Wideman Delivers Knockout as Sens Skate to Seventh Straight

BINGHAMTON – The Binghamton sure seem to like overtime. They won their second consecutive overtime game after giving up a lead late in the third, as they defeated the Syracuse Crunch 6-5 in Overtime Saturday night in front of 3823 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night. With the win, Binghamton (21-9-0-3 45 pts, 1st East) clinched the season series with their upstate rivals.

It was a wild and wacky game, as 11 goals were scored on 63 total combined shots. Binghamton led of the scoring early in the first, as Stephane Da Costa found the scoresheet. Da Costa stole the puck and shot it from the left slot to make it 1-0 Sens just 3:34 into the opening frame. Mike Hoffman and Cole Schneider assisted on the opening tally. It was his 11th, and Da Costa was not done.

The wild play continued in the first half of the period. Syracuse (14-14-2-3, 33 pts 5th East) scored twice in the blink of an eye, or 23 seconds to be exact. First, Vladmir Namestnikov attempted to shoot the puck in the back of the net and Andrew Hammond was up to the challenge, but with Brett Connolly on the doorstep, Hammond had no chance as Connolly scored his seventh of the year and first of two on the night at 5:40. Drew Olson was credited with the second assist. At 6:03, Hammond again faced adversity. Geoff Walker pounded in a wrister from the right point to make it 2-1. It was Walker’s third of the season, with Mike Angelidis assisting on the play.

The scored stayed 2-1 after one, but the game was far from over. the Crunch set the tone with a shorthanded goal just 26 seconds into the frame, as Evan Rankin stole the puck and sent it to Joey Mormina. The defenseman crashed and shot the puck from the slot past Hammond to make it 3-1 on his first of the year. Cedrick Paquette also helped on the play. Mormina was not done, either.

“Two” was the running theme. Binghamton ended up scoring on the powerplay, and scored on their next. In all, they scored five more goals, all on the powerplay, with six of the final seven combined being scored on the man advantage. The B-Sens scored their next two over the course of 2:10, chasing Cedrick Desjardins from the game. First, Jim O’Brien came in on the right side and let go a soft wrist shot from the faceoff circle, cutting the deficit in half at 1:13. It was O’Brien’s fifth goal of the year, with Hoffman and Hammond getting helpers.

At 3:23, Shane Prince got on the scoresheet with his sixth of the season. Off another interception, Prince came in and let another soft shot go to the left of Desjardins to tie the game at three. Hoffman and Wideman assisted, and Crunch head coach Rob Zettler had seen enough. Desjardins rode the pine the rest of the night, with Kristers Gudlevskis getting the rest of the play.

Gudlevskis kept them in the game, and the score was tied after two periods, but another quick and fluky start gave the Sens what should have been a comfortable lead in the third. After Paquette was assessed a major and misconduct for boarding to wrap up the second, Binghamton took advantage, scoring twice on the ensuing powerplay. First, at 1:16, Wideman scored his first of what ended up being a two goal and first star night. Matt Puempel intercepted the puck in offensive zone traffic. He sent the puck over to Schneider who rushed into the left slot and sent the puck to the right circle, where Wideman ripped a one-timer to make it 4-3.  IT was Wideman’s fourth of the year.

Just 34 ticks later, at 1:50, Da Costa came in on a rush on the right side, did a nifty move around his man, and scored his second of the night to make it 5-3. Danny New and Schneider assisted on the play.

With things seeming to be on the Sens side, they perhaps took a little off, but never seemed to lose composure as they gave up the lead late. With Frederick Claesson in the box at 8:06, Connolly scored his second of the night and eighth of the year to make it only a 5-4 game. It was a fluke goal off a knuckle puck from the left point that gave Mormina his second of the night and year and tie the game with 1:59 left in regulation. Connolly and Jon DiSalvatore assisted on the tying goal.

“It looked like another knuckler that went off a stick and hit the crossbar,” coach Luke Richardson said. “I don’t know if Hammond even saw it. It was rolling out of the net. It was a weird one.

It really silenced the crowd. No one knew If there was a whistle or what happened, but the good thing is we responded well once again. We didn’t crumble.”

A bad penalty led to the ultimate winner, as with seven seconds left in regulation Rankin was assessed a goaltender interference penalty after being run into by a Binghamton defender.  1:31 into the powerplay and 1:26 into the extra session, Wideman let go a hard shot from the left point that had just enough to get past Gudlevskis and end the game, as Wideman skated swiftly off the ice with his mates following him.

“We’ve been talking about someone [quickly exiting after winning the game],” Wideman said. “I always [joked] ‘I’m going to do that if I get one’, so I had to do it.

“One of their defenseman moved right in front of the goalie right as I was getting the puck. At that point I’m just thinking ‘rip it’ and see what happens. Luckly I beat him five-hole.”

Hoffman and Prince assisted on the goal.

“It’s maybe too exciting as a coach,” Rciahrdson said about the consecutive overtime wins. “But I’ll take the wins.”

Binghamton looks for number eight Sunday night at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while the Crunch will enjoy the day off. They play the at the Penguins Wednesday night.

AROUND THE AHL:

GET OUT THE HATS: Josh Leivo scored thrice for the Toronto Marlies in their 5-2 victory over the Utica Comets at the Ricoh Coliseum

SPEAKING OF HATS: Hat tricks were the order of the night, as David van der Gulik scored a natural hat trick in the Lake Erie Monsters’ 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

FIGHT NIGHT: Staying in Lake Erie, a wild third period culminated with a goalie fight. Starters Scott Darling (MIL) and Sami Aittokallio (LE) fought at the 10:15 mark. Both goalies were assessed fighting majors and 10 minute misconducts for secondary altercations, and the backup goalies had to play the remainder of the game

SWEET SHUTOUT: It may have been Big Fitzy on a Stick Night in Adirondack, but Cal Heeter shined again with his second straight shutout as Adirondack beat Albany 4-0. Zack FitzGerald did not get a goal.

INSIDE HOCKEY’S THREE STARS:

3.  Joey Mormina (SYR) 2 G (First 2 of the year)

2. Stephane Da Costa (BIN) 2 G

1. Chris Wideman (BIN) 2 G (GWG)

Honorable Mention: Mike Hoffman (BIN) 4 A

Honorable Mention: Brett Connolly (SYR) 2 G 1 A

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