BINGHAMTON - The Binghamton Senators exploded for five goals as they cruised to a Tanksgiving Eve 5-1 victory over their rival Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night in front of 3355 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Binghamton dominated the game over the depleted Crunch, missing their top four scorers due to call-ups and injury.
They couldn’t connect early, as shots went wide and passes weren’t crisp, but they continued outskating the Crunch (9-7-1-1 20 points, 8th in Eastern Conference, 4th in East Division)through the period. Early on, just 2:39 in, Riku Helenius faced his first test as Cole Schneider had a penalty shot opportunity. He took a weak backhanded shot on the right side, but Helenius wasn’t fooled and made the save to keep the game scoreless.
Nearly halfway through the period, a Syracuse player was going for the puck near goalie Nathan Lawson. Lawson swatted it away but the Crunch stick hit him in the neck, causing some pain for the starting netminder. After a brief delay with the trainers looking at him, Lawson remained in the game but was replaced by Andrew Hammond in the second.
“He looked real solid and comfortable,” coach Luke Richardson said of Hammond’s play in relief. “It looks like he’s getting into a groove here.”
Hammond was credited with the win, his second in as many games for the Senators.
“He’s doing OK,” Richardson said of Lawson. “He said it was a little sore to talk…we’ll just check him and make sure he’s recovering tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the Sens (14-5-0-0 28 points, 2nd in Eastern Conference, 1st in East Division) got on the board first at the 10:28 mark. With the Crunch battling for the puck behind their own net, a Syracuse player inadvertently swept the puck to Mike Sdao, who was sitting in the left circle. Sdao wristed the puck and it fooled Helenius as it had some English on it. It was the defenseman’s second goal of the year. The score stayed the same until a quarter way into the second.
Before the B-Sens got back on the board, Sdao made noise again, for the wrong reason. Sdao hit an extremely hard shot from the center point. The impact hit Nikita Nesterov square in the nose and shattered his shield. Blood was on the ice. Nesterov was rushed to the B-Sens locker room for treatment, as it was the closest to the incident. He returned to the ice during the intermission to skate back to his own locker, but was not seen on the ice the rest of the night.
After the scare, the Sens doubled their lead as Andre Petersson scored his first of two goals on the night. Shane Prince had the puck at the top of the slot and fed it over to Petersson in the left side circle. Petersson’s sixth goal of the year at 6:45 had a secondary assist from Jim O’Brien.
The new look Crunch, however, was not going down without at least a little fight. Defenseman Dmirty Korobov blasted a shot from the right point. Geoff Walker was able to redirect it in front of the net and past Hammond to cut the lead in half to 2-1 at 10:35. It came on the powerplay with Wacey Hamilton in the box for tripping, one of just four penalties on the night across the board. Jean-Phillipe Cote had the second assist on Walker’s first goal of the year.
Binghamton did what Binghamton does best in the second half of the game: score often. They got three more goals in the final 21 minutes of the game. With 58 seconds left in the game, it was Prince’s turn. There was a mess in front of the goal after an initial shot from the point by Chris Wideman. The puck was stopped by Helenius, but went off another Crunch player before Prince tipped in the rebound for his fifth goal of 2013.
Despite being in “go mode” the Sens played a bit sluggish to start the third, but in typical Binghamton form, quickly found their stride again. A beautiful play capped off this rush, as Buddy Robinson had the puck at the right point, but found David Dziurzynski in the slot. He broke away from Cedric Paquette and shot the puck at Helenius. The puck appeared to go off him and creep into the net, but the off-ice officials said Cole Schnieder got his stick on the puck before it found it’s way behind the goal line, so he was credited with his sixth of the year at 11:31. Binghamton was not done.
The fans were sent home with an extra helping of scoring as Petersson scored his second of the night and seventh of the year at 15:14. Petersson had the initial shot but there was traffic in front and it was originally determined that O’Brien had the goal. After review, it was determined Petersson had the last touch and Prince was credited with the second assist.
Binghamton and Syracuse, along with the rest of the AHL, have Thanksgiving off. Syracuse will host the St. John’s Ice Caps on Friday night, while Binghamton will look to distance themselves from the pack in a game against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Pennsylvania.
- It was the eighth time Binghamton had scored at least five goals in a game. They have won all eight of those games
- Binghamton has won 9 of their last 11 and 9 in a row when leading after 40 minutes
- Mike Hoffman was named captain Wednesday morning. Below are some thoughts after the veterans first game with the C on his sweater
“It’s a great honor. I’m happy for that accomplishment. It’s another step.”
“I’m just going to play the same way, do the same things on the bench, talk to the guys in the room. My role doesn’t change that much. Luke emphasized that.”