Stephane Da Costa scored in the first round of the skills session and Louie Caporusso capped the game with a tally in the fourth round, giving the home team a much needed victory.
“We persevered in the end in the shootout and that was to the credit of all the guys,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. “They really worked hard tonight. “
Hershey got on the board first when Jeff Taffe buried a rebound as he wrapped it around Binghamton goaltender Nathan Lawson’s net, 10:43 into the first period.
Mark Borowiecki dropped the gloves with Garrett Mitchell with 3:57 left in the period, after Mitchell interfered with Lawson.
Binghamton couldn’t convert on the ensuing power-play, but they would strike not long after.
Binghamton’s Tyler Eckford let loose with a long shot that was deflected in front and went in off the stick of Darren Kramer and past Hershey netminder Dany Sabourin, to tie the game at 1-1, with 57.2 seconds left. The goal was unassisted.
Wacey Hamilton made it 2-1 when he parked a rebound behind Sabourin with 20.4 seconds left. The assists went to newcomer Brett Lebda and Caporusso.
With that, the first period came to a close. Hershey held a 14-12 edge in shots, but Binghamton had the edge on the scoreboard.
The Senators had 10 power-play chances Friday night, one of those coming 1:35 into the second period when Steve Olesky sat for cross-checking. It would be the only time Binghamton would convert on the man-up. Lebda got things going when he fed a waiting Stephane Da Costa in the slot. Da Costa turned to let a shot go, the puck instead slid right to a waiting Cole Schneider, who drove it home and extended Binghamton’s lead to 3-1.
“I thought our power-play was really good,” said Richardson. “We could’ve buried one or two more with a little better luck or determination that would’ve put the game away earlier.”
That was the only goal of the second period, with each team getting credit for nine shots.
Birthday boy Marc Cheverie, who earned his first win in a Binghamton uniform last Sunday at Albany, took over in net in the third period when Lawson was unable to answer the bell.
“He just didn’t feel right after the second period,” Richardson said of Lawson. “He mentioned something about the lights blinking when they’re hooked up and that threw him off. We got him through two periods and we’ll just see how he is in the morning.”
The issue stems from a collision at Wilkes-Barre 11 days ago, that is obviously still lingering.
It didn’t take long for Hershey to take advantage of a cold goaltender. Peter LeBlanc got the Bears started on the comeback trail when he scored 7:19 into the third, snapping a shot off between the feet of Cheverie, making it 3-2.
Hershey would get a power-play chance at the 7:39 mark with Binghamton’s Jean Bourbeau sent off for charging.
Despite all the changes to the roster in recent weeks, the Binghamton penalty kill continues to be strong and they were on this occasion.
Dustin Gazley broke out with the puck and had Jean-Gabriel Pageau with him. The two worked a great give-and-go play, with Gazley on the money end and 44 seconds after the Bears had cut the lead to one, it was back to two.
For Gazley, it was his first AHL goal and for Binghamton, their 15th shorthanded goal of the season. That made it a 4-2 Binghamton lead.
“His skating and speed really complement Pageau with both of them to each other,” said Richardson. “Not only 5-5, but shorthanded, you can see them being very dangerous.”
“Definitely felt great,” said Gazley of the goal. “Played nine games, this was the 10th (in the AHL) and to finally get the monkey off the back is good and hopefully they keep rolling after this.”
While that goal was being announced, Hershey struck again 19 seconds later with Taffe netting his second of the night, again closing the gap to one.
“We let them score from the middle,” said Richardson of the third period. “We did a great job all game of keeping shots to the outside and to their credit, in the third they came at us pretty hard.
Gazley would commit a costly roughing penalty with 7:08 left, putting Hershey on their sixth power-play of the night. It took just 22 seconds for Jon DiSalvatore to tie things up as he stuffed home a juicy rebound.
“I’m not sure he was deserving of it, but you’ve gotta be careful when you take roughing after the whistle,” said Richardson of the Gazley penalty. “I was hoping he would get a goal in the shootout because I know he wanted that one back.”
He would get his chance in the shootout, following Da Costa’s goal, but couldn’t convert.
Binghamton has now won two in a row, after dropping two of three last weekend. They improved to 31-15-1-4 and pulled to within one point of the Syracuse Crunch in the East Division.
Binghamton will host Albany tonight at 7:05 p.m. with Cheverie getting the nod in net.
“We wanna make sure we don’t relax,” said Richardson of the game against Albany. “We wanna take it one step further because Albany can really skate and check.”
Injury update: With Lawson added to the list Friday, the injuries continue to mount for Binghamton.
Corey Cowick was “banged up,” according to Richardson but should be back shortly. Mike Hoffman should be skating Monday and Mark Stone skated earlier this week, but there was no timetable for either as far as a return.
Jack Downing suffered a broken thumb last week, and Richardson characterized it as a bad break. He hopes to have Downing back before the regular season ends.