookie goaltender Matt O'Connor was fairly decent having only 21 saves, and another new face made his way into the line-up, making his Senator debut in Michael Keranen. With 20 games left, the team remains competitive doing their best despite the shortage of talent while three key offensive players remaining up top in Ottawa in Ryan Dzingel, Matt Puempel and Nick Paul.
Bears came out flying in the first period and controlled the tempo as talented rookie forward Riley Barber scored his 20th on a screened shot by O'Connor after accepting a crisp pass from Nathan Walker near the end boards that made it a 1-0 game. Senators were able to tie it on a power play goal from recently acquired Phil Varone as he scooped up the loose puck out in front by Bears goaltender Dan Ellis. Defenseman Michael Kostka picked up the primary assist with a soft liner from the blue line that hit a body in front.
Much the same in the second with the Bears forcing the Senators back on their heels. Hershey re-took the lead when former Senator Dustin Gazley emerged from behind the net and his snap shot is stopped, but the puck found Sean Collins by the side of the cage for a easy tap in, as O'Connor didn't have time to react.
Senators made a late push in the final period and came close in a mad scramble in front with O'Connor pulled, but Chris Bourque would add an empty netter with 31.7 seconds remaining to end it 3-1 Bears. Hard to win when you only have four shots on net in the period with none in the first 10:33.
POST GAME NOTES
- Kostka called up after the game. I saw the limo parked outside the dressing room waiting after the game as he played well enough tonight to get the call. Hopefully this time around he'll see some action after his last two, he was a scratch.
- Dave Dziurzynski played a physical game with some bone jarring hits and made himself known which was great to see.
- Chris Driedger is on recall with Craig Anderson out serving as back-up to Andrew Hammond. Scott Greenham was summoned up from Evansville to take his spot.
- Ryan Bourque played in his first game as a Bear joining his older brother Chris after five seasons with the Rangers Organization. The move was made after Scott Gomez left to finish out the season playing in Ottawa.
-Zack Stortini was scratched being a victim with the team having too many vets, as Keranen was inserted and his playing time in the SEL/AHL brought him over the limit. Now with Kostka up, he'll be able to return on Saturday against his former team, the Phantoms.
Lehigh Valley pays a visit in a home game on Saturday, then off to St. John's next Tuesday and Wednesday on The Rock.
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of @AliciaS20