Saturday’s game featured the fourth meeting between the Hershey Bears, and the Binghamton Senators.
Binghamton arrived in Hershey last night after a 4-2 upset loss, up I-81, in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Senators only fired 14 shots in the entire game against Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen, as the Pens shut down Binghamton in front of a crowd of 4,652.
Meanwhile, the Bears improved their road record to 7-3-0-1 after a win in Albany last night, at the Times Union Center. Steve Pinizzotto scored for the Bears unassisted early in the third period, earning two points on the road for Hershey.
Coming into Saturday’s game, both teams stand in the middle of the East Division pack, with the Bears holding their ground at fourth in the division, trailing third place Charlotte by two points. The B-Sens are right on Hershey’s tail, standing at fifth in the division.Hershey has a 2-1 record against the Senators this season. However the last time the two teams met, you have to go back to November 19th, in Binghamton. Barry Brust’s goaltending performance held the chocolate and white to only two goals, as the Senators cruised to a 4-2 win.
In this season series, Bobby Butler and Roman Wick both have three points against Hershey. However the Bear’s Mathieu Perreault has an astonishing one goal and eight assists, in only three games this season series against Bingo
The first period got under way in Hershey with the Bears beginning the game on an early 3-0 shot run. All three shots were high goal scoring opportunities by Steve Pinizzotto, and Boyd Kane in the high slot. Hershey also spent the first half of the period testing out Senator’s goalie Robin Lehner. Last time the Bears faced Lehner, they scored a seven spot on him, back in October.
On teddy bear toss night in Hershey, 8:42 into the opening period, the near sell out crowd unleashed the teddy bears on to the ice. Maxime Lacroix scored for Hershey as he tapped home a loose puck in front of the net. On the Bears’ sixth shot of the night, the unassisted tally gave the Bears a 1-0 lead.
With 7:42 remaining in the stanza, the Senators fired only their third shot of the game, but by far their best scoring opportunity. Braden Holtby made a highlight reel save, coming across on a quick 2 on 1. The pace of the game picked up on both sides entering the later minutes of the period. Binghamton had three odd-man rushes during the period, against the Bears’ ability to set up the offensive fore check.
With 5:37 remaining in the period, the Hershey offensive fore check back fired against the Senators. Francois Bouchard fired a sharp angle wrist shot that stormed past a screened Lehner, and the Bears doubled their first period lead to two goals. The Bears out shot the B-Sens 10-7, as Larcoix’s goal and Bouchard’s tally were the only marks in the opening period. Holtby stood as a brick wall in net, stopping all seven shots he faced, including four great scoring opportunities.
Lehner on the other end stopped eight of ten shots he faced, and denied all the offensive pressure he saw in front of the net in the opening minutes. The Bears are 6-1 when leading after one period of play this season, trying to make it 7-1.As the middle period approached the middle minutes, Binghamton found themselves getting the majority of chances in front. Holtby continued to stand his ground, denying the Senators a break on the scoreboard.
Right when the Senators began to take over, the Bears scored again. A turn over at center ice lead to a 2-1 shorthanded break for Pinizzotto. He sent a perfect pass across to Jay Beagle, who potted his fifth goal of the season, and the Bears were up 3-0 on a short handed tally.
The third period got underway with the Binghamton Senators down by a field goal. With an even 13:00 remaining in regulation, Ashton Rome picked the puck up on the near side face off circle, and roofed it past Lehner to add to the Hershey lead. On shot 26 of the game for Hershey, No. 26 made it 4-0.
Holtby made 26 saves to savor the 4-0 shutout victory for Hershey.
The Bears return to action on Wednesday night when they face the Albany Devils at the Times Union Center.