The Hershey Bears offensive power outage continued Saturday night at Giant Center in their 3-1 loss to the Binghamton Senators. Senators’ goalie Ben Bishop played well in goal for Binghamton in his 8th win of the season, stopping 20 of 21 Hershey shots on goal. Stephane Da Costa, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone all tallied even strength goals for the Senators.
“Too much of the game was dictated by playing it on their terms,” Bears coach Mark French said. “It seemed to be a little bit to, to some degree free flowing. We wanted to get the puck and play more in the offensive zone and we didn’t do that nearly enough.”
“It’s one of those games that we would like to play better,” Bears goalie Braden Holtby said of his 34 save performance in net. “Defensively I didn’t think we were too bad, but that’s not the type of game we need to play in order to beat a top team in the division.”
Tonight’s game featured two NHL goalie prospects, with Ben Bishop in goal for the Senators, opposing Braden Holtby for Hershey. Holtby entered the game on a recent hot streak in goal, with 12 wins on the season along with a stellar 2.15 goals against average and .932 save percentage.
Binghamton traded for Bishop last season, giving them one of the top young goalie prospects in the league. Bishop has only played in 11 games this season, sharing time with Robin Lehner in goal, but holds a 2.81 goals against average and .927 save percentage through 11 games played.
He’s one of the better goalies in the league,” Bears forward Ryan Potulny said of Bishop. “Traffic in front is going to be tough on any goalie, especially a big guy like that. He’s tough to beat one on one. If you can get traffic and get rebounds that’s a good way to beat a goalie like that.”
“I thought Braden [Holtby] was phenomenal tonight,” said French. “He kept us in the game. I thought he was the best goalie on the ice.”
Both sides played an even game in the first period, but the Senators outshot Hershey 10-6.
Ryan Potulny put the Bears on the board in the second period, registering his fifth goal of the season. Hershey defenseman Patrick McNeill shot the puck from the point, missed the net, but the puck caromed off Potulny, then off a Senators defenseman.
“I didn’t quite really see what happened,” said Bears defenseman Patrick McNeill of Hershey’s first period goal. “I just shot from the point, and I kind of curled away as I shot. It looked like their defenseman might have snowplowed it in.”
The Senators knotted the game at one later in the second stanza, as Stephane Da Costa netted his fifth goal of the year. Jakob Silfverberg and David Dziurzynski registered assists on Da Costa’s goal.
Binghamton outshot the Bears once again in the second period, recording 14 shots on goal to Hershey’s 10. Braden Holtby continued his dominant play in net for the Bears, padding aside 24 of Binghamton’s 25 shots on goal through two periods.
The Senators pulled away in the third period, scoring two third period goals. Mike Hoffman tallied his 9th goal of the season with just over twelve minutes in the third stanza, and Mark Stone added an empty net goal in the final minute of play to seal the win for Binghamton.
“There’s no moral victory in that,” French said of containing Binghamton’s forward speed. “We’re a good defensive team; I thought we played with pace at times offensively. We relented way too much against them. “
“They could of scored five goals if it wasn’t for Braden.”
Hershey takes on the Worcester Sharks Sunday night at Giant Center. With the potential resolution of the NHL lockout in the next few days, Braden Holtby could suit up for the final time as part of the Chocolate and White.
1. Attendance: 9,912
2. Bears Injuries: Dmitry Orlov and T.J. Syner
3. Hershey Healthy Scratches: Cameron Schilling, Jon DiSalvatore (veteran scratch), Matt Clackson and Jonathon Kalinski
4. With the loss, Hershey falls to 2-11-1 in Saturday games.
1. Mike Hoffman (one goal, six shots on goal)
2. Stephane Da Costa (one goal, one assist, plus one, two shots on goal)
3. Jakob Silfverberg (two assists, plus one, one shot on goal)