The Binghamton Senators scored three goals in the third period on Monday night and notched a 4-2 victory over the visiting St. John’s IceCaps in front of 4,440 at the Broome County Arena.
“We wanted to finish off this year on the right note and we did that,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. "Just another check mark for these guys. I’ve been proud of them all year.”
This was the third straight victory for Binghamton, who was coming off a 2-1 win Saturday at Rochester.
“We’re playing good again and we’re back on another streak,” said Binghamton center Derek Grant. “We just need to keep it going.”
The B-Sens annual New Year’s Eve contest got off to an inauspicious start and St. John’s was able to take advantage. The IceCaps scored hit the post 9 ½ minutes into the contest and got a golden opportunity minutes later with Andre Benoit in the box for delay of game and Mark Borowiecki called for high-sticking, the visitors had a 5-on-3 power-play.
Binghamton netminder Ben Bishop did his best to keep the game scoreless, coming up with a couple brilliant saves during the sequence. Unfortunately, with four seconds left on the Benoit penalty, Maxime Macenauer rifled a low shot by him, giving the IceCaps a 1-0 advantage with 7:47 left in the period.
“You never want to give the other team an advantage and we don’t want to try coming from behind every game,” said Grant. “If we can clean up our starts I think we’ll make things easier on ourselves.”
With 3:10 to go, Grant took a roughing call, giving the IceCaps another power-play chance. As the puck was carried up ice, Corey Cowick appeared to have taken a stick to the face. He was off to the B-Sens bench, as the puck was carried up ice. Referee Terry Koharski never saw Cowick and Ben Maxwell meanwhile snapped home a shot, seemingly giving St. John’s a 2-0 lead.
After the goal, the officials huddled and Koharski was likely told by one of the linesmen about Cowick. They eventually took the goal off the board and Derek Meech was tagged with a double-minor for high-sticking, at the 17:09 mark. The IceCaps disagreed loudly with the call and Kael Mouillierat was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That set up a 4-on-3 situation in favor of Binghamton. Binghamton had 19 seconds of 5-on-3 time and just as Mouillierat was exiting the box to make it 5-on-4, Jakob Silfverberg tossed a beauty of a pass onto the stick of Mike Hoffman, who beat IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale, tying the game at one with 51 seconds to go in the frame. Hugh Jessiman picked up the second assist on the play.
“I’m a little happier with that call tonight then I would be if I was on the other end of it,” said Richardson with a smile. “You gotta realize that those usually even out and the refs are trying to do the best job and you gotta take that into consideration on every call.”
The IceCaps had an 11-8 advantage in shots at the end of one, but where it counted, it was knotted at 1-1.
St. John’s killed the remaining 1:09 of the Meech penalty to start the second period and the two teams showed very little in the way of offense for the balance of the period. Shots again favored St. John’s 9-8, but there was no scoring.
Binghamton would make up for that in the third. With 7:13 to go in the game, St. John’s turned the puck over behind their own net, Cole Schneider picked up the loose puck and dished it out in front to Shane Prince, who put it up and over Pasquale’s arm, giving Binghamton a 2-1 lead with 12:49 left in the contest.
“To get a good bounce like that, it was from hard work,” said Richardson. “Prince is that guy. If you get him the puck in kind of that horseshoe area out in front of the net, that’s where he’s good and he knows what to do with it. It was a good goal and gave us a bit if a lift.”
Binghamton has excelled all season with one of their own in the penalty box. They had a league high eight shorthanded goals coming in and Grant had three of those, leading the league individually. Those totals would both go up Monday, as Grant scored 3:10 after the Prince tally, with teammate Eric Gryba serving a hooking penalty.
“They’re dangerous,” said Richardson of his penalty killing unit. “They can go on the attack if you make a mistake and Derek Grant has led the way and did it again tonight and that pretty much solidified our win.”
“Every guy out there is playing aggressive,” said Grant of the penalty-killers. “When you have four guys that play aggressive all together, it makes things tough on the other team.”
“Our penalty kill has been great, we’re calling it the power-kill now because they’re scoring so many goals,” said Bishop. “It’s fun to be back there when they’re scoring it was a huge goal for our team.”
Mark Stone would make it a 4-1 game with an empty-net strike with 1:22 to go and St. John’s scored just as time expired on a shot from Paul Postma, closing the gap to 4-2.
Bishop finished with 29 saves, earning his seventh victory of the year. Pasquale finished with 23 stops.
For more info: St. John's @ Binghamton game report
With the victory, Binghamton leads the Eastern Conference with a .707 winning percentage and that means that Richardson will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars in Providence later this month.
“I didn’t even know the rules,” said Richardson. “The guys were congratulating me when the buzzer went, on the bench and I was trying to figure out if they (St. John’s) scored another goal or not.”
“We knew that before the game,” said Bishop of Richardson’s shot at the All-Star game. “It was kind of must-win for us, we wanted to win for him. He’s a great guy and guy’s love playing for him.”
Binghamton improved to 19-7-1-2 and will next face Wilkes-Barre Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The organization will celebrate the 40th anniversary of hockey in Binghamton throughout the night.