04/17/2011 7:31 PM
By Chris Cotrone
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Despite happily splitting the first two games of their Calder Cup semi-final series on the road with the Manchester Monarchs thanks to some late heroics in game two, the Binghamton Senators were determined not to leave all of their scoring for the third period this time around.
Hosting the Monarchs in the first of what will be three consecutive home games at the Broome County Arena, the Senators scored three unanswered first period goals to ensure a late B-Sens comeback would not be necessary to take game three. Yet, after Manchester tallied four goals in the latter two periods of the game to eventually force overtime, the Senators once again found themselves in need of clutch play to scrape out a victory.
This time, however, the hero would be wearing a Monarchs jersey. Bud Holloway netted the game-winning goal for the Monarchs in OT, giving the winger a hat trick on the night and capping Manchester’s own spree of three unanswered goals in order to reclaim the series lead, two games to one.
The Senators made good on their vow to score early as Andre Benoit, Roman Wick, and Colin Greening each notched their first goals of the playoffs during the B-Sens’ scoring surge in the opening stanza, while Ryan Potulny added his team-leading fourth point of the playoffs with an assist.
Ryan Keller nearly got things going for the B-Sens 3:28 into the first, but Monarchs goalie Jeff Zatkoff was just able to get an outstretched arm on the Binghamton captain’s shot, allowing Potulny to tip the rebound out to Benoit at the point where the defenseman sniped a shot past Zatkoff’s stick side.
After gaining a 1-0 lead, the B-Sens doubled the Monarchs deficit 12:36 into the period on Wick’s strong wrist shot from the right point that was set up by Patrick Coulombe’s fake slap shot from dead center.
Minutes later Zack Smith lead a 2-on-1 break down the ice from the left boards, but delayed his shot forcing Zatkoff to commit in order to challenge him. Smith put the puck on net and it ricocheted off the Monarchs’ net minder allowing Colin Greening, who was right there, to jam it into the open net and cap the three goal period.
The Monarchs got on the board 10:50 into the second thanks to Bud Holloway’s first goal of the game right at the Binghamton doorstep that was set up by a centering feed from Schenn.
Manchester would keep the pressure on the Senators in the second, cutting the Binghamton lead to one in the waning minutes of the period on Holloway’s second goal of the game. After Bobby Butler had a scoring opportunity squandered on the Monarchs’ end, play quickly traveled the other way as Holloway led the break and fired a shot right past Brust’s stick side to bring the score to 3-2.
The B-Sens tried to create separation to open the third as Bobby Butler netted a power play goal to bring Senators’ lead back to two. Smith and Benoit both assisted on the play to earn their second points of the night, but the Binghamton celebration would be short-lived with the Monarchs answering back less than two minutes later. Jake Muzzin launched a laser from the blue line that sailed clean past everyone and banked off the post before going in to cut the Manchester deficit back to one.
Midway through the third a costly blunder by the B-Sens allowed the Monarchs to tie the game, as the Senators turned over the puck in their own zone from behind the net. Holloway was again behind the Monarchs success as he came up with the theft and dished it to Dwight King, who was wide open in front of the Binghamton net to hammer home the puck and force an overtime period.
There would be no chance for late game heroics for the Senators in this one as a risky clear from Brust didn’t fully make it out of the Binghamton zone not yet two minutes into overtime. With the pressure still looming by the B-Sens net, Elkins instinctively sent the puck back towards the net, where Holloway grabbed the puck and beat Brust one final time to seal it for the Monarchs.
-Go B-Sens Go-