BINGHAMTON – Shane Prince is a Rochester native. He likes to remind his hometown team. At the 9:21 mark of the third period, he flew down the center of the ice and scored an unassisted goal to effectively seal the deal for the Binghamton Senators as they handled the Rochester Americans 7-3 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in front of an announced crowd of 3564 Saturday night.
Rochester (7-4-2-2, 18 points, 1st in North Division) got on the board first during what was an effectively even first frame. After Nick Crawford’s penalty for interference 8:30 into the game, the Senators found themselves with a few good powerplay chances. Mike Sdao had a chance off a faceoff at the end of the powerplay. The shot from the left point was stopped by Matt Hackett, who let a rebound go right back to Sdao. Unable to control the puck, Sdao fell and the loose biscuit went to Mike Zigomanis, who flew down the right side, and on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity let go a hard wrist shot from the right wing circle. The shot went past Andrew Hammond to make it a 1-0 Amerks lead that they took with them to the locker room. It was his sixth of the year.
Coach Luke Richardson had a talk with his team, despite a period that saw them only outshot by three (13-10), and anything but poor play. The Senators (11-4-0-0, 22 points, T-1st East Division) responded in dominant fashion, scoring four unanswered goals.
“We talked about it before the game and we really didn’t execute what we wanted,” Richardson said. “We wanted to set the pace at our pace and physicality and I thought that we were feeling it out [in the first]. That’s not the way we’re going to play in this building.
“So we challenged them on that and they came out strong and reacted in a positive way. That’s the way we want to be known to play in our building and put a little fear into other teams. Not only cane we put pucks in the net, but we play physical and outskate the other team.
“I think we were just there [in the first period]. If we’re going to be mediocre than that’s ok. We challenge these guys and they keep showing us that they want to be the best.
“We just told them, we can’t make them do that. We didn’t sit anybody out. We just told them and they did it.”
Binghamton pressed hard the entire period, and their hard work in front of the net paid off. 3:02 into the period, the re-energized Senators got a goal from Corey Cowick. Wacey Hamilton came in on the left side and tried to score a wraparound. The puck wouldn’t lift over Hackett’s outstretched left pad, but Cowick was there to push the puck past him and tie the game at 1 goal apiece. Andre Petersson was credited with the secondary assist on Cowick’s second goal of the season.
Just a minute and change later, at the 4:44 mark, Binghamton charged the net again. Mike Hoffman had the puck down the left side and instead of trying the wraparound, he let go a hard shot from the left circle. Hackett made the save, but Cole Schneider gained the puck in the right slot. His shot went off the post and right to Hoffman, who had moved to the slot and had a wide open net to score on. It was Binghamton’s first lead at 2-1 and there was no looking back, but there was more where that came from. It was Hoffman’s team leading ninth goal of the year.
About two minutes later, at 6:26, Buddy Robinson got on the scoresheet. A night after being benched in favor of Andre Petersson, he decided to make the most of his opportunity.
“He just told me [Petersson's] back,” Robinson said of his talk with Richardson after the benching Friday. “He’s going to get in the lineup and I’m OK with that. He’s a great player and we’re happy to have him back.[There's] a little bit of a fire there when you get back into the lineup and want to prove yourself.”
Hamilton came in shooting in the left slot, the rebound came right back to him. Instead of trying for a second chance, he made a nifty pass through traffic to Robinson, who scored from the right slot to make it a 3-1 game. Sdao was credited with the second assist. It was Robinson’s fourth of the year with more to come later.
Binghamton concluded their second period scoring at the 12:29 mark, as Hoffman came in on the right side and passed the puck, again through the crease, to Stephane Da Costa, who let go a rare and beautiful backhanded one-timer that fooled Hackett and made it 4-1. Despite playing only 11 games so far this year in Binghamton, it was Da Costa’s fifth goal of the year.
“Our line rushes in the second period scored two of the four goals,” Richardson said
Despite the flurry of goals, the game was nowhere near over. As a wise hockey prophet once said, the hardest lead to hold is a three goal lead. Binghamton came out flat in the third, and paid for it early, as Joel Armia scored to tighten the lead to 4-2 in Binghamton’s favor. Armia came down the right wing side and got a hard wrist shot to go off the post and in the net past Hammond at the 3:20 mark. It was Armia’s first goal of the year and his first AHL goal.
Give credit to Hammond, who carried the ship as Binghamton went through the motions for the next six minutes. Hamilton made some key saves, stretching his legs just far enough to stop the puck from going into the net on multiple occasions. The Sens looked to be in desperation mode, until Prince took over and scored his third of the season and fifth against his hometown team to make it 5-2.
After Zigomans scored again, this time through the five hole, at 12:03 (his 7th from Luke Adam and Tim Schaller), the Sens remained quiet and again relied on the clutch goaltending of Hammond.
“I thought Hammond deserved a better fate”, Richardson said. “We could have played a little more solid in front of him in the third period and keep the goals down by one or two.
“…He’s getting really comfortable [in the AHL.] It’s a really big step from college to this level. He’s got a lot more confidence…it’s only natural that he’s playing better.”
After a delay of game penalty late in the third sent Prince to the sin bin, Rochester went with an empty net, and Cowick was able to take advantage, scoring his second of the night and third of the year into the untended cage with 1:30 left. Binghamton was determined to make their rivals pay, and were not done.
Robinson came in quickly and took a feed in the slot and let a backhander go past Hackett to make it a 7-3 final just seconds before the final buzzer. It was his second of the night and fifth of the season.
Binghamton and Rochester are both off Sunday. They each return to the ice next Friday. Binghamton travels to Glens Falls to take on the Adirondack Phantoms at 7:00 while Rochester returns home to face the Utica Comets at 7:05.
- Robinson attempted to get into a fight with Drew Bagnall. Robinson said he fell, thus no punches were thrown and the two were only assessed roughing minors. “Hopefully the next one counts,” Robinson joked.
- Shane Prince scored not only against his hometown team, but on his 21st birthday. How’s that for a birthday present?
- Although no power play goals were scored tonight, Binghamton and Rochester came in second and third respectively in the man-up, while both teams were in the bottom third shorthanded.
- It was Rochester’s second shorthanded goal, and the fourth the B-Sens have allowed
- The 7-3 score matches that of last Saturday’s game, also between the two teams.
- Binghamton is on a season-high six game winning streak, three of which have come against Rochester.
- It was Matt Hackett’s first game in Binghamton since the 2011 Calder Cup finals when he was with the Houston Aeros