Shane Prince and Corey Cowick led the way for Binghamton Saturday, scoring two goals each. Stephane Da Costa added two assists, and when all was said and done, Binghamton came away with a 4-3 overtime victory.
The win did not come easily, as the B-Sens squandered a two-goal lead in the second period, as Rochester battled to score late in the second and early in the third, to tie things up.
“It’s always fun to win in overtime,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. “I thought we gritted it out in the third period, but they had some momentum, after us letting them back in it at the beginning of the second.”
The B-Sens started well as the game got underway, peppering Amerks goaltender Nathan Lieuwen with a few early shots. The hard work paid off when Da Costa ripped a shot in in on Lieuwen that was stopped, but the rebound came out to Shane Prince. Prince stayed with it and despite Lieuwen diving on the puck, it squirted through, and just like that, Binghamton was up 1-0 at the 11:13 mark.
The Americans, who had found iron twice in the first period, finally found twine on the power-play. With Derek Grant in the box for cross-checking. Seven seconds later, Matt Ellis finished off a Mark Mancari shot through the legs of Nathan Lawson and in, tying the game with 4:10 left in the period.
Binghamton would get that goal back, when Cowick went around the net, giving the puck to Dustin Gazley, who passed it in front of the cage, allowing Cowick to bang it home and help Binghamton regain the lead, 2-1. Assists on the goal to Gazley and J-G Pageau.
“He’s been doing a lot of hard work and tonight, he was a real power-forward,” said Richardson of Cowick. “Skating, driving the net, creating chances down low and finishing his checks all over the ice. For a big guy on our team right now, that’s huge.”
The first period ended with Rochester holding a 15-13 shots advantage.
Binghamton got off to a pretty good start in the second period, as Prince forced a turnover and almost in one fluid motion, quickly spun and shot toward the net, Lieuwen through the legs. With that, Binghamton’s lead was 3-1, 2:42 into the middle period. Da Costa was credited with the only assist.
“It was a bit of a broken play,” said Prince of his second tally. “Da Costa did a nice job creating a turnover in the slot and I just turned around and shot it.”
“That second one was a turnaround shot,” said Richardson. “He really has a sense of where to put the puck. He’s really tried to work at his game and not turn pucks over and that’s given him some more ice time and a chance to do what he does best… score goals.”
Rochester came into the game eight games above .500 and even with a goalie that had just one previous AHL start, you just knew the visitors weren’t going away.
With 57 seconds Left, Lawson got steamrolled into the net, lost his stick and Rochester thought they had scored. Referee T.J. Luxmore waved that one off, but Rochester converted with 14.1 seconds left. Lawson found himself down again and this time Maxime Legault was given credit for the goal, closing the gap to 3-2, heading into the final stanza.
Shots in that period were 14-13 Binghamton.
“We took some bad penalties in the second period and that gave them some momentum,” Richardson said.”
Rochester carried that momentum right into the third, when Zemgus Girgensons tallied 53 seconds into the period, tying the game at three.
“That was just not a good shift by the five guys in front of (Lawson), said Richardson. “It trickled in and I’m sure he wants it back, but we are really happy with his play. He waited a long time this year to get this opportunity and he’s another guy making the most of it.”
That would be the last goal Lawson would allow to the visitors, as Cowick shined in overtime.
Both teams had chances in the extra session, with some pretty good back-and-forth action, but only one shot on goal was registered and that was off the stick of Cowick.
He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated around the defense and snuck the puck between the left goal post and goalie Nathan Lieuwen, who looked to have it pretty well sealed off. Lieuwen barely moved, as Cowick came in and it cost him, because Cowick found a very small opening and with that, Binghamton skated away with a 4-3 OT win, with 57.7 still showing on the overtime clock.
“I knew we had numbers. I came and kind of fumbled the puck a bit and when I looked up (the goalie) was cheating a little bit so I tried to go short side and the rest is kind of a blur,” said Cowick. "It was a good play and a pretty good bounce.”
Binghamton (35-17-1-5) were unable to pick up any ground on the front-running Syracuse Crunch in the East Division on Saturday. They will now turn their attention to another East Division foe, the Hershey Bears, who will host the B-Sens down in Hershey today at 5:00 p.m.
Game highlights courtesy of SendToNews and the Binghamton Senators.