BINGHAMTON – Hockey is not always a cake walk but it was an easy one Friday night as the Binghamton Senators eased past the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 6-2 in front of 3,236 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
“Tonight was a good effort,” coach Luke Richardson said. “I thought 20 guys for 60 minutes means success and it’d doesn’t matter who you play.
“The effort was there tonight, and the result was there with it.”
“I think we could have had more [goals],” Stephane Da Costa said. “We played well. We played simple.”
The two teams exchanged goals in a slightly sloppy first period. Neither team played bad, and Binghamton improved as the night progressed.
It was Bridgeport striking first as Anders Lee scored his 16th goal of the year at the 7:26 mark. With Mark Borowiecki sitting in the sin bin for cross checking, Mike Halmo sent a past from behind the icing line on the left side to a waiting Lee who put the puck home from the center slot to make it 1-0. Ryan Strome was credited with the secondary helper.
A little over seven minutes later, Andre Petersson scored the first of two goals on the night, as he received his 12th of the year at 14:34. Frederick Claesson had the puck at the left point and fed it to the center where Petersson took a few steps in before scoring to make it 1-1. His weak wrist shot hugged the ice, baffling Tigers’ goalie Kenny Reiter.
Binghamton made it a point to bring the heat in the middle frame, as they began with carry over penalty time from Aaron Ness’ delay of game penalty late in the first. They scored just 1:16 in as Mike Hoffman got his first of two and 17th of the year near the conclusion of the man advantage. His shot was roofed off the crossbar and into the net to make it 2-1, giving Binghamton their first lead of the night. Da Costa and Chris Wideman were credited with helpers on the goal.
Midway through the period, the Sens doubled up their lead, as Petersson scored his second of the night and 13th of the year to make it 3-1 10:31 in. Danny New sent the puck to him, and Petersson crossed the blue line and let a snap shot go from the right circle. Reiter was screened and did not see the puck as it crossed the goal line.
Binghamton kept the pressure on but it was Bridgeport that struck next, keeping the game within reach at 3-2. Halmo let a shot go from the left circle that went over Andrew Hammond’s right pad and into the back of the net. Strome and Lee were given the helpers at 18:08. 27 ticks later, at 18:35, Cole Schneider got into the mix, laying the first of two daggers and changing the tone of the game. Da Costa sent it in front to Schneider who sent the puck past Reiter before he even know what was happening. Claesson was credited with the secondary assist on Schneider’s 14th at 18:35.
“Every time they score, you want to get the momentum back as soon as you can,” Schneider said. “[Da Costa] made a good play and I finished so we did it pretty quickly today.”
It seemed like the third period was more academic, and Binghamton took advantage. 2:47 into the period, Bridgeport began the first of 6:01 on the penalty kill, including multiple 5-on-3 kills. On the ensuing powerplay, which looked to be Binghamton’s best of the season, Da Costa found Puempel who scored his 13th goal of the campaign to make it 5-2 at the 4:24 mark. Binghamton kept the puck in the offensive zone for nearly two minutes, and Puempel finally got loose in the right slot. Da Costa sent a cross ice feed to him and he delivered the second dagger. At the conclusion of the play, Bridgeport took a holding call to continue their elongated kill.
“It’s mental,” Da Costa said about maintaining energy at the end. “You’ve just got to keep going. When we’re rolling like that, it’s so much fun.”
With the energy deflated and 15 and a half minutes to go, the remainder of the game was effectively garbage time. Appropriately, Hoffman scored his second goal and 18th of the year to set the final score at 6-2, 17:12 into the final period. It truly was a garbage goal.
“[Da Costa] sent the puck across ice to me on top of the blue line and I came down and was trying to get Schneider in front of the net,” Hoffman said. “I think it hit the [defenseman's] stick and went in. It was a garbage goal, but I’ll take it.
After getting a weak win in a 4-2 victory over Hershey last Friday, where they seemed off kilter, and back to back losses to an improved Adirondack Phantoms team, a cruise control victory was just what the doctor ordered. The true test will be against their rival Syracuse Crunch Saturday night in Syracuse. Despite their poor play this season, Syracuse gets up for their rivalry games, and could lure Binghamton into a trap headed into a much needed off day Sunday.
“Going there Saturday night, we’re going to have to be focused,” Puempel said. “We’re going to have to be ready.”
Meanwhile Bridgeport will face a tough Hershey Bears team in Hershey on Saturday, before concluding a three-in-three weekend at home Sunday. The road does not get any easier for one of the bottom feeders in the AHL.
- Randy Lee, the new GM, was in attendance for the game. Lee, who was previously a scout focusing on Binghamton, is no stranger to the Senators farm team, but this was his first game under tenure with his new title. He met with coach Richardson and Hoffman (among others) postgame.
- Bridgeport’s Parker Milner played the final 2:48 of the game in goal. He did not face a shot. CORRECTION: Parker Milner plated the final PERIOD of the game and allowed two goals on 13 shots. The original box score had him listed in for 2:48 and he was not announced as entering the game. The AHL box score has been altered since this article was originally published to reflect the change.
INSIDE HOCKEY THREE STARS (ALL BINGHAMTON):
3. Stephane Da Costa (4 A)
2. Mike Hoffman (2 G, 2 A)
1. Andre Petersson (2 G, GWG)
HONORABLE MENTION: Cole Schneider (G)
HONORABLE MENTION: Andrew Hammond (W, 30 sv)
AROUND THE AHL:
- Despite having no powerplay OPPORTUNITIES, The Albany Devils combined for 8 goals to defeat the Utica Comets 8-3 at the Aud. (There was only 1 PP the whole game)