12/11/2010 11:01 PM
By Chris Cotrone
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Riding the momentum from last night’s victory over the Albany Devils, the Binghamton Senators took to the ice Saturday night for the second of back-to-back home games, this time taking on the North Division’s Rochester Americans. The B-Sens shuffled the lineups once again, as Bobby Butler made his return to Binghamton following his NHL call-up while Robin Lehner manned the pipes for the eighth time this season. The updated lines again started strong and continued to create scoring opportunities as the B-Sens shelled Rochester with 48 total shots, but nonetheless found themselves knotted with the Amerks at the end of regulation, eventually falling to the Florida Panther’s affiliate in the shootout by the score of 4-3.
The B-Sens struck first, executing on their first power play opportunity of the contest. With Amerks center Chris Taylor serving time for high-sticking, Andre Benoit fed the puck to Corey Locke in the slot, who faked a shot and hit an open Derek Smith with a pass in the left circle. Smith skated up and created separation before firing the puck over Rochester goaltender Jacob Markstrom, hitting the crossbar and ricocheting in to give the B-Sens a 1-0 lead.
Later in the first period, Jim O’Brien intercepted a Rochester pass at the blue line with Corey Locke relegated to the sin bin, prompting a shorthanded breakaway opportunity for O’Brien. The Binghamton center challenged Markstrom head on before cutting left and sending a backhanded shot around the Amerks net minder and in to push the B-Sens lead to 2-0. O’Brien’s unassisted goal was the second shorthanded conversion for the B-Sens this season, the first of which O’Brien also scored.
With 2:00 remaining in the first, the Americans cut into the Binghamton lead, capitalizing on their own power play. Clay Wilson cautiously played the puck out wide before finding Michael Duco dead center in the slot with a pass. Duco secured the puck and launched a high wrister, which deflected off Lehner and found its way in the net, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of Binghamton.
After a scoreless second period, the two teams combined for three total goals in the third. Mirroring Jim O’Brien’s earlier play, Rochester’s Bates Battaglia came up with a steal at the point, and raced down the ice on a breakaway, beating Lehner through the five-hole to tie the game at two, with his first goal of the season.
Not three minutes later, the Americans would take their first lead of the game on a fluke power play goal. With a man advantage, Clay Wilson sent a hard shot sailing wide of the net and seemingly out of danger for the B-Sens. However, the puck caromed off the back boards and took a fortuitous bounce towards the net, hitting a B-Sens blocker in the back and trickling past Lehner, to put the Amerks up, 3-2.
Midway through the period, Binghamton would answer back, thanks to unselfish play by Erik Condra. With a 2-on-1 brewing in the Amerks’ zone, Condra gave the puck up to Corey Locke at just the right moment for Locke to bury the puck in the back of the net, knotting the game at 3-3.
Lehner did his part to keep the game at a draw, making a sprawling save with just minutes to play in the third, eventually forcing an overtime period. Hard-nosed defense by both clubs thwarted any offensive chances in the extra period, sending the B-Sens to just their second shootout of the season. With the shootout score still reading 0-0, Kaspars Daugavins tried to surprise Markstrom with his infamous spin shot using the tip of his stick, but he was just off target, leaving an opportunity for the Amerks to pounce. On the following attempt, A.J. Jenks beat Lehner for what would be the lone shootout goal, wrapping up an exhausting victory for his Amerks, with the final score reading 4-3, in favor of Rochester.
The B-Sens try to rebound tomorrow as they travel to Rochester to face the Amerks once more this weekend. Game time is set for 5:05 p.m. Fans can listen live on 680 WINR-AM or 1430 WENE-AM beginning 30 minutes before game time for Countdown to Faceoff with Grady Whittenburg, the voice of the B-Sens.
-Go B-Sens Go-