The Binghamton Senators got balanced scoring and good play from a couple guys returning from the injury list Friday night in a 5-2 win over Albany.
“When you can spread it around and get a shorthanded goal, a power-play goal, an empty-net goal and an even strength goal, that’s a pretty good night,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson.
Shane Prince got things going for Binghamton on the power-play with a great feed in the slot from Cole Schneider. Prince let it go and beat a downed Keith Kinkaid in the Albany net with 4:33 left in the first period. Mark Stone got the second assist on the play.
Binghamton controlled much of the play in the period, especially early, in earning that 1-0 lead. The shots were even at 12 after 20 minutes.
“We had a great start and I thought we skated well,” said Richardson. “
The B-Sens added to their lead in a hurry in the second period. This time Schneider showed off his goal scoring touch off a Joe Whitney turnover in front. Schneider picked the puck up in front and sent it high on Kinkaid’s glove side, giving Binghamton a 2-0 lead. Pat Cannone and Mark Borowiecki got the assists.
“I was going up high,” said Schneider of his goal. I was covering from the point and I saw us get the puck and just slipped in there. Cannone made a nice pass and no mistakes.”
For Borowiecki, it was his first game back from an injury that shelved him for a couple weeks. He was joined by Mike Hoffman, who had missed the previous 22 games. It didn’t take him long to get back in the swing of things either.
After a Stone steal, it was a quick pass to Hoffman, who banged it off the crossbar, past Kinkaid to make it 3-0. The goals came 48 seconds apart.
“It was a good take by Stoner and I put it on net,” said Hoffman of the play that led to his goal. “Good things happen when you do that.”
“I thought he showed his skill level,” said Richardson of Hoffman. It’s probably the highest level in this league for sure, and it was a big lift for us to get that goal.”
Albany battled back with a couple quick strikes on their side of the ledger. With 9:12 left in the period, Matt Anderson turned in the slot and let kind of an awkward shot go, that Binghamton goaltender Nathan Lawson couldn’t corral. That closed things to 3-1.
David Wohlberg narrowed the gap to one when he put one in over Lawson’s glove, with 8:12 left in the period.
“I think we had a little bit of a lapse,” said Richardson. I think we felt a little too pleased of ourselves and let them back in it, mainly because we stopped skating.”
Oddly, all the B-Sens needed was a penalty to get things going again. With 6:21 left in the period, Hoffman went off for slashing and 19 seconds later, Corey Cowick got away from the defense and led a 2-on-1 break with Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Cowick decided to take it himself and just like that, it was a 4-2 game. Brett Lebda, along with Pageau got the assists on the shorthanded tally.
It was the third shorty of the season for Cowick and Binghamton’s 17th overall.
“That fourth goal was huge for us to kind of relieve a little pressure,” said Richardson. “It wasn’t the game-winning goal, but I think it took the momentum back to our side.”
Lawson ended the night stopping 28 of 30 shots in the Binghamton net. Kinkaid stopped 23.
With 10:26 left in the game, Binghamton forward Dustin Gazley was driven hard into the boards by Eric Gelinas. Gazley stayed down for a few minutes before being helped to the dressing room, putting no weight on his left leg.”
“The trainer said he went down hard on his back but didn’t say he had a concussion, which is a good thing,” Richardson said. “He’s tough and I wouldn’t see him being out too long.”
Schneider capped his three-point night with an empty-net goal, coming with 1:09 left in the contest.
With the win and Syracuse losing to Hamilton 1-0 on Friday, the B-Sens are now just two points out of first in the East Division.
“We just need to focus on ourselves right now,” said Hoffman when asked about the playoff race. “They (Syracuse) can do whatever they want. If they win, good for them, if not, too bad, but we’re just gonna worry about ourselves right now.”
Binghamton (38-19-1-5, 82 points) will host Hamilton tonight at 7:05 p.m., while Syracuse hosts Albany.