02/06/2010 10:14 PM
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Rochester Americans have had the B-Sens’ number this season, taking four out of the five games between the two clubs. Coming into Saturday night, the Amerks were riding a two-game losing streak, while the struggling B-Sens have lost six of the last ten. But it was Rochester who claimed victory in this pivotal game, defeating the Senators 5-4, despite being outshot 57-37.
The Amerks jumped on the board first midway through the first period. After a dump-and-chase into the Binghamton zone, the Amerks’ forecheck dominated. Rochester’s Evgeny Dadonov picked up the puck along the right boards and chipped a pass to winger Graham Mink behind the Senators net. Mink slipped the puck over the goal line with a wrap-around to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
But that wasn’t the deepest wound the B-Sens suffered. In a matter of minutes, the Sens lost captain Denis Hamel and enforcer Jeremy Yablonski to injuries. Hamel caught the most of a knee-to-knee collision with an Amerks player, while Yablonski took three hard punches from Rochester enforcer Steve MacIntyre that left him visibly dazed. Both players did not return to the game.
The Senators bounced back 12:44 into the first period on the power play. Winger Ryan Keller fired a shot from the left faceoff dot that was turned aside by goalie Alexander Salak. The rebound was kicked out to the slot, but Josh Hennessy was there to bury the loose puck into the back of the net to tie the game at one.
The second period was dominated by the Americans, as they netted four goals off sixteen shots. The first goal came shorthanded, seven minutes into the period, as winger Kenndal McArdle slipped the puck between the legs of B-Sens’ defenseman Geoff Kinrade and retrieved the puck behind him before snapping a wrist shot past goaltender Mike Brodeur to regain the one-goal lead.
As the penalty expired, Graham Mink, serving goaltender Salak’s slashing penalty, received a lead pass up the middle of the ice coming out of the penalty box. He skated in all alone on a breakaway and fired under the glove of Brodeur to put the Amerks up 3-1
After the goal, Binghamton took a timeout in order to regain their composure. But as Brodeur approached the bench, he shoved opposing netminder Salak, earning himself a roughing penalty. The Americans would capitalize on the power play a minute later. Defenseman Clay Wilson fanned on the initial shot from the point as Zack Smith slid to block the shot, leaving him out of position. Wilson gathered the puck back and launched a wrist shot through traffic over the left shoulder of Brodeur. A frustrated Brodeur was pulled in favor of Chris Holt.
But the Senators showed signs of life at 13:38, taking advantage on the power play once again. Defenseman Jim O’Brien blasted a shot from the point that was deflected by Zack Smith in front of the net to bring the B-Sens within two.
The puck would not bounce in favor of the B-Sens, however. As the Senators were caught on a line change, Rochester winger Michael Duco intercepted a breakout attempt. Duco brought the puck down low on a 2-on-1, faked the pass with a toe drag and snuck a wrist shot past Holt short-side to give the Amerks a comfortable three-goal lead.
The B-Sens played tight defensively in the third in order to keep the game alive. Six minutes into the period, the Senators found themselves on yet another power play. And once again, they would benefit from the man advantage. Kaspars Daugavins fired a low wrist shot from the point that snuck through traffic and under the pads of Salak to bring the B-Sens within two goals for the second time of the night.
With 2:30 to go in regulation, Chris Holt was pulled for extra attacker. The Senators kept the heat on with a strong forecheck. Set up in the offensive zone, Derek Smith launched a shot that ricocheted off the pads of Salak. In nearly a replay of his goal in the first, Josh Hennessy put the rebound into the net with just 54 seconds left in the game to cut the deficit to just one goal.
With just under a minute left in the game, the B-Sens tried the same formula one more time in a last effort to tie the game. Tomas Kudelka tried to cap a valiant comeback and send the game into overtime, blasting a slap shot from the left boards. Salak, caught out of position, made a flailing glove save with just 3.7 left on the game clock. Zack Smith won the faceoff and drew it back to Jim O’Brien at the point, whose slap shot missed wide of the net as the buzzer sounded, closing the door on the Senators efforts.
The Sens look to rebound at home against the Albany River Rats on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Drop of the puck is 7:05 pm.
-Go B-Sens Go-