BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Senators were dealt a couple of blows but the rivalry proved its strength as the Senators defeated the Syracuse Crunch 4-3 in overtime Saturday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
Coach Luke Richardson summed it up, simply stating: “It’s not how we drew it up, but we’ll take the result.”
It was an even start for both teams as the feeling out process was physical. Both teams, in the first game of the season, were eager to get on board, and both had an even 11 chances. 11:20 into the period, Joey Mormina and David Dziurzynski dropped the gloves. After Dziuzynski attempted to swat a loss puck in, Mormina took offense and protected his goalie. Both players landed solid punches until Dziurzynski won the bout, taking Mormina down to the ice.
Late in the period, Philippe Paradis landed a huge hit on captain Mark Borowiecki, who went down and did not return. It appeared Paradis left his feet but no penalty was called and he hobbled off the ice with the help of trainers after being down for a few minutes. He did not return to the game.
“He’s a tough guy and he really likes to play the grit,” Richardson said of Borowiecki. “He saw the guy coming and he couldn’t get himself set square. He finished the play, he make the pass, and he was just not rock solid on his feet. He tried to go through the guy and [Paradis] had a better angle on him.”
Richardson said he passed the concussion tests and he believes Borowiecki just has a sore neck. He was kept out for precautionary measures
After a scoreless first, the second frame got started with a bang. Dana Tyrell found himself in the right place at the right time, as he scored the first Syracuse goal of the season. Tyrell received a pass through the crease from Evan Rankin and tipped it in from the left side of the crease past a sprawling Nathan Lawson, putting the Crunch on the board at 1-0 just 1:24 into the period.
The Sens responded in their typical fashion, shorthanded. just 2:11 later, after Corey Cowick’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Derek Grant stole the puck in the neutral zone and had what turned out to be a shorthanded 2-on-0 breakaway. Grant, the team’s leader in shorthanded goals last season, kept the puck and crafter a nifty backhander past Cedrick Desjardins on the right side to tie the game at 1.
“I just was able to pick the puck,” Grant said. “I didn’t know if someone was chasing me so I just got on my horse and was able to put it through [the goalie's] legs.”
Syracuse was not done in the second, and while the B-Sens did not appear to play overly sloppy, the Crunch put the foot on the accelerator and scored two unanswered to wrap up the period. It was Tyrell again, who came on the left side down the ice and ripped a hard slapshot that everyone, including Lawson, thought was a save. The puck trickled past his shoulder and very slowly crossed the goal line on a hop, untying the game. The goal was shorthanded and unassisted at 15:41.
At the tail end of the period, newcomer Evan Rankin gave the Crunch a two goal lead. An errant pass found Mike Angelidis, who sent it to Rankin in the mid slot area. He was able to quickly deke around Lawson and put his crafty moves to good use, launching a soft backhander to make it a 3-1 game 18:58 into the second session.
Things were not looking good for the B-Sens, but they came out with a new demeanor in the third. Cowick led off the scoring 6:42 in. Defenseman Cody Ceci came in on the left side and sent the puck over to Cowick who scored past Desjardins to put the B-Sens to within one.
The tying goal was one for SportsCenter. Coming at about the midway point of the third, Chris Wideman brought the puck over the line near center and sent a pass to Mika Zibanejad, who spent much of last season with Ottawa. Zibanejad let go one of the hardest slapshots you will see at the AHL level, from just behind the left side faceoff dot. Desjardins had no chance and the game was tied at the 9:13 mark.
It remained tied through the third and into overtime. Midway through the extra session the game was tied no more and The Arena erupted. Ceci, the defenseman, came into the offensive zone and let go a hard wrister past Desjardins’ right side to end the game and earn the construction hat for his hard work.
“It’s 4-on-4. There’s a lot of ice and I like to jump up on the play. I took the opportunity. I was skating down the wall, the other guy slid in desperation . I just waited him out and had the whole far side,” Ceci explained. “It’s a good feeling to score a goal like that, to kind of go to a new team and new town.” Ceci played 6 games with the B-Sens last year, but this will be his first full year as a professional, and Richardson predicts he will not be in Binghamton long.
The team showed heart and determination and never gave up, even down 3-1. They picked up for their injured players and were rewarded with the hard fought victory.
Binghamton returns to the ice on Friday night in Norfolk when they open a two-game set with the Admirals. The Crunch are back in their home opener on Friday as well as they face off against the Rochester Americans.
- Mark Stone left with what Richardson calls a lower body injury. He went hard into the boards in the first and did not return. Richardson said he might be taken for X-Rays tonight.
- The B-Sens unveiled new lights and a new lighting system for goals (strobes). Here were Corey Cowick’s comments:
“I was in the penalty box for the first [goal]. I thought I broke the glass or something! Everything went black. I didn’t know what was going on. It adds to the atmosphere here. I didn’t think it could get any crazier but they did a good job with that.”
On the new lights and new boards: “The boards were a little bit tough today, but it adds another aspect and the fans love it…I’m sure [Lawson] likes it a little better, too.”
- Cody Ceci (BIN) GWG, A
- Dana Tyrell (SYR) 2 G
- Mika Zibanejad (BIN) G