SENS PUT ONE OVER ON PENS, 6-4
BINGHAMTON, NY – Martin Gerber arrived in Binghamton on Friday morning for a two-week conditioning stint. He may have crammed a full 14 days workload into his first game with the AHL Senators.
Gerber faced 47 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton shots, and came away with a 6-4 win on Friday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The loss snapped the Penguins point streak at three games, and saw the team’s record fall to 24-14-1-2 on the year. Binghamton (22-12-3-3) won for the third straight game, and pulled to within one point of the Pens in the East Division standings.
The 47 shots were the second-highest total on the season for the Penguins, and the most in a road contest. But it was a matter of quality versus quantity when it came to scoring chances, according to head coach Dan Bylsma.
“The quality of the chances we did give them were the deciding factor in the game,” said Bylsma, whose team gave five man advantages to the top scoring power play unit in the league. “I think we had more scoring chances, but five-on-three is a good scoring chance…giving them a breakaway when our D is barely getting on the ice is a pretty good scoring chance.”
After falling behind on a Peter Regin goal late in the first period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallied for a pair of goals just 63 seconds apart in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Jeff Taffe notched his first shorthanded tally in two-and-a-half seasons at 5:55, picking the corner over Gerber’s left shoulder on a breakaway, and Luca Caputi followed up with a one-handed rebound which he dragged over the goal line one minute later.
Tim Wallace looked poised to give the visitors a two-goal cushion with 6:36 to play in the period, but Gerber made a dazzling glove save, going the other way and reaching back to rob Wallace’s point shot.
The tide turned from there, as Ilya Zubov poked home his 11th of the season from tight range at 14:30 to tie the score at 3-3. Forty seconds later, Connor James was whistled for an uncharacteristic double minor for spearing, and Ben Lovejoy followed James to the penalty box 37 seconds later for a hooking call, giving the Sens a five-on-three advantage for 1:24. Regin made it count, scoring one minute into the first infraction to give Binghamton the 4-3 lead, only to see Tommy Goebel even the score once more late in the frame.
The teams continued to play a see-saw game in the third, as Josh Hennessy scored on a two-on-one eight minutes in, before Ryan Stone picked the far corner on Gerber after Jeff Taffe stole a clearing attempt at 10:34.
But Shawn Weller tipped home his second of the year with under four minutes to play, and Denis Hamel found the empty net as time wound down to finish off the scoring.
“They got the tip in goal, the winning goal was going three feet wide,” said Bylsma. “They went to the net and earned some goals, and they earned the power plays by drawing penalties.”
John Curry stopped 25 of 30 shots in the loss for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Penguins continue their weekend road swing Saturday night in Albany.