The Binghamton Senators returned to the Broome County Arena Friday night on quite a roll. The team finished a three-game Canadian road trip last weekend, taking five of a possible six points in Hamilton and Toronto.
Friday, the Connecticut Whale visited the Broome County Arena and as expected, there were a lot of Rangers jerseys in the stands. Thankfully, they had little to cheer about, as Nathan Lawson shut the Whale down 3-0, making 34 saves in the shutout.
This was Lawson’s first shutout as a Binghamton Senator and his ninth in the AHL.
“He was real solid,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson. “He did a great job of battling just to make clean saves.”
Binghamton jumped out to an early lead, as Fredrik Claesson ripped one from just inside the blue line, that Whale goalie Cameron Talbot had no chance on. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Corey Cowick assisted.
For Claesson, it was his second goal of the season. His first came last Saturday in Toronto.
“I thought we were solid,” said Richardson. “I think coming out early and having a real good start in our building re-establishes what we worked so hard to build in the beginning of the year, so that was nice to see.”
Lawson made 11 saves in the first period, while Binghamton fired 14 on Talbot.
The first period also saw Mark Borowiecki drop the gloves against Brandon Mashinter. Mashinter did take Boro down, but there were very few punches thrown.
Binghamton’s power-play went 0-for-2 in the first period.
The second period saw both teams with decent chances throughout, but the goaltenders were denying everything thrown their way. Talbot made 12 saves, while Lawson countered with 13.
The B-Sens best chance came with 2:38 left in the period, when Binghamton had 1:03 of 5-on-3 power-play time and came up empty.
“In the second period we got off our game plan a little bit,” said Richardson. “Partly because they can really skate and they played well too.”
Binghamton had their chances to put things away early in the third, with Pat Cannone just missing, as a turnover landed right on his stick. Dustin Gazley missed another great opportunity in close, after faking a defender down and making a nice move around him, with about 4 ½ minutes left.
Connecticut’s best chance to break up the shutout bid came with less than eight minutes left in the game. Whale winger Andrew Yogan attempted a wraparound that Cowick defended beautifully, going down on the ice to cut off Yogan’s shot into an open net.
“I don’t know if it hit me or not,” said Cowick. “I just tried to keep it from going in and keeping the lead there.”
That would prove big, because the B-Sens got an insurance goal with 2:39 left, when Chris Wideman got a rebound in deep and let a howitzer go that Talbot couldn’t find, until it was behind him.
For Wideman, it was his first AHL goal, assisted by Shane Prince and Brett Lebda.
With Talbot gone from the net, Binghamton sewed things up with an empty-netter 47 seconds later off the stick of Wacey Hamilton. For Hamilton, it was his second goal of the season.
The B-Sens, who have had some tired penalty killers in recent games, because of the amount of work they’ve had, got a reprieve Friday night, as the team did not give Connecticut a single power-play.
“It was nice to do that and play a disciplined game and stay out of the penalty box,” Richardson said. “I thought we skated well.”
Binghamton (34-17-1-5) remains three points behind Syracuse in the East Division standings. The B-Sens will host Rochester tonight at 7:05 p.m.
Don't forget to stop by the Mended Little Hearts of Binghamton table on the concourse. They are holding their annual basket raffle to help raise money and awareness for children with heart defects.