Recap: Binghamton Senators @ Amerks, 03.09.12
“Beat it, beat it – no one wants to be defeated!” (Michael Jackson, Beat It)
Someone bring me a dead horse so I can continue to beat it. If the Amerks played like this all season, they would be damn-near unstoppable.
The Amerks welcomed the defending Calder Cup Champion Binghamton Senators to the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial Friday night, in the first game of back-to-back east-west match ups. Oh, how far the B-Sens have fallen since taking home the Calder Cup last season.The Sens finished the 2010-11 season with a 42-30-3-5 record and 92 points in 80 games, putting them 7th in the East and propelling them to the Cup finals. This season, to say that the playoffs are a far cry for the Sens is not a stretch, as they currently sit dead-last in the AHL, with a 24-33-2-2 record and 52 points. This is not to say that the Sens didn’t try to put up a fight in front of 6-3, 220lb goaltender Robin Lehner, but the Amerks were just too much for them.
After an relatively uneventful first period (in which Travis Turnbull just got the snot beat out of him behind the Sens net, and David Leggio got plowed so hard that the Amerks got a penalty – no, really), the Amerks opened up scoring at 4:19 of the second, when Paul Szczechura buried an unassisted goal. Not long after that, Evan Rankin was denied on a gorgeous play in which he schooled every Binghamton player on the ice with some NHL12 moves in front of the net. Lucky for Binghamton, Lehner was on point and able to stop the shot. The Sens tied the game at one, when Craig Schira’s shot made its way over Leggio’s shoulder. The tie didn’t last for long, as Luke Adam scored what might be the softest goal I’ve ever seen in my life off of a pass from Matt MacKenzie. It’s doesn’t matter how they look, though, as long as they make it over the line, and Matt MacKenzie got the assist. The Amerks took a 2-1 lead into the third period, although the Sens lead nearly the whole game in SOG.
While the Amerks kept the pressure on in the third period, it was a relatively uneventful one, although all sorts of hugs and pleasantries were exchanged between players. At 11:50 of the third, Derek Whitmore was in the right place to put his 24th goal of the season in the net, assisted by Nick Crawford and Turnbull. Towards the end of the period, Joe Finley was rewarded with a 2-minute slashing penalty after chirping with pretty much every single Binghamton player on the ice, setting up what will hopefully be both an easy and physical game on Saturday night.
Game notes: Rochester had 29 SOG (7-10-12) to Binghamton’s 36 (9-13-14) … David Leggio was the second star of the game, with Paul Szczechura taking third and none other than Luke Adam taking the first star (and no penalties) … Rochester was 0/3 on the power play with the B-Sens going 0/2 … Evan Rankin is one point shy of 200 career professional points and four assists shy of 100 professional assists. He’ll continue to look to hit those milestones against Binghamton Saturday … The Amerks have now won five of their last six, are 7-3-0-0 in their last ten, and are now 19-9-2-1 in their home barn.
The Amerks will face the B-Sens again Saturday 3/10, looking for two more points against their Eastern foes. (Ed. note: Yeah, that already happened. Sorry about the late post) With the win against Bingo Friday, the Amerks moved into the 8th and final playoff spot in the West, and are sitting one point behind seventh-place San Antonio. They’re also a mere three points out of fourth place in the West. The race is tight in the West, and will continue to be with every game counting. After some of the physicality and scrumming going on during Friday night’s game, I’m excited to see what the next meeting between these teams will bring. See you at the game!