B-Sens Welcome Rival Crunch Saturday Night

The Binghamton Senators return to the ice tonight as they welcome the Eastern Conference Champion Syracuse Crunch in the first of 10 games between the geographical and divisional rivals.

SCOUTING THE CRUNCH:

Despite their NHL parent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, receiving 11 players who played for Syracuse last year, the (2 time) defending Conference Champs (and 2011-12 Champion Norfolk Admirals) should never be taken lightly. Back for 2013-14 is Brett Connolly, who despite being arguably the third best player on the team, tallied 31 goals and 32 assists and was a +19. Tough guy Jean-Philippe Cote returns this year after posting 143 PIMs last year. These teams love to fight, so look for Cote to get in the mix tonight. A newcomer to watch out for is winger Geoff Olsen who is capable of putting up 15 goal seasons but can also rack up the PIMs, hitting career highs in both (18-26-44; 114) in the 2011-12 campaign for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In net is goalie Cedrick Desjardins who split his season with two AHL clubs last year. He was acquired by the lightning in the trade that sent Dustin Tokarski to Montreal, and led the Crunch to the Calder Cup Finals.

LOOKING AT THE B-SENS

Binghamton returns a 23 players that saw time with the B-Sens last season. One of the two newcomers is very familiar with Binghamton. Jim O’Brein. O’Brein won the Calder Cup with the Senators in 2011, but since that 24-32-56 campaign, has not been able to find his groove. In 73 career NHL games, O’Brein is only at 8-4-12. He looks to get his mojo back and make a quick return to the NHL. The defensive corps is almost exactly identical. Despite a great NHL camp, Mark Borowiecki returns and will be the captain. Boro is a threat on both sides of the ice and leads with more than just his fists. Despite putting up a staggering 157 PIMs, Boro put up 4-10-14 in just 53 games last year. Those numbers don’t strike your eye, but this number will: +21! Goalie Nathan Lawson also returns this year. Lawson was 12-6-2 with a 2.19 GAA in just 23 games, as he sat out most of the lockout months due to a logjam at the goalie position.

ANALYSIS

This game should be a good one. Binghamton looks to get out to an early start as they open with 5 games against divisional opponents. Meanwhile, Syracuse is coming off of three strong exhibition games in St. John’s and looks to keep the momentum going in the regular season opener, before they return home next week for their home opener.

PREDICTION:

Syracuse 3 Binghamton 2 in OT

IF YOU GO:

Venue: Broom County Veterans Memorial Arena; 1 Stewart St. Binghamton

Tickets: Start at $18. $2 discount for kids under 12

Game Time: 7:05 PM

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