BINGHAMTON – It’s always bittersweet with the Binghamton Senators honor the memory of their head coaches daughter. On DIFD (Do it for Daron) night, the Senators did just that and defeated the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 6-2 in front of 3650 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Friday night.
Daron, coach Luke Richardson’s 14-year-old daughter, committed suicide in 2010. The Senators encouraged fans to wear her favorite color, purple, to honor her memory and raise awareness for mental health. More information on the cause is available here, and there will be an article posted later about the event and mental health awareness.
The one thing on the mind of the players and coach Richardson, however, was 60 minutes of hockey, and the Senators () did not disappoint. Binghamton socred four goals in the first period, chasing Penguins starter Eric Hartzell with about 5 minutes left in the opening frame.
“They skated really well tonight,” Richardson said.
“We knew it was going to be the hardest game of the season,” Mike Hoffman said.
Binghamton had 17 chances on Hartzell in the first, and capitalized early. At the 8:17 mark and on the powerplay, they took advantage on a play that the Penguins’ netminder had no shot on. Prince came skating in near the left end of the goal mouth and took a perfect pass from Andre Petersson. He directed the pass into a wide open net for his 15th of the season to make it 1-0 Binghamton. Danny New was credited with the second assist.
The second place team in the division was not going down that easy, however, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton () tied it up just over a minute later as Spencer Machacek scored his 11th of the year and second as a Penguin at 9:25. Simon Despres and Philip Samuelsson had the assists.
Binghamton went on to score the next three goals in the final 10 minutes of the opening frame. First, Corey Cowick came in on the right side and got a feed from Mark Stone. He ran out of room but somehow got the puck past Hartzell’s right pad to make it 2-1 on his 10th of the year at 13:13. Binghamton never looked back.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau socred just over a minute later at 14:40, as he took advantage of a sleeping Penguins defense and scored his 8th on a shorthanded break. He skated through the crease and let it go. That goal chased Hartzell, who hit the crossbar with his stick in frustration before leaving the ice enraged.
Jeff Deslauriers didn’t have a better fate, allowing three goals in the final 45:20 of the game. Mike Hoffman continued the scoring at the 19:08 mark, scoring his 26th goal and easing the Senators into the break up 4-1. Chris Wideman fed him the puck in the slot, and Hoffman waited for a few seconds, before letting it rip and getting the puck past the goalie’s stick and under his right shoulder to extend the lead. Andre Petersson also assisted on the powerplay goal.
The period ended eith a bout of fisticuffs as Bobby Farnham tired to draw a fight. He was successful and served four minutes of penalty time while Pageau and Harrison Roupp battled near the Binghamton bench. The teams were reluctant to leave the ice but eventually the mess was cleared.
For as exciting as the first period was, the second was as boring, with a lot of back and forth action and no scoring. Hammond was stellar, stopping 24 of the first 25 shots he faced and 33 of 35 total.
“It was about having a little time to reflect on my game,” Hammond said of his improvement over the break. “It wasn’t up to my standards or anyone else’s. It’s important to get off to a good start.”
The teams exchanged goals in the third period, with Binghamton responding for a second goal of the period and the final goal of the game. Cole Schneider got into the act, scoring his 16th of the year at 4:56 on the power play. The puck was fed inside the crease and he shot it off the blocker of Deslauriers and into the back of the net. Stephane Da Costa and Hoffman assisted on the goal.
Under a minute later, at 5:43, after Binghamton went on a penalty kill, Tom Kostopoulous took a point shot to make it 5-2 Binghamton, but it was academic at that point, with Hoffman scoring his second of the night and 27th of the year at 8:07 to cap the game at 6-2. It was the Senators fourth power play goal and fifth special teams goal of the night.
“We got the results,” Richardson said. “It’s never easy against the Penguins…the power play was really clicking.”
“Usually when we play them, it’s 2-1 or 1-0,” Hoffman said. “That’s what we were ready for. It’s nice to get  goals against [The Penguins]. It doesn’t happen too often because they play a very good defensive game.”
Binghamton remains at home as they take on the Worchester Sharks Saturday, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton travels to Hershey to battle the Bears Saturday.
- Binghamton now leads the league with 15 shorthanded goals. Over the past 2 seasons, the Senators have 34 goals scored down a man.
- Nathan Lawson missed his second game due to illness tonight. Matt Puempel and Derek Grant were rested after suffering travel delays due to the winter storm. They are expected to return tomorrow. Andrew Hammond is expected to start in net for the second consecutive night tomorrow.
INSIDE HOCKEY THREE STARS:
3. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (BIN) GWG (SH)
2. Andrew Hammond (BIN) W, 33 sv
1. Mike Hoffman (BIN) 2 G, A