BINGHAMTON, NY – Following Friday's 3-1 loss to the Binghamton Senators – the fifth in a row for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Beau Bennett didn't hide the urgency that his team is feeling.
We need to win. First and foremost, he said. We don't care how. We need to get a win.
The Penguins have one win in their last 12 games and are now 14-15-2-1 on the season and 5-13-1 against the East Division.
Despite the loss, there was reason for hope on Friday.
The Penguins outshot the Senators 44-15 and did spend some extended periods in the offensive zone.
But for a team that has now scored five goals in its last five games, Friday's loss came down to a failure to bury those chances and a power play that went 0-for-9 and is 3-for-58 over the last 10 games.
It's a big factor in the game, said head coach John Hynes. We had opportunities, we had some looks. When you get into these tight games, (the power play) is a big difference.
But not the only one, at least on Friday.
Binghamton netminder Robin Lehner stopped 43 of the 44 shots he faced to earn his third win in four starts against the Penguins. On the season, Lehner has only allowed five goals to the Penguins for a 1.22 goals against average and a .967 save percentage.
He's tough, said Bennett, who had the only Penguin goal on the night. We had 44 shots and he just played great.
Bennett got the Penguins off to a good start when he tucked a beautiful wrist shot into the upper left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead midway through the first period.
The Senators evened it up late in the period on a redirect by Derek Grant to make it 1-1.
The Penguins almost found themselves in a deep hole in the second period, but were spared when a goal from Binghamton's Mike Hoffman was waived off thanks to a too many men on the ice infraction by the Senators 54 seconds into the period.
But Hoffman did manage to put the Penguins down by a goal when he ripped a one-timer past Jeff Zatkoff during a two-man advantage.
Binghamton added to its lead when Hugh Jessiman sent a long-distance wrister past Zatkoff in the third period to make it 3-1.
Despite outshooting Binghamton 20-5 in the final period, the Penguins just couldn't solve Lehner and finished with a single goal for the third time in the last four games.
So what's the answer as the Penguins prepare to take on the Worcester Sharks at home tonight?
It just comes to us bearing down, Bennett said. It will come. We played a lot better tonight than we have been, we had our chances, we just need to bury it.
And if they do, perhaps they can salvage something out the rest of this weekend which feature two more games.
We did a lot of things we can build off of tonight, Hynes said. There were a lot of positives. The end result wasn't there, of course, but there's a lot of hockey left this weekend and we need to work on getting four out of six points.
D Brian Strait (illness), RW Tom Kuhnhackl (injury), C Dominik Uher, C Phil Dupuis, LW Steve MacIntyre, RW Keven Veilleux and D Simon Despres were scratched for the Penguins. Hynes said Dupuis and Despres were healthy scratches.
First Period Scoring – 1. WBS, Beau Bennett 6 (Holzapfel, Bortuzzo) 8:21. 2. BNG, Derek Grant 11 (Stone, Dziurzynski) 16:30. Penalties – WBS, Tangradi (slashing) 1:14; WBS, Morrow (tripping) 4:50; BNG, Jessiman (interference) 5:51; BNG, Hoffman (roughing) 12:18. Second Period Scoring – BNG, Mike Hoffman 8 (Da Costa, Benoit) power play 11:19. Penalties – BNG, bench – served by Prince (too many men) :54; WBS, Ferriero (hooking) 9:41; WBS, Bortuzzo (high-sticking – double-minor) 10:29; BNG< Wideman (interference) 12:55; BNG, Dziurzynski (hooking) 13:32.Third Period Scoring – 4. BNG, Hugh Jessiman 7 (Cowick, Wideman) 6:04. Penalties – BNG, Eckford (interference) 1:44; BNG, Pageau (elbowing) 7:05; BNG, Borowiecki (high-sticking) 8:01; WBS, Holzapfel (slashing) 12:50; BNG, Eckford (tripping) 17:05; WBS, Tangradi (boarding, roughing, misconduct) 17:12; BNG, Cowick (roughing, misconduct) 17:12. Shots on goal Penguins – 13-11-20-44 Binghamton – 4-6-5-1 Power-play Opportunities Penguins – 0 of 9 Binghamton – 1 of 7