02/23/2011 10:21 PM
By Chris Cotrone
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The East Division and American Hockey League leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visited the Broome County Memorial Arena Wednesday night to square off against the Binghamton Senators in what was setting up to be a battle of dominant goaltenders. With Barry Brust looking to extend his nine game winning streak and Brad Thiessen allowing just four goals in his last seven games, it appeared that points would be hard to come by in the contest, especially with both teams marred by depleted rosters. Yet the game did not exactly play out as expected as the B-Sens found a way to successfully get the puck past Thiessen four times in two periods despite being held to only 16 total shots. Conversely, Brust’s efforts in net helped stifle the Penguins to one goal on 48 shot attempts, allowing Binghamton to walk away with the 4-1 victory.
Ryan Keller got things started for the B-Sens in the first period, scoring on a setup from David Dziurzynski. With a two-on-one opportunity, Dziurzynski skated down the left boards and drew the Penguins defense toward him before centering the puck to the cutting Keller, who buried his shot in the back of the net to establish a 1-0 lead for the B-Sens.
The Penguins answered with a goal of their own to open the second, taking advantage of a power play. From the right circle Steve Wagner passed the puck to the middle of the slot, where Bryan Lerg grabbed the puck, hesitated, and then fired the biscuit into the top right corner of the net to even the score at one apiece.
This would be the only goal the Penguins would manage to muster, while the B-Sens would light the lamp three more times in the period, the first of which came courtesy of Eric Gryba’s second goal of the season. After Corey Cowick’s initial attempt sailed wide right of the net, Roman Wick chased down the puck and dumped it just inside of the blue line for Gryba. Without hesitation, Gryba riffled a slapper from the point that flew clean past Thiessen, giving the B-Sens the go-ahead goal.
Later in the period it was Kaspars Daugavins who was the beneficiary of a power play chance, adding to the Binghamton lead with help from Keller and Derek Smith. Smith worked the puck around the point and slid a pass to Keller wide in the left circle, who immediately sent it over to Daugavins who was open in the slot thanks to a five-on-three advantage. Daugavins wound up and connected on his close-range shot for his thirteenth of the season, pushing the score to 3-1 in favor of Binghamton.
Moments later, the B-Sens would tally their fourth goal of the game on a heads-up play from Andrew Sweetland. Cowick was once again involved in the playmaking, as the winger worked hard for the puck on the boards and fired an off-balance shot on target. The puck bounced off the crouching Thiessen’s pads and Sweetland swooped in to collect the rebound and lift the puck over the Pens’ net minder to record what would be the final goal of the night.
With two phenomenal periods already under his belt, Brust refused to relent in the third, stopping all 24 shots that he saw in the period to extend his own winning streak to ten games, and his team’s winning streak to a season-high seven, with the final score reading 4-1.
The B-Sens are back in action Friday in Syracuse as they take on the Crunch. Game time is set for 7:30 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-