BINGHAMTON, NY – Many Binghamton area residents had a snow day Wednesday. The Binghamton Senators wish they could’ve been snowed in as they were crushed at the hands of the Portland Pirates 5-1 in front of 2493 brave souls at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
Binghamton (29-15-0-3, 61 pts. 1st East) played their best hockey out of the gate, scoring their lone goal 4:53 into the game. Shane Prince came in on the left side and let go a shot from the circle. Mark Visentin made the save but the rebound went to Jim O’Brien. There was traffic in front of O’Brien in the right slot, and Visentin lost sight of the puck. O’Brien skated to the left slot and backhanded it into the open net to make it 1-0 on his 10th goal of the year. Andre Petersson was credited with the second assist.
Binghamton continued to dominate play but couldn’t put the biscuit back in the basket, and Portland (17-19-2-7, 43 pts. 5th Atlantic) made them pay, scoring five unanswered goals over the next two and a half periods of play, including four on their first four power plays of the night.
“We just thought [a win] was going to happen,” Binghamton head coach Luke Richardson said of his team’s expectations. “The work ethic wasn’t there.
“We didn’t complete the game. We only played the first 10 minutes of the game and then we decided to not do the physical work. We just wanted the skill to happen. It doesn’t work like that.”
The flurry of scoring began at the 15:09 mark, as Chris Brown scored his first of two consecutive goals, his 10th and 11th of the year. After Rostislav Klesla’s shot was saved by Hammond, the puck made its way to the right slot for Brown. With Andrew Hammond unable to get up from his side after the save, Brown stuffed it home to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Two and a half minutes later, at 17:44, the Pirates converted on their first power play of the night. With O’Brien in the box, Brandon Gromley shot the puck from the center point. He was initially credited with the goal as the puck rocketed in on the slap shot, but the goal was later credited to Brown, with Andy Miele also receiving an assist on the play that gave Portland the 2-1 lead they never looked back on.
Meanwhile, the physicality was there from the get-go, as the two teams combined for a solid 30 penalty minutes in the first, with two fights and a wrestling match in the opening frame alone. Kyle Hagel and Darren Kramer picked up where they left off at 3:07, with Kramer landing blow after blow before taking his man down in the area near the Senators bench. Both players were assessed minors for removing their helmets prior to the affair.
At 5:17, it was Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Chris Summers getting involved in a wrestling match in the Binghamton zone. Pageau took down Summers with ease. Finally, with two seconds left in the period, Mark Louis had a go with Mark Borowiecki. Louis had Borowiecki pinned against the boards in Portland’s zone, near the right corner, rendering the defenseman helpless. Louis earned the win in the final fisticuffs of the period.
The second period was dominated by Portland, with Binghamton playing more like they were down four than just a goal. Three goals, combined with solid goaltending by Visentin (who stopped the final 20 shots he faced), led to an easy period for the Pirates. Buddy Robinson took an early hooking call, allowing Brandon McMillan to score his eighth goal of the year at the 1:49 mark. On the rush, McMillan took a wrist shot from the right circle that got past Hammond’s glove to double up the lead. Lucas Lessio and Randy Jones helped on the goal.
Then, 16:34 into the second stanza, with Petersson in the sin bin, Gromley got back the goal he had taken away, marking his sixth of the year on a one timer from nearly the identical spot as McMillan, only this time he took the feed from Miele. Danie Todd also assisted on the third man up goal of the night.
Portland closed the scoring in the second, and the game, at 19:17, marking their fourth power play goal on their fourth opportunity. Near the end of a Borowiecki penalty, Tobias Reider scored with a slap shot from the left circle that went past the stick of Hammond, effectively ending his night. Brandon Yip assisted on the goal that set the final score at 5-1 Portland.
All told, Portland’s three second period tallies came on just four total shots.
“Basically every intangible on the power play, we just didn’t get it done,” Richardson said. “That’s one of the better parts of their game.”
At the tail end of the frame, Kramer took a misconduct penalty after a melee developed around the B-Sens goal. Hammond had to restrain a Portland player, and Ethan Werek was assessed a four minute penalty along with Chris Wideman for roughing. (Wideman was only given two minutes, with Kramer receiving the misconduct.)
The third period still had to be played, and it was Nathan Lawson who stopped the bleeding, as he stopped all eight shots he faced. Meanwhile, Kramer was assessed another 10 minute misconduct after harassing two Pirates in garbage time, 17:29 into the period. He roughed up one Pirate in the right Portland zone. Then, while skating over towards the penalty box, he skated towards another Pirate and tripped him up. All told, he was assed 14 penalty minutes, for a total of 31.
Binghamton looks to put the loss behind them, as they travel to the motherland of Ottawa to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Canadian Tire Centre Saturday night. Meanwhile, Portland will enjoy Thursday off before traveling to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take on the Penguins Friday night.
- Matt Peumpel was scratched with the mild flu according to coach Luke Richardson.
- All told, the two teams faced 82 penalty minutes Wednesday, combined with 224 minutes in their other meeting last Saturday night.
- This was Portland’s first game since it was announced they will return to the Cumberland County Civic Center for five years beginning next season.
AROUND THE AHL:
- Jerry D’Amigo scored twice and clinched the shootout as the Toronto Marlies beat the San Antonio Rampage 5-4 Wednesday afternoon.
INSIDE HOCKEY THREE STARS:
1. POR – 29 Mark Visentin (W, 22 Sv)
2. POR – 11 Chris Brown (2 G)
3. POR – 36 Brandon Gormley (G, A)