Senators Connect On Chances, Beat Bears

The Binghamton Senators defeated the Hershey Bears Friday Night in the second half of a home and home preseason series, winning 5-3 due to timely goal scoring. Three third period goals helped lift a team that struggled for the majority of the first half of the game. The Senators were heavily out-shot by the Bears in the first period, managing only two shots on goal compared to Hershey’s 11. Binghamton came up big on their special teams tonight however, fighting off a five on three penalty kill at one point and cashing in on their power play opportunities.

Binghamton took an early one goal lead on their first power play opportunity of the evening, potting home a rebound off Hershey goalie Dany Sabourin. Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted his first of the preseason, following a save by Sabourin.

Hershey dominated Binghamton in the first period, out-shooting the Senators 11-2, but failed to capitalize on their first power play of the preseason contest. Senators goalie, Marc Cheverie stopped all 11 Hershey shots on goal in the first frame, including a big save on Bears defense-man Tomas Kundratek late in the period.

The Bears would battle back in the second period, this time connecting on the power play as Tomas Kundratek ducked in from the blue line for his first goal of the preseason. The goal was set up by captain Boyd Kane and recently signed forward, Jeff Taffe.

Kundratek spoke about the goal following the game. “Guys did a great job on the power play and I’m just in the position where I’m supposed to be and they find me all the time. It was a great job by my teammates and Kaner [Boyd Kane] gave me a great pass to the empty net and I wish I could score on the other two, when Taffe and the other guys passed me there.”

The Senators countered quickly however to take back a 2-1 lead, converting a quick goal off the faceoff. Binghamton forward, Mike Hoffman found twine past Sabourin, recording his first goal of the preseason.

The Bears answered later in the period, tying the game at two on Jon DiSalvatore’s first goal of the preseason. Ryan Potulny set up him up with a beautiful feed on a two on one opportunity.

Binghamton made their move in the third period, netting three goals, from Mika Zibanejad, Jakub Culek and Andre Petersson. Mattias Sjogren recorded the Bears lone goal in the third stanza, assisted by Boyd Kane and Garrett Mitchell.

Bears co-coach Mark French talked about the performance from Sjogren in his one goal effort. “If you remember the first weekend when we played Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre last year, we thought from a coaching staff perspective that he was our best player. And that was probably one of the biggest reasons we did, we thought his strength down low and his ability protect picks was exceptional.”

Hershey co-coach, Adam Oates spoke about bumping Mitchell up with the Boyd Kane and Mattias Sjogren line. “Just trying to get some balance and get a look at everybody. For me, I’m still learning the guys and trying to figure them out.”

After the game, Mark French indicated that Braden Holtby will start in goal against Wilkes-Barre Scranton Saturday night.

Even though it was a small crowd, many players appreciate the fans support. “It’s great to play here, fans helping a lot.” The attendance was officially 3,271.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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