Binghamton battled back from a 3-1 third period deficit, capped off by rookie Cody Ceci’s overtime tally with 2:47 left in overtime.
“I was skating down the wall and the guy kind of slid in desperation, I just waited him out and had the whole far side (of the net), Ceci said of the game winner. “It was a pretty great feeling to score a goal like that, coming into a new team and a new town. I’m happy to be here and it’s nice to start off like that.”
Things did not start well for the home squad, as Captain Mark Borowiecki and winger Mark Stone both sustained injuries in the first period. Borowiecki was hit up high against the boards by Philippe Paradis, with 9:43 left in the period.
“He saw the guy coming and just couldn’t get himself set square,” said B-Sens head coach Luke Richardson. “Boro just took a bit if a helmet to the head and whipped his neck back, but he seems to be okay. He passed all the concussion protocol testing and I think it’s just more of a sore neck, so we kept him out as a precaution.”
Stone appeared to injure his shoulder and Richardson said he will be re-evaluated, including an X-ray.
David Dziurzynski dropped the gloves with Joey Mormina at the 8:40 mark, both guys landed decent shots in the exchange. The period ended with both teams evenly matched in shots, 11-11.
Syracuse got on the board first when Dana Tyrell beat Binghamton goaltender Nathan Lawson 1:24 into the period. He skated from behind the net, firing a shot in front and giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Binghamton answered with a man in the penalty box. Derek Grant stole the puck at center ice and skated in on Syracuse goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, beating him underneath the pad, to tie the game at 1-1, with 16:23 left.
Grant led the AHL with five shorthanded goals last season and picked up right where he left off Saturday night.
“I was able to get the puck and get on my horse there and put it through his legs,” said Grant.
Things unraveled for the B-Sens soon after that, as the Crunch got a shorty of their own, as Tyrell skated in and squeezed one through on Lawson, who seemed to secure the puck, but somehow it trickled through his pads and found the back of the net, giving Syracuse a 2-1 lead, at the 15:41 mark.
The lead ballooned to 3-1 when the Crunch took advantage of a defensive breakdown in front and Evan Rankin beat Lawson with 1:02 left in the period.
The third period saw Binghamton turn the corner, as they got goals from Corey Cowick (assisted by Ceci) and Mika Zibanejad, who tied things up on the power-play, with a rifle from the top of the faceoff circle, on a nice feed from defenseman Chris Wideman, with 9:13 left in regulation.
It was Binghamton’s only power-play goal on four chances, but it was a big one.
“I thought we really adjusted and played well in that third period,” said Richardson. “We showed a lot of character and guts, we’ll take the 4-3 win, especially when we only have one game and it’s at home to start off the season. We wanted to give our fans something to cheer about and feel good about.”
The cheers reached a fever pitch when Ceci ended the game with that overtime tally. He looked to have Desjardins at his mercy when he skated in and just came to a sudden stop, before letting the shot go that ended the game and gave Binghamton two points in the standings.
“We showed a lot of character at the end and had young guys stepping up, said Grant. “We found a way to win.”
“It’s nice to get a win no matter what,” said Cowick. “When you come from behind like that, especially losing two key parts of your team, to persevere and come back and get those two points, definitely bodes well for the future.”
Gamesheet: Syracuse Crunch @ Binghamton Senators
Binghamton (1-0) will not play again until next Friday, when they travel to Norfolk for the first of back-to-back games. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
Game notes: Ceci took home first star honors, with Zibanejad earning third star for Binghamton. The two goals by Tyrell were good enough for second star, but he did not skate out when his name was announced and will likely draw a fine from the league.
Game highlights courtesy of The Binghamton Senators and YouTube.