BINGHAMTON, NY - Nobody said the playoffs would be an easy run for the Binghamton Senators. Their first round matchup featured their arch rivals from just an hour away. Their first round matchup featured one of the toughest opponents they have faced this season.
In the opening game of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, the tough matchup proved to be too much for the Senators as they fell to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 3-2 in overtime Saturday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Senators faced immediate trouble in the opening frame, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead.
“I think we just had some missed passes and some bobbled pucks that we turned over,” head coach Luke Richardson said of the slow start. “The decisions weren’t bad, but the execution on managing the puck wasn’t great.”
After Pat Cannone went to the box for tripping, the Penguins took advantage. Brian Dumoulin has the puck at the center point and faked a shot. Instead of passing, he sent it down low to Brian Gibbins who tipped home a wrist shot beyond the empty net. Lawson was waiting for the point shot and could do nothing to get over in time. Derek Nesbitt was credited with the secondary assist at 10:58.
The Penguins kept buzzing and there was nothing Binghamton could do. Off an interception, Trevor Smith let a feed go to one of the best skilled players in the AHL, Chad Kolarik. He ripped his signature top shelf goal that was inches away from the post, and the B-Sens found themselves down 2-0 16:41 into the playoffs.
“They have a habit, at least the last three times we’ve seen them, of coming out early,” Richardson added.
“We had a little bit of jitters at the start of the game,” forward Mark Stone said, “[That was one of] the worst first [periods] of our season.”
The second goal woke up the B-Sens, who began skating harder and getting more pucks to the net. It took about 10 minutes for them to register their first shot, and on only their fourth, they were able to get on the board.
On the powerplay with under two minutes left, Shane Prince received a pass from Chris Wideman down low in the left side corner. He skated around defenders and somehow let a backhanded shot go on the right side of the goal mouth, scoring on Jeff Zatkoff, and bringing the Sens to within one goal at the break.
The B-Sens were not done. They continued to carry the play for the second and third periods. Their effort paid off in the second, as Mark Stone scored to make it 2-2 one a very hard working goal. The defender for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Phillip Samuelsson, innocently skated to grab a puck in his own zone. He was trailed by Stone who was able to knock the puck loose and do a move around Samuelsson and Zatkoff, scoring his first goal of the playoffs and tying the score 17:03 into the period.
“We got through it,” Richardson said of the battle back, “I think once we got our feet under ourselves, we played really well…
We put a lot of pressure on them [in the second] and had a lot of scoring chances.”
That gave way to an amazing third period of back and forth activity, with a lot of “oo’s” and “ah’s”. Both goalies took over and were steller in the third, stopping a combined 19 quality shots.
Adrenalin took over as the game headed into overtime. The extra frame was played much like the third, with a lot of back and forth action and the goalies stopping a combined 13 shots in about half of a period. Both teams started to appear tired about four minutes in, with the play becoming sloppier and some minor mistakes being made. IT was a major misfortune that doomed the the B-Sens, as they left Kolarik wide open 8:18 in. He received a pass from Smith right in the slot and fired his second top shelf goal of the night to ice the game for the Penguins and give them a 1-0 series lead.
“We know what we have to do,” Richardson said. “We just have to make sure we’re ready to do it from the start of the game to the end. It’s exciting. It’s the playoffs. It [stinks] to lose but we’re right back at it tomorrow so we won’t have to think about it tomorrow.”
The two teams will be back on the ice for game two of the series, which is set for 5:00 Sunday.
- Binghamton played their first playoff game since winning the Calder Cup in 2011
- Despite being outshot for most of the game, the B-Sens ended the night with 36 shots to 33 for the Penguins
- 3,501 attended the game Saturday night. It was the third lowest attened game of the young 2013 playoffs
- Richardson announced after the game that Lawson will start Sunday night. “He’ll be in,” Richardson said. “He’s the starting goaltender and he’ll be ready to go.”
1. Chad Kolarik (WBS) 2 G
2. Jeff Zatkoff (WBS) W, 34 SV
3. Nathan Lawson (BNG) L, 33 SV