The Rochester Americans and Binghamton Senators met for the second time in as many nights tonight at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, where the B-Sens scored four power-play goals to defeat the Amerks 7-3 in the back-end of a home-and-home series between the intrastate rivals. With the loss, the Amerks fall to 5-3-2-1 on the season, but still remain in a first-place tie atop the American Hockey League’s North Division standings.
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Tim Schaller, Luke Adam and captain Matt Ellis all scored for the Amerks, while Kevin Sundher provided a pair of assists and Patrick Kaleta recorded his first point of the season with an assist. Nathan Lieuwen earned the start goal in and made 37 saves on 44 shots for Rochester, which saw its seven-game point streak snapped in the loss.
Binghamton was led offensively by a five-point night (2+3) from Stephane Da Costa and leading point-getter Mike Hoffman contributed three points with a goal and two assists. Chris Wideman (1+1), Cody Ceci (0+2), Mark Stone (0+2) and Cole Schneider (0+2) also chipped in two points apiece as Nathan Lawson backstopped the B-Sens to their fifth win in their last seven games thanks in part to his 31-save effort.
The AHL’s best power-play was tested in the early stages of the game after Kaleta was the victim of a high-stick from Binghamton forward Corey Cowick just 3:46 in. The Amerks were able to muster several quality shots on net during their four-minute power-play, but it was Jean-Gabriel Pageau who had the game’s first scoring chance. Pageau intercepted a pass just outside the Rochester blueline and raced away on a shorthanded breakaway. Pageau deked to his right before pulling to his back-hand, but Lieuwen kicked out his right pad to make the save.
Mike Sdao gave the Senators the early advantage with his first goal of the season on the power-play at 12:13 of the opening period. Da Costa stepped into a big slap-shot from the point that was steered aside by Lieuwen, but the rebound immediately caromed out to the left face-off circle. Sdao, having just moved off his post in the high slot, capitalized on the opportunity with a wrist shot to the upper left corner to put the hosts on top 1-0. Hoffman also earned his first of two assists on the night.
The Amerks ran into penalty trouble early in the second period as consecutive penalties to Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Brayden McNabb allowed the Senators to convert on the ensuing two-man advantage. Wideman found Da Costa wide open in the slot and he handcuffed the Rochester netminder with a slap-shot over Lieuwen’s glove, putting Binghamton up by a pair with his second point of the night.
Another power-play goal for the Sens, this time scored by Wideman, gave Binghamton a three-goal cushion midway through the period. Stationed along the right half-wall, Hoffman sent the puck up to Wideman, who took two strides off the blueline before firing a low shot through traffic past a screened Lieuwen for his second of the season.
Lawson’s shutout bid finally came to an end just 2:01 later with Schaller scoring his first professional goal to make it a 3-1 game. Sundher gained the Binghamton zone along the right wing boards and made a nifty centering feed to a streaking Schaller. The rookie forward took the pass in stride, slipped by one last defender and beat Lawson with a subtle back-hand under his left arm to cut Binghamton’s lead to two. Kaleta, playing in just his second game this season with the Amerks, also drew an assist on the goal, marking his first point as an Amerk since Dec. 28, 2007.
Adam brought the Amerks within a goal just 1:30 into the final frame thanks to his team-leading ninth goal of the season with assists from Phil Varone and McNabb. Adam took Varone’s pass off the right wing boards and weaved his way through the Binghamton defense before snapping a shot inside the far post.
Binghamton, however, quickly put the game out of reach with four straight unanswered goals, beginning with Darren Kramer’s second of the season just 46 seconds later. Lieuwen denied Stone’s point-blank shot, but eventually lost sight of the puck in the net-front scramble that followed, allowing Kramer to knock it over the goal-line.
The onslaught continued for the Senators with Da Costa adding his second of the game when he finished off a give-and-go with Schneider before Hoffman became the beneficiary of a lucky bounce after his attempted pass through the low slot ricocheted off the skate of Gauthier-Leduc and into the back of net to put Binghamton up 6-2 at 10:01 of the third period.
The Senators took their largest lead of the night exactly four minutes later as Matt Puempel converted Ceci’s rebound for another Binghamton power-play tally.
The Amerks would retaliate with a late man-advantage goal of their own from Ellis with 48 seconds left in regulation, bringing the score to 7-3.
The Amerks begin a busy stretch of four games in six nights when they host the North Division rival Lake Erie Monsters on Monday, Nov. 11 at The Blue Cross Arena. The special 3:05 p.m. Veterans Day matinee will be the first of six meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 90.5 WBER. The contest will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel 26.