BINGHAMTON – With a little bit of luck on their side, the St. John’s Ice Caps squeaked out a 4-3 shootout win on Saturday night in front of 3714 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. St. John’s (10-9-1-2 23 points, 2nd Northeast) wraps up a 3-2 stateside road trip and will begin the long journey back to Newfoundland on a happy note.
It was a tale of what felt like two different games, as Binghamton took advantage of the road weary Ice Caps, but despite multiple turnovers and breakaway chances, the Senators were unable to pull too far ahead.
Binghamton (14-6-0-1, 29 points T-1st East Division) was able to get on the board early, taking advantage of one of the early turnovers. After sloppy play in the neutral end, captain Mike Hoffman ended up with the puck. He was able to skate around his man and picked up steam as he cut through the right circle and ended up in the slot. As his man was catching up with him, he let go a backhand that found its way into the net as the two collided to make it 1-0 Binghamton just 2:41 in. It was Hoffman’s team leading (and leading all skaters in the game) 11th goal of the year, with Buddy Robinson and Fredrik Claesson getting helpers.
The B-Sens seemed to be controlling play, but could not get the puck into the net, allowing the Ice Caps to tie the game late in the opening frame. 16:43 in Kris Fredheim got the puck to Eric O’Dell in the slot. O’Dell touched passed the puck over to Jerome Samson whose wrist shot from the right circle somehow found its way between Andrew Hammond’s shoulder and the post to tie the game at 1 goal apiece. It was Samson’s eighth of the year.
Meanwhile, as play settled down in the second, Jussi Olkinuora continued his exceptional play to keep the score tied until the midway point of the period. Hoffman and the puck near the left side boards, and sent it to a waiting Stephane Da Costa in the slot. Da Costa went backhand, surprising Olkinuora, making it a 2-1 Senators lead on his 7th of the season at 13:42. Cleasson has the secondary assist, his second of the night.
Just like in the first, Binghamton could not find that push to get them further ahead, instead allowing St. John’s to tie it up. Just after a 4:00 penalty to Wacey Hamilton (and a 10:00 misconduct) for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, the Ice Caps powerplay unleashed three shots on Hammond. He was able to stop the first and the corresponding rebound, but the second rebound went right to Andrew Gordon, who put home his eighth goal of the year at 16:57 to tie it at two. Jason Jaffray had the second shot and was credited with the first assist. The initial shot and second assist came from Zach Redmond. Binghamton was able to escape the rest of the period as Samson took a slashing penalty shortly after the first portion of the penalty expired.
It was deja vu in the third period. Binghamton again got on the board first as David Dziurzynski scored his first goal of the year. An initial shot from Matt Puempel was saved by Olkinuora but Dizzy was right in front and backhanded the rebound home to give the Sens the lead 9:47 in. After Hammond made a key save on a breakaway in the waning minutes, the Ice Caps were forced to pull the goalie late in the game.
St. John’s took advantage and had four guys in or near Hammond’s crease. After the puck was sent down low, Carl Klingberg put the game tying goal home with just 27 ticks left on the clock.
The game stayed tied into and through overtime.
In the shootout, Olkinuora was stellar, stopping four of five quality shots on him. Hoffman got some redemption for his second breakaway, scoring the B-Sens lone goal, while O’Dell and Samson scored for St. John’s to end the game at 4-3.