12/10/2010 11:24 PM
By Chris Cotrone
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Marred by a four game losing streak, the Binghamton Senators looked to turn their outlook around Friday night, squaring off against the East Division rival Albany Devils. With their leading scorer, Bobby Butler, earning a call-up to Ottawa, the B-Sens searched for increased offensive production by experimenting with new line formations. Head coach Kurt Kleinendorst’s line changes appeared to be just what the B-Sens needed as the team came out firing on all cylinders, displaying instant chemistry. Backed by Barry Brust’s perfect performance, the B-Sens scored early and continued to pressure the Devils all game in route to a morale-boosting 5-0 victory in front of the home crowd.
The B-Sens broke a defensive stalemate with 5:32 left to play in the first period to notch the game’s first tally. Working with a man advantage, Derek Smith grabbed a pass from Andre Benoit in the Devil’s zone and took the puck along the left boards, skating behind the end line. Smith angled a pass on net for Corey Locke, who one-timed the puck past Albany net minder Jeff Frazee, top shelf to put the B-Sens on the board.
Three and a half minutes later, Binghamton added to their first period lead at the hands of Colin Greening’s fifth goal of the season. As the B-Sens set up their offense, Kaspars Daugavins found Jim O’Brien open in the back of the left circle. O’Brien patiently settled the puck and fired a shot, with traffic sitting in front of the Albany net. The puck deflected off an Albany blocker and Greening capitalized, sending the puck top shelf and in to increase the B-Sens’ lead to 2-0.
The B-Sens took advantage of yet another power play 6:08 into the second period. Looking for their shot, the B-Sens worked the puck around the point efficiently. Roman Wick centered the puck to Mike Hoffman from the right boards, who then delivered a pass to Geoff Kinrade on the left wing. Kinrade slid the puck back up top to Hoffman, who lasered an off-balance slap shot clean past the unsuspecting Frazee to widen the lead to 3-0.
Despite the comfortable lead, Binghamton would not relax on offense, scoring again at 12:58 in the second. This time it was Zack Smith who would benefit from nice puck movement by Erik Condra and Derek Smith. Z. Smith received the puck in the neutral zone and attempted to skate it in himself, hitting the post on his initial shot. However, Z. Smith gathered his own rebound and this time found the back of the net on a follow-up wrister, pushing the score to 4-0 in favor of the B-Sens.
The Devils attempted to sneak a score past the celebrating B-Sens on the ensuing possession, but Barry Brust saved what appeared to be a sure goal as he dove from a seated position to knock the puck away with his stick on the far side. The athletic save brought fans to their feet and spurred chants of Brust’s name throughout the arena.
The unrelenting B-Sens would not slow down at all in this one-sided affair, continuing to put pressure on the Devils with their offense in the third period. At the 11:50 mark in the period, Binghamton would score again thanks to patient offensive production. Pushing into the Albany zone, Locke controlled the puck at the bottom of the left circle, where he waited until he saw Condra make a move towards the net. Locke sent Condra a perfect pass in stride, which he was able to convert into a goal, sneaking the puck between the pipes one last time for the B-Sens to give them a 5-0 lead with 8:10 left to play.
Brust secured the lead by turning aside the nine shots that came his way in the third and all twenty-five that he saw in the game, to earn this third shutout of the season, as well as first star honors. Locke and Condra rounded out the second and third stars respectively for the B-Sens, who look to build on their well-deserved victory tomorrow night against the North Division’s Rochester Americans. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are $17.75 for side seating, $16.75 for end seating. Fans can purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or in person at the Binghamton Senators’ executive office or the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena box office.
-Go B-Sens Go-