It's alarming that I only remember that today was the fourteenth, and therefore Valentine's Day, by writing the headline for the latest prospect roundup. Yikes. On the same note, there is one individual I hope does not read today's article and come to the obvious conclusion that I had time to write a thousand words on the state of future hockey players, yet no time to do anything in recognition of Saint Valentine.
The Binghamton Senators had a disappointing weekend on the Rock (by 'the Rock,' I mean Newfoundland and not Dwayne Johnson). Their lone trip north of the season was a disappointingly somber occasion, as they lost in the dying moments of the first leg, and were thrashed in the second. Robin Lehner's 44-save performance on Saturday was not enough to boost the B-Sens, and McKenna was chased from the net on Sunday afternoon. Despite two losing efforts, there were a number of positives to be taken from the weekend. For a breakdown of the B-Sens trip, a pursuit of the elusive silver lining and a closer look at some lesser-knowns in Michael Sdao and Marcus Sorensen, take the jump.
St. John's IceCaps 4, Binghamton Senators 3
It seems unnatural to suggest after being outshot 48-21(!!!), but it felt as though Binghamton deserved a better fate in this one. At the very least, Robin Lehner played well enough to secure them one point, and if it weren't for a low shot on the rush from the IceCaps' Jason King, they would have had the tally. Moreover, the B-Sens were playing much of the game with the lead, until the very last. Play was largely in their end, but Lehner was standing tall. Unfortunately, it didn't hold. Ever since I was critical of David Dziurzynski's production two weeks ago, he has been on an absolute tear, with his fast skating and quick hands translating into goals.
St. John's IceCaps 6, Binghamton Senators 3
In the first period of Sunday's game, the referees forgot to remove the whistles from their mouths and they sounded every time one of them took a breath. Really. The period saw two 5-on-3 opportunities, as well as one more powerplay for each team, and a bonus one for St. John's, just for good measure. In the end, it added up to fourteen penalty minutes, in a twenty minute frame with no fights. To convince both teams they hadn't mistakenly gone overboard in the first, the officials maintained both teams were playing filthy hockey, doling out another twelve minutes in punitive measures in the second. Jeez. To make matters worse, Binghamton was outplayed terribly in the second period. You have to hand it to these B-Sens, as they made it a game with a ferocious rally in the third period, until Robin Lehner (he entered the game in relief of Mike McKenna) was beat on an odd bank shot from behind the goal line.
So, what saved the weekend? Well, if I spent a night out on George Street, I probably would be in no mood to play some puck. The BSens fought hard on both nights. On Saturday, St. John's' late goal was crushing. Still, the Binghamton players out for the next shift, armed with an extra attacker, flung their bodies in the way of their empty net. With about three point blank opportunities on goal, the IceCaps could not, uh, ice the BSens. No, there was no wild rush back up to the offensive zone to tie the game, but this team showed desperation and while you cannot watch a replay of the IceCaps' attempts to hit the empty net- trust me. It was bonkers. Am I grasping at straws? Not really. This team has gone through a tumultuous season defined by major injuries, losing streaks and the prompt erasure of any momentum gained. They entered the third period on Sunday down 5-1. Before the last twenty minutes ticked away, they had clawed their way back to a two-goal game. A peculiar goal ended their night, but it had looked to be done long earlier.
|Michael Sdao (Princeton)
Drafted more for his physical and domineering defensive play (at 6'4, 220lbs, he's no slouch), Sdao has offered a little more insight into different parts of his game. Upper year players are sure to see ice time in more important situations as well as more often, but this is still a... completely surprising side of his game.
|Marcus Sorensen (Boras HC)
Draft picks over the past few years for the Senators have raised eyebrows with some astronomical numbers. Thus, it should not come as too much of a surprise that Sorensen has faded off the map. Sorensen has actually done so in a pretty literal sense. The fourth round pick is currently playing in the second rung of Swedish hockey, and has been putting up some decent numbers. Unless his target is the AHL, Sorensen is likely to spend more time in Sweden. He hasn't been given much of a crack at playing consistent time in the Elitserien, but has produced at other levels.
- Take a peek at the Senators' weekly prospect update. It's like the information I regurgitate to you, only without my commentary. That may or may not be a selling point.
- I will be taking a week off from prospect updating, as I'm heading away for a week to spend most of the money I won betting on a New York Giants safety to open the scoring in the Super Bowl. Seriously. (I had to fit it in somewhere). Look for a double-digest in two weeks' time.