Recap: Binghamton Senators @ Amerks, 03.10.12
“If you want it, they’ll sell it to you – in a box so beautiful it blinds ya boy. And if you don’t buy it, then they’ll wrap it up again. Twice the price … as long as you keep buying.” (Bronze Radio Return, Sell It To You)
I hope that I haven’t already alluded to the fact that Binghamton is terrible this season (yes, I know I have), because if you don’t know yet that they’re just awful, you’d think that the Amerks are just amazing. Even though the Amerks really are just amazing. They are working very hard to wrap up in a pretty box the idea that this is a playoff team, that they deserve it, and are working hard for the playoffs.
Guys, I cannot lie. I fully expected to go into this game, the second against Binghamton in as many nights, and see the Amerks implode, as they have on so many Saturdays this season. I know, I know. After my twitter rampage this afternoon about people who are negative about my teams, that’s one heck of a confession for me to make, but it’s the truth, and I don’t want us to have a relationship built on lies. I thought we’d see the Saturday Night Suckfest (™), and then I’d write an awesome piece about how the Amerks can’t win on Saturdays … and then tonight happened. And I’m SO SORRY I had no faith that we could beat Bingo in back to back games. I’m sorry. Please forgive me? Ok. Now that we’re past that, let me tell you about the AWESOME GAME Rochester played (against a terrible team).
Three seconds into the game. Three. That’s it. Three little seconds. They hadn’t even turned off the music yet (fittingly, the Dropkick Murphys), and Joe Finley and Tim Conboy were dropping the gloves. Finley made quick work of what many media-types said was a staged fight. To the average fan (aka, those of us without locker room access), while it wasn’t the most interesting of fights, it looked like a fight. However. If you pay attention to the twitter-media, you’ll learn that Conboy tried to gouge an eye out during the previous night’s game. Per our friend Rob Sanderson:
Tim Conboy played w/many of these Amerks last yr in Portland. Was talking trash to ROC players last night..tried to gouge an eye out, too…—
Rob Sanderson (@DropThePuckWHTK) March 11, 2012
So, take what you will away from that, but Finley ended it and the game progressed quite nicely from there. And, by nicely, Rochester put on a good show in the first period, with Maxime Legault scoring the Amerks first goal of the game (and his seventh of the season) with assists to Mark Voakes and Travis Turnbull at 5:16. Shaone Morrisson added the Amerks second tally at 14:16, with assists to Turnbulll and Voakes again. However, the best part of the first period was likely this, and you’ll see why I love it so much somewhere around half way.
Well worth the watch, and the adorable French men this team has.
So, the Amerks took a 2-0 lead into the second period and that is where the magic happened. Rochester’s third goal of the game was netted by Travis Turnbull, from Voakes and McNabb, at 4:58. Derek Whitmore made it 4-0, off a pretty play from Paul Szczechura (which I can spell without looking up now. Praise me, dammit) and Luke Adam (who is working on a pretty sweet mullet) at 8:26. At the half-way point of the game, the Binghamton Senators had SIX SHOTS ON GOAL. Total. That’s it. SIX. To Rochester’s 17. I mean. SIX, guys. Six. Alex Biega made the fifth (unassisted) goal look easy, flipping the puck over Robin Lehner at 11:22. I was glad this goal happened at my end of the ice, because the look on Biega’s face was priceless. Kind of like “hey, guys, look what I can do!” At 15:19, my friend Igor Gongalsky took an elbowing penalty, and the Senators went on the power play. Just to make things interesting, Max Legault fed Szczechura the puck on a 2-on-1 break and the Amerks were up 6-0 on that shorty. The Amerks carried their commanding six goal lead into the third period.
Unsurprising to no one, Binghamton’s backup goaltender, Mike McKenna started the third period. Surprising to some, Robin Lehner never reappeared on the bench. I suppose it’s easier to hang your head in shame when there isn’t anyone else around? I dunno. Bingo netted the only goal of the 3rd, with Downing ending David Leggio’s shutout bid at 14:59. The Amerks won the game easily, 6-1, and take two more points into their chase for the playoffs.
Game notes: With his goal in this game, Rochester native Derek Whitmore moves within three goals of his personal best. I don’t know how the big deals figure “on pace” stuff, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, barring any missed games or injuries, it’s likely that he’ll surpass his season-high before the Amerks last game on April 14 at Lake Erie … The ref in this game was Terry Koharski, who is quite well known in this barn and, uh, less than loved. Completely against his usual ways, he only called seven penalties. Rochester was 0-for-2 on the PP, and Binghamton was 0-for-1 … Mark Voakes garnered first star rights, with his three assists. Maxime Legault was second, with one goal and one assist, and Travis Turnbull was third, with a goal and two assists … Binghamton ended the game with 18 SOG (3-5-10) to Rochester’s 27 (10-13-4) … and, although he’s on recall to parent-club Buffalo right now, it’s worth noting that Marcus Foligno (as I’m sure you all know) scored his first NHL goal against the Ottawa Senators, who lost to Buffalo in the skills competition. When the Amerks announced Foligno’s goal, the crowd went crazy, as though if we screamed and cheered loud enough, he might be able to hear us … with this victory over Bingo, Rochester secured a six-game winning streak and are now 8-3-0-0 in their last 11. The way that the AHL schedule has gone for Rochester this season, seven of their final games have Rochester facing last-place teams in the Eastern Conference. While this is odd (welcome to the AHL), it may bode well for the Amerks in a time of the season were points are so crucial. The Amerks actually don’t face a Western team until Toronto comes to the War Memorial on March 30 and 31 … It needs to also be noted that Captain Amerk, Colin Stuart, called a players-only meeting following the spanking from Hamilton on February 19. Since then, the Amerks are 7-1. Whatever Stuart said clearly had an impact on these guys, as they have been performing CONSISTENTLY like the team we all know they can be. I think that the coaching staff (I’m looking at all 2983482 of you) needs a shout, as well, for making this team work, even when we’ve been plagued by their own injuries, the injuries of their parent club, and the general “feeding” that AHL clubs serve to the NHL.
The Amerks will have the next several days for practice and rest before facing the Syracuse Crunch on Friday, March 16th. In a special edition of “I will be at that game,” my family and I will be venturing into Syracuse for the game, and I will have a full report following it. KNOCK ON WOOD, I’m 2-0 on the road with the Amerks this season. They will then meet Binghamton again, in Binghamton, on March 17th. The Amerks, who have not faired as well away from the friendly confines of their downtown Rochester barn, will return for a Wednesday night game on March 21 against the Crunch. See you at the game!