The Binghamton Senators came into Saturday’s game against Norfolk having lost two games in a row. The team had suffered that fate on a nine different occasions this season, but never let it get to three in a row. It did not reach three on Saturday either.
Binghamton scored five unanswered goals against Admirals goaltender Frederik Andersen and fought through a wild third period, to pick up their 37th win of the season.
“I thought it was a real good team effort,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. “I think when this team loses a couple games or even one game; they really bear down and work hard to get back on track.”
Netminder Nathan Lawson got the start in goal for Binghamton Saturday night. He was coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to Adirondack on Friday.
Lawson gave up the first goal of the night 33 seconds into Norfolk’s first power-play that saw Wacey Hamilton sitting in the box for slashing. With 11:49 left in the period, Sami Vatanen ripped a shot toward Lawson, which Brett Lebda inadvertently knocked into his own net, to make it 1-0.
The B-Sens got a power-play of their own when Josh Brittain sat for holding. The Binghamton power-play, which has struggled for much of the year, took all of 12 seconds to beat Andersen. Stephane Da Costa let a pretty harmless shot go from the near circle and Andersen could do nothing with it as it was tipped and credited to Mark Stone. The game was tied 1-1with 10:53 left.
Assists went to Da Costa and Chris Wideman.
Wideman was not done; he would give Binghamton their first lead just over two minutes later. He went top-shelf on Andersen, making it 2-1 with 8:41 to go. Hugh Jessiman, who returned from injury Saturday, added an assist.
The B-Sens would tack on one more with 28.7 seconds left in the first, when Jean-Gabriel Pageau went low through traffic, making it 3-1.Fredrik Claesson got the only helper on that goal.
Shots were tied at 13 after the first 20 minutes.
Binghamton did get an early power-play chance in the second, but could do nothing with it. Minutes later, Michael Sdao, who debuted against Adirondack Friday, definitely seemed more comfortable in game two.
He dropped the gloves with Norfolk bruiser Troy Bodie and definitely held his own, getting in some good shots and eventually, the takedown.
“He just finished exams the other day at Princeton,” said Richardson of Sdao. “It was a tough week of adjustments for him and I thought he was tentative last night, but he probably gained a lot of confidence after his first pro scrap.
Binghamton would bum-rush Andersen’s net with 5:20 left, just overpowering the netminder and Wacey Hamilton finished the play off, burying it under Andersen, who was flat on his back.
Derek Grant and Cole Schneider assisted on that one, giving Binghamton a 4-1 lead.
The third period had a lot on store, as Norfolk was watching the dim playoff chances grow dimmer.
With 9:43 left, Binghamton’s Danny New was charging toward the puck and absolutely plastered into the boards by Brittain. Jessiman immediately went after him.
“I definitely want to see them sticking up for each other,” said Richardson of all the fighting that went on late. “I definitely didn’t think we instigated anything. They were behind and they were trying to draw us into some stuff and us reacting. Jessiman jumped right in there. It certainly helps having him in there.
Sdao finished his impressive night with his first professional goal at 16:43. He got it along the corner boards and just let it fly, making it 5-1.
“He’s a big guy that can shoot the puck and he got an opportunity at the end,” said Richardson. “It was great to see him get his first pro goal.”
“It was a great game and everyone played well,” said Sdao. “Lawson started and played well for us. It’s awesome to be here with a great group of guys.”
When asked about his goal Sdao said, “I was just trying to get the puck to the net. It came off the wall and I was trying to shoot it.
Wideman ended the night with a goal and an assist and Claesson, along with Derek Grant had two helpers each.
Binghamton’s biggest helper was Lawson, who snagged 42 saves in his first star effort on Saturday.
“It was a good 60-minute battle,” said Lawson. “They tried to pick up the play and I felt great last night (Friday) and felt great Saturday. Some night’s you just have to roll with the punches.”
Binghamton returns home this weekend, to take on the Albany Devils Friday and the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday. The B-Sens are still trailing the Syracuse Crunch by two points in the East Division standings.