WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Something loomed over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as they went into the third period of Wednesday’s game against the Binghamton Senators with a 3-2 lead.
The Penguins had five power plays to Binghamton’s one through the first two periods. In the end, they knew things were bound to even out.
Three consecutive Penguins penalties in the third period allowed the Senators’ power play to gain a tie and eventually an overtime win, 4-3 as they scored the game-winner on a call that carried over into the extra frame.
The loss is the fifth in a row for a Penguins team that did manage a point as it tries to cling to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After last night, the Penguins are tied with St. John’s at 62 points each and have a two-point lead over Albany for the eighth spot in the conference.
On Wednesday, the Penguins scored twice on the power play, kept up with Binghamton’s potent offense and held the lead for much of the game. Those were the bright spots.
“The point is nice, but in the long run we were playing more to how we want to play,” head coach John Hynes said. “We have to continue to build.”
After Binghamton jumped out to an early lead in the first period, the Penguins responded with a Harry Zolnierczyk one-timer from down low to finish off an inspired effort in the Senators’ end. It began when Nick Drazenovic had his pass picked off and the Senators began a rush out of their zone. Before they could escape, Tom Kostopoulos stole the puck from Michael Sdao in the slot and passed it over to Drazenovic, who found Zolnierczyk down low for the shot.
“I think we came out and played well,” Drazenovic said. “Played like we can for most of the game.”
Drazenovic gave the Penguins the lead later in the period when he ripped a one-timer past Binghamton goaltender Andrew Hammond during a power play to make it 2-1.
Carrying a 2-1 lead into the second period, the Penguins connected on the power play again thanks to a Brendan Mikkelson wrister from the point to make it 3-1.
While the goals were coming easier than they had been, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers was a wall in goal. He stopped top scorer Mike Hoffman on a breakaway in the first period and denied Shane Prince from point-blank range in the second.
The Senators did manage to get a second goal, however, when Matt Puempel blasted a one-timer to make it 3-2 heading into the third period.
And that’s when the penalties began to even out, as the Penguins were sent to the box three times. The Senators power play tied it 3-3 after Spencer Machacek was sent to the box for tripping at 4:42.
With 23 seconds left in the period, Machacek gave Binghamton their fourth power play of the night when he was called for high-sticking.
The penalty carried into the overtime period and Binghamton’s Chris Wideman placed a shot through a screen just 30 seconds in for the 4-3 win.
Machacek didn’t dispute the call or the fact that the penalties were bound to even out.
“It seems like it happens,” he said. “My stick did hit him in the helmet. I’m not known for taking too many minors and it’s a bad break. I feel bad.
“But we are taking steps and we can still be better.”
• D Brian Dumoulin (injury), C Zach Sill (injury), C Mike Carman, LW Anton Zlobin and D Harrison Ruopp were scratched for the Penguins.
Binghamton 4, Penguins 3, OT
Scoring – 1. BNG, Corey Cowick 11 (Hamilton) 2:39. 2. WBS, Harry Zolnierczyk 17 (Drazenovic, Kostopoulos) 8:43. 3. WBS, Nick Drazenovic 11 (Gibbons, Kostopoulos) power play 11:46. Penalties – BNG, Eckford (hooking) 11:14; BNG, Hoffman (unsportsmanlike conduct) 16:56.
Scoring – 4. WBS, Brendan Mikkleson 4 (Drazenovic) power play 14:33. 5. BNG, Matt Puempel 19 (Grant, Petersson) 16:11. Penalties – WBS, Payerl (slashing) 4:16; BNG, Eckford (tripping) 7:38; BNG, Wideman (slashing) 11:13; WBS, Kostopoulos (slashing) 11:13; BNG, Hoffman (slashing, unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:48.
Scoring – 6. BNG, Mark Stone 12 (Schneider, Pageau) power play 6:27. Penalties – WBS, Machacek (tripping) 4:42; WBS, Despres (high-sticking) 10:13; WBS, Machacek (high-sticking) 19:37.
Scoring – 7. BNG, Chris Wideman 7 (Hoffman, Stone) power play :30. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal
Binghamton – 14-8-8-1-31
Penguins – 10-14-8-0-32
Binghamton – 2 of 4
Penguins – 2 of 5
Binghamton – Andrew Hammond 16-10-3 (29 saves – 32 shots)
Penguins – Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers 17-14-2 (27-31)
Binghamton – D Mark Borowiecki, D Daniel New, LW Mike Hoffman, C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, RW Mark Stone
Penguins – D Philip Samuelsson, D Simon Despres, LW Bobby Farnham, C Andrew Ebbett, RW Spencer Machacek
1. BNG, Chris Wideman (game-winning goal) 2. WBS, Nick Drazenovic (goal, two assists) 3. WBS, Tom Kostopoulos (two assists)
Referee – Dave Lewis, David Banfield. Linesmen – Trent Knorr, Jud Ritter
Attendance – 3,815