Recap: Binghamton Senators @ Amerks, 03.23.12
“Time’s wastin’ and I’m changin’ – not to mention, gettin’ impatient.” (The Classix, Young & Reckless (Hockey Version))
Going into the eighth and final match up with the Binghamton Senators, the Amerks were 6-1-0, having scored 23 goals to Bingo’s 13 and accumulated 109 PIM to Bingo’s 127. Good news to Amerks fans, Binghamton was planning to start Robin Lehner who carried an 0-4-0 record against Rochester, with 4.20 GAA and .866 SV%. Even better news to Amerks fans, David Leggio would get the start for Rochester (his 11th straight), with a 5-0-0 record against Bing, a 1.79 GAA, and a .945 SV%. The stats and season history were in the Amerks favor, and they, in turn, played like a team that didn’t feel they needed to try for these two much-needed points.
There are off nights in hockey, of that we’re certain. There are nights when the defensemen are consistently out of place. There are nights when the forwards passes don’t connect. If you’re lucky, these things don’t all happen in the same game. If you’re the Rochester Americans, these things all happened in Friday night’s contest against the Binghamton Senators. Twenty-nine seconds into the game, Nick Crawford found himself in the penalty box for a high sticking call. This would be an omen – not of the officiating (which wasn’t bad. It was strange, but not bad), but of the rough game that would unfold before us. Just as the penalty was getting ready to expire, Bing’s Dziurzynski lifted the puck over Leggio to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Hoffman did the same thing, and the Sens lead 2-0. The Amerks didn’t put one past Lehner until 13:16, when Mark Voakes slid a pass to Max Legault, and the lead was cut in half. This was not for lack of trying on the Amerks part, though. Lehner was doing some acrobatics down in the Binghamton end and the pucks just weren’t getting past him. At 18:59, Captain Colin Stuart tied the game on what might be the weirdest goal I’ve seen. To me, it did not look like the puck actually went into the net to tally the tying, shorthanded goal. However, I was assured by a great many twitterers that it did, indeed, cross the line and then squirt out the backside of the net. Either way, a goal was counted and the Amerks and Sens went into the first intermission tied at two-all.
The second period started out a lot quieter than the first, which allowed those I was sitting with and I to laugh at the (silly) girl next to us who insisted on putting her beer on the edge of the boards, and then getting pissed off when it fell after a player collision right in front of her. Even better than that, though, was Varone assisting on the Amerks third goal. Varone took a holding penalty at 14:16 in the second. As the penalty expired, he exited the box and intercepted a loose puck, and charged in on Lehner on the breakaway. He was unable to put it past Lehner, but Captain Stuart was right behind him, and buried the rebound. It was an exciting turn in an otherwise dull period, and gave the Amerks a leg up on the B-Sens for the first time all game. The game would go to intermission tied at three, however, as the Sens scored with 3.9 seconds left in the period.
The third period was unable to produce anything for either club, except for a flurry of chances up close for Bing as the clock wound down, with Leggio putting up some HUGE saves. The teams took to the extra period, which didn’t last long, as Binghamton’s Gryba flipped one up over Leggio’s shoulder, thirty-four seconds into the extra frame. To say that this wasn’t Rochester’s best game might be an understatement. Again, their play did not look like that of a team that is desperately trying to make the playoffs, and they’re really going to need to step it up if they want their season to extend past April 15.
Game notes: Rochester finished the night with 28 SOG (10-10-7-1) to Binghamton’s 37 (6-14-16-1). Binghamton was 1-for-5 on the power play, while Rochester was 0-for-3. However, Rochester did manage the short-handed tally on Colin Stuart’s first period goal, so that was a nice change of pace … With the assist in this contest, Phil Varone – who was recently signed to a three year deal – extended his points streak to 17 points (1+16) in his last 15 games. He continues to be the Amerks leading producer with 45 points (8+37), and is 4th in the AHL in scoring. He is also the only Amerk who has played every game in the red, white, and blue this season … Captain Colin Stuart also increased his points-earning streak, banking 9 points (3+6) in his last nine games … Luke Adam, who had another night of looking like a lost puppy on the ice, has actually put up nine point (2+7) in his sixteen games with the Amerks.
Rochester moves on to face Syracuse again Saturday night in Syracuse (Ed. note: That already happened – keep an eye out for Steppy’s recap), and then move on to play at Albany on March 28. This will be the seventh meeting between Rochester and Syracuse, and the third time in eight days. It will be the final time that Rochester and Albany face off this season, with Rochester taking a 2-1 lead in the season series. Rochester will return home on March 30 and 31 for back-to-back home games against North Division rival Toronto Marlies. I’m working to find a way to leave the country before then, as Rochester has had better luck beating the Marlies when I’m not on US soil. I’ll keep you up to date via twitter (@StephanieZD) and – with only four Amerks home games left – I’ll see you at the game!