BINGHAMTON – Stephane Da Costa and Cole Schneider had two goals each and Jim O’Brien had two assists to lead the Binghamton Senators to a 4-1 victory over the Hershey Bears Thursday night in front of 3808 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena for their annual Boxing Day game.
The tone was set early as the two divisional foes played their seventh overall contest and fourth in the month of December. Immediately after the opening puck dropped, Mike Sdao and Patrick Wellar dropped the gloves in a fight that ended in a draw at the Binghamton bench. Both received fighting majors and penalties for removing their helmets, leading to a seven minute stint in the sin bin.
The team appeared to play a bit sluggish following the break. Earlier in the day, Binghamton head coach Luke Richardson said there were two ways the early going would turn up.
“Sometimes it is a little bit sluggish and they’re a bit tentative,” he said after the morning skate. “I’ve seen the other. There’s so much energy that it’s almost a little bit sloppy.”
It wasn’t until 16:10 later that the first tally was scored. Nicholas Deschamps got a pass from Nate Schmidt, who was at the center point. Deschamps let go a hard wrister from just to the left of the right circle, near the top of the slot. His ninth of the year made it 1-0 Hershey (12-11-2-3 29 points, 4th East), with Brandon Segal getting the secondary assist.
Hershey began to dominate play after the goal, but it turned out to be the lone goal they scored on the night, as Nathan Lawson was solid between the pipes, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced. It wasn’t until 6:24 into the second stanza where his effort was rewarded, as the B-Sens (17-9-0-3 37 points, T-1st in East)tied the game at 1 goal apiece on Da Costa’s eighth of the year. Da Costa crashed in front of David Leggio and Schneider sent it across the crease. The pass was intended for another Seantor, but off the pad of Leggio, Da Costa shot it into the open net to tie the game. Mark Stone had the secondary assist.
“I gave it down low to Schneider and he made a pretty good play and the puck just jumped out to me and I banged it in,” Da Costa said.
“We talked after the first period about getting a little bit more off of our rushes, instead of making the passes,” Richardson said.
Binghamton bookended the period with another goal at the 18:02 mark, as Schneider got his first tally of the night and 10th of the year. Leggio made the initial save off O’Brien’s shot, but Schneider was on the doorstep and got the puck over Leggio’s pads to give Binghamton the lead, and they never looked back. Frederick Cleasson had the second assist.
“After the last penalty of the second period, I thought we started to outskate them and really took over the game,” Richardson said after the game. “When we’re skating, our skill really shows.”
The crowd was wild and the team seemed to feed on the energy, getting better as the night went on. The energy caused Matt Puempel and Nathan Walker to drop the gloves, twice.
“The whistle went and I skated by him and I guess he felt it was time to go and the refs didn’t feel it was time,” Puempel said. “So we talked about it in the box and realized we were going to go a little later.
“…[the linesman] told me it wasn’t juniors and I couldn’t go at that time.”
After the ensuing penalty, they went for real, and received a total of nine penalty minutes each, including the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the penalties for removing their helmets.
Later, at the 9:35 mark of the third, it was Da Costa’s turn again. This time he made a move around Leggio and scored his ninth tally of the year to give Binghamton a commanding 3-1 lead.
“I got a really nice pass from O’Brien in the slot,” Da Costa said. “We know [Leggio] really comes out a lot so I had no angle to shoot at so I had to make a move to go around him.”
O’Brien and Schneider had the assists, leading Schneider to a four point night as he capped the scoring with an empty net goal, his 11th with 0.1 seconds left to end the game at a final score of 4-1.
Binghamton travels to Utica to take on the Comets Friday night, while Hershey returns home to battle the Syracuse Crunch on Friday evening.
- Andrew Hammond was dressed, but did not play in net tonight. He had the flu over the break. Coach Richardson said he is expected to play tomorrow following protocol was Lawson continues to heal his injury, but Lawson will be the goalie if he is unable to play. Hammond was not at morning skate Thursday.
- Also not at skate or in the game Thursday was Mark Borowiecki, who also had the stomach flu. He was expected to play tonight but his symptoms did not get better. He should play tomorrow, but is day-to-day.
- Shane Prince continues to nurse an upper body injury. He skated in the team’s morning skate, but did not play in the game Thursday. Coach said he is hoping to play Prince in Utica Friday.
- GAME HILIGHTS: http://www.sendtonews.com/index.php?id=211&SK=jupf5hzcOC
3. Jim O’Brein (BIN) 2 A
2. Cole Schneider (BIN) 2 G 2 A GWG
1. Stephane Da Costa (BIN) 2 G
Honorable Mention: Nathan Lawson (BIN) 32 Sv, W
Around The “A”
- Kyle Flannigan scored in the 9th round of a shootout in Springfield, as the Adirondack Phantoms beat the Falcons 3-2
- Greg Paytern scored in overtime for Hamilton at the Air Canada Centre as the Bulldogs beat the Toronto Marlies 2-1
- Nicholas Svedberg earned his first shutout of the season, stopping all 34 shots he faced, as the Providence Bruins beat the Worcester Sharks 4-0.