BINGHAMTON – Despite their poorest start of the season, the Binghamton Senators ended the Norfolk Admirals 3 game winning streak on New Year’s Eve in front of 4,523 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Binghamton is now on a five-game winning streak as they enter one of their most grueling portions of the 2013-14 schedule.
It was a scoreless first period, despite the poor showing. Binghamton (19-9-0-3 41 points, 1st East) let loose a season low two shots on John Gibson’s net, to Norfolk’s (16-12-1-4 37 points, 3rd East) 10. The period was chippy, with Zack Stortini taking the first two infractions consecutively. Danny New, Wacey Hamilton, and Cole Schneider contributed to an elongated 5-on-3 penalty kill. The period was capped off by a wrestling match between Nolan Yonkman and Mike Sdao, who now has 98 penalty minutes on the season.
“We weren’t ready for them,” coach Luke Richardson said. “We have a really young D-Corps and he’s the foundation behind them.”
The B-Sens weren’t going to let the bad start get in their way. Gifted a clean slate by Norfolk’s lack of offense and a great night by goalie Nathan Lawson, they took advantage in the second.
“He was great when he needed to be,” Richardson said of Lawson, who started his third straight game.
First, they’d be dealt their first challenge of the game, as Rickard Rakell scored his ninth goal of the year, tying the team lead. Rakell came in front and received the puck in the crease after Emerson Etem’s shot was stopped by Lawson. He caught the Binghamton netminder falling down and scored an easy goal to make it 1-0 Admirals 2:15 into the second.
Just 35 seconds later, at 2:50, Matt Puempel scored his 10th of the year to tie the game at 1. He was fed the puck from Stephane Da Costa and let it rip from the right circle past Gibson.
“It was a nice pass by [Da Costa] and a good play by Sdao to keep the puck in,” Puempel said. “Fortunately I beat a pretty good goalie.”
Binghamton was not done. 15:20 into the second stanza, Andre Petersson got into the act, scoring a trick shot goal from inside the trapezoid on the right side. The puck went off Gibson’s right shoulder and ricocheted into the net to make it 2-1 Binghamton. It was Petersson’s ninth of the year. Despite only having 9 shots in the period to Norfolk’s 13, they escaped with the lead, increased the intensity of the game, and were in position to steal the win.
They got one more midway through, the third, and it proved to be the winner. With a delayed penalty coming up on the Admirals, Jim O’Brien came in on the right unguarded. Shane Prince made the easy pass from the left slot to O’Brien who let go an easy goal to make it 3-1 at the 10:54 mark. Frederick Claesson also assisted on O’Brien’s fourth of what has ended up being a rough season for the skilled forward.
“He did a good job coming up the ice with the puck,” Prince said of O’Brien, “I actually was able to get open on the wing, so I called for the puck. He gave it to me and he was able to bust through the middle and I was able to get it back to him. He made a nice move to put it in [the net].”
With the net empty and 30 seconds left, Etem scored for Norfolk. Much like the Admirals other goal, he found the puck sneaking through the crease and put it home. Although it proved to not help the Admirals, they inched closer and made for an exciting ending. Alex Grant and Dave Steckel assisted on Etem’s eighth goal of the 2013-14 campaign.
“Those are the games you’ve got to turn around and win,” Richardson noted. “We found a way.”
Binghamton will enjoy a couple of days off before beginning a three game weekend at home against the Eastern Conference leading Manchester Monarchs. Norfolk begins a back-to-back weekend with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at home on Friday night from the Scope.
- INJURIES: That was the name of the game. Linesman Francis Trempe was a causality of an Andre Petersson Elbow at the end of the 2nd:
“Everybody thought the period was over,” Richardson said. “The linesman just had his back turned…it had nothing to do with the play.”
He did not return to the game, which was concluded with 1 referee and 1 linesman.
“You’ve really got to play until the whistle.” Richardson said. “Things may be missed out there, just because of the manpower… They did a really good job.”
- Derek Grant (pulled muscle) and Buddy Robinson (precautionary) left the game with injuries for Binghamton. Coach Richardson did not classify either as anything more than day-to-day and indicated that Grant, who left in the 1st period, was held out for precautionary measures. Corey Cowick (knee) was hit at the end of the game and limped off the ice. Coach Richardson indicated his right leg was stinging, but there was no injury and he should be good to go Friday. Jim O’Brien also was getting work done on his nose. Again, it was alluded that the injury was minor and from a hit in open ice. He should not miss any time.
- Coach Richardson also indicated that there may be callups from Elmira this weekend, to keep players fresh as they conclude a 4 game in 6 day weekend
- Mark Stone was called up to the NHL’s Ottawa Senators before the game.
“He’s been scoring some points, but he’s been creating even more chances,” Richardson said.