Lehner, who was reassigned to Binghamton earlier this week, by the parent Ottawa Senators, played a statement game. He stopped 45 shots in all, 37 in regulation, three in overtime and all five in the shootout.
Lehner’s only other shutout was a 1-0 shootout loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins back on Nov. 7.
At the other end, Dustin Tokarski stopped 27 of 28 shots, earning a shutout on his ledger as well.
The two teams played 65 minutes of scoreless hockey before Stephane Da Costa scored in the third round of the shootout, propelling Binghamton to the much needed win.
Binghamton came into the game with a one point lead over the Crunch in the AHL’s East Division standings as the teams met for the sixth time this season. With the victory, Binghamton now leads the Crunch by two points, as they picked up the extra point with the victory.
The first period saw Lehner stop 13 shots, while Tokarski made 11 saves. Binghamton had chances early, with Mike Hoffman getting a couple good looks, while Syracuse kept Lehner busy at the end of the period, as he had to make a handful of saves in a short time to keep his team in it. Each team went 0-for-2 on the power-play.
The Crunch out shot Binghamton 12-7 in the second period. Binghamton’s best chances came late in the period, as Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad teamed up a couple times to test Tokarski. The duo couldn’t connect on a late play that saw a return pass from Zibanejad elude Stone, with Tokarski out of position and a good portion of the net left open.
Binghamton got a power-play chance at the 4:48 mark of the third period and Hoffman got a good shot off during the sequence, but Tokarski made the pad save. The B-Sens were bailed out a couple times by Lehner after bad turnovers, including a pass to no one, by eventual hero Da Costa that Syracuse turned into a scoring chance.
Lehner came up big with a skate save on an Alex Killorn shot with 4:27 left and Radko Gudas, who had a couple blocked shots late in the OT, hit iron with a shot shortly thereafter.
In overtime, Derek Grant had a great chance with 11 seconds left for Binghamton and the visitors hit the crossbar as time expired. That sent the game to the shootout.
Lehner stopped JT Wyman, Ondrej Palat, Brett Connolly, Killorn, and the Crunch’s leading scorer Tyler Johnson in the shootout.
Zibanejad and Hoffman failed to beat Tokarski for the B-Sens. That left it to Da Costa, who skated in with a head fake and a shot over Tokarski’s pad into the net. Cole Schneider missed the net, before Johnson came up empty on the final shot for Syracuse.
For more info: Binghamton @ Syracuse game report
Lehner Milestone: The Binghamton Senators media department tweeted that this was Lehner's 40th win of his Binghamton Senators career. He now ranks fourth on Binghamton’s all-time wins list.
The B-Sens are now 26-10-1-3 this season and with this win, they re-assume the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with 56 points. The Springfield Falcons also have 56 points, but they have played 41 games, to Binghamton’s 40, which gives Binghamton the higher winning percentage.
Binghamton returns home Saturday night to take on the Hershey Bears, who currently sit third in the East Division. Game time is 7:05 p.m.