The Binghamton Senators are the East Division Champions.
But it didn’t look like it in the third period of this game, a 5-4 Wilkes-Barre setback. The Penguins outshot the Penguins 26-7 and outscored them 2-0 and nearly tied the game late. Brian Dumoulin shot a puck right at Chris Conner camped out on the right of starting goaltender Andrew Hammond’s crease but Conner didn’t get all on the tip which would have forced overtime.
But they don’t play hockey on what ifs. The now is that the Penguins will need to start the 2014 Calder Cup Campaign on the road, without home ice advantage.
The aforementioned Andrew Hammond vs. Peter Mannino.
Chris Conner was in the lineup, down on conditioning. Zach Sill and Carter Rowney are the names you know that were scratched. Josh Archibald and the rest of the ATOs were scratched. Scott Wilson took warmups. The veteran scratch was Spencer Machacek.
First Period: Shane Prince took a pass from below the goal line and was parked right in front for a 1-0 Binghamton lead. A turnover in front of the Wilkes-Barre net and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his first of three to make it 2-0. Jonathan Bombulie says that the Binghamton Senators make you pay for your mistakes. He wasn’t lying.
Second Period: On a carry over power play from the first, Pageau scored his second on a power play. Then, nifty passing by Alex Grant to David Dziurzuynski and it was 4-0 Penguins. With Dominik Uher in the box for a hook, Pageau finished off his hat trick to make it 5-0 Penguins.
Looking back at the recap so far, it was an all out assault by the Binghamton Senators. Or was it? Did Binghamton just capitalize on turnovers and nifty passes or were the Penguins that bad?
Adam Payerl got one back. Then the Penguins started their comeback.
Bobby Farnham shorthanded. Farnham tore up ice quick, put a wild shot on net that wasn’t close, tracked down the carom and had a wide open net to shoot into. The momentum that Wilkes-Barre had was broken by intermission and the start of the….
Third Period: All Wilkes-Barre from start to finish. Hammond made big saves though. A setup by Chris Conner to Barry Goers was stopped. Anton Zlobin draws the Binghamton net minder out of the net and attempts a wrap around but is stopped. Andrew Ebbett got one past Hammond to cut the deficit to two. While on a power play, Hammond made a sprawling save to keep it a two goal lead. Chuck Kobasew gets one by Hammond to make it a one goal lead for the Senators. With Mannino pulled, the Penguins got close, but never found the equalizer. Dumoulin had Conner at the far post but Conner missed it or else who knows what….
Notes: Mannino hadn’t given up more than two goals in a game since November….the Penguins goaltenders as a whole have a 5.33 GAA and a .809 SV% in Binghamton this season.
Three Stars: 3) Chuck Kobasew (goal, assist, +2) 2) Mark Stone (three assists, +1) and 1) J-G Pageau (three goals, +1)
Around the Division: Syracuse loses to Rochester 5-1….the Norfolk Admirals are headed to the playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Hershey Bears. With a 2-1 Providence overtime win, the Hershey Bears are eliminated form Calder Cup Playoff contention for the first time since 2005-2006.
Other Games that Matter: I gave you the Providence box above. St. John’s is locked in at the 4 seed and Albany was off. It’s still up in the air as to who the Penguins can face in the first round.
Basically how it runs is this. If Wilkes-Barre loses tomorrow in Utica in regulation and Albany (vs. SPR) AND Providence (@ WOR) win, the Pens are a 7 seed. That’s as low as they can go. Win, and the Pens are a 5 no matter what. OTL and SOL get tricky depending on competition. It’s something that I hope that Jason Chaimovitch and the brain trust in Springfield are working on at this ungodly hour (11:44 p.m. on a Friday)
Standings: Binghamton 94 — Penguins 92 — Norfolk 90 — Hershey 86 — Syracuse 73
Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (94) 4) STJ (97) 5) WBS (92) 6) ALB (91) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers won Game 1 in South Carolina 3-0.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
Gameday for the final regular season game vs. Utica will be up at 3. If the Springfield brain trust manages to put together scenarios, I may run a mini blog post with the who’s and how’s.
Let’s Go Pens!!