BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – It looked like special teams would decide Friday’s game between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators.
After all, both teams combined for three power play tallies, Binghamton added a shorthanded score and four of the six goals on the night came during the man advantage.
But in the end, the special teams didn’t add up to a win for either team, but it did play a large part behind Binghamton’s 4-3 shootout victory.
It took a shootout to hand the Penguins their first loss of the season, 4-3. The Penguins strong third period play all season continued, resulting in two goals to tie things up and they still managed a point on the night to remain undefeated in regulation play with a 6-0-0-1 record.
“It’s tough. We’re happy with how we came back,” said Adam Payerl, who notched the game-tying goal. “But we didn’t have the best start and we didn’t get the result we wanted tonight.”
Early on, however, it looked like the Penguins would be lucky to manage a tie at the end of regulation. The Senators entered the game with the AHL’s top power play and a 4-for-4 streak with the man advantage, and in an 18-second span of the first period, they extended their power play streak to six.
With Brendan Mikkelson going to the box at 12:36 followed by Harry Zolnierczyk five seconds later for goaltender interference gave Binghamton a two-man advantage for just under two minutes.
Binghamton struck a minute into the power play on a goal by Stephane Da Costa, followed by another tally from Matt Puempel during the second half of the power play to give the Senators a 2-0 lead in an 18 second span.
“We knew they were deadly on the power play. Our biggest thing was to stay out of the box,” Zolnierczyk said. “I put ourselves in that five-on-three position, whether I thought it was penalty or not. For a team like that to be on a five-on-three for two minutes, there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to get two.”
The Penguins drew within one with a power play goal of their own early in the second period when Brian Gibbons set up Tom Kuhnhackl in front to make it 2-1.
Midway through the period the Penguins had a chance to tie it up and then some when Binghamton’s Mike Sdao cross-checked Bobby Farnham in the back of the head and earned a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
But it was the Binghamton penalty kill that took advantage of the special teams situation when Cole Schneider picked off a Brian Dumoulin pass, skated in alone on Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and slid the puck through the five-hole for a 3-1 lead.
Thirteen seconds later the Penguins appeared to score on the end of the power play when Paul Thompson connected from the corner of the net, but the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference.
Zolnierczyk said it may have been a Binghamton player that was in Lawson’s way, but he added there were calls that could’ve been made against both teams all night.
The Penguins entered the game outscoring opponents 15-4 in the third period, and their good fortune continued. Zolnierczyk capitalized on a Nathan Lawson turnover behind the net followed by Payerl’s second attempt goal at 5:45 to even things up 3-3.
“Over the course of the game we tried to wear down their D,” Payerl said. “By the third period we just wanted to get pucks deep and it paid off. It was nice to come back in the third.”
The Penguins also had 1:34 of a two-man advantage later in the period but couldn’t connect. After that, both goalies took over.
Binghamton 4, Penguins 3, SO
Scoring – BNG, Stephane Da Costa 1 (Wideman, Hoffman) power play 13:44. 2. BNG, Matt Puempel 2 (Ceci, Eckford) power play 14:02. Penalties – BNG, Borowiecki (tripping) 7:21; WBS, Harrington (roughing) 12:36; WBS, Mikkelson (cross-checking) 12:36; BNG, Robinson (roughing) 12:36; WBS, Zolnierczyk (goaltender interference) 12:55; WBS, Farnham (roughing) 17:35; BNG, Kramer (roughing) 17:35.
Scoring – 3. WBS, Tom Kuhnhackl 4 (Gibbons, Mikkelson) power play 1:50. 4. BNG, Cole Schneider 3 unassisted shorthanded 15:24. Penalties – BNG, Sdao (roughing) 1:07; BNG, Hamilton (delay of game – faceoff violation) 1:12; BNG, Sdao (cross-checking – major, game misconduct) 11:26; WBS, Kuhnhackl (hooking) 11:31.
Scoring – 5. WBS, Harry Zolnierczyk 4 (Gibbons) 1:53. 6. WBS, Adam Payerl 2 (Drazenovic) 5:45. Penalties – BNG, Hamilton (tripping) 11:20; BNG, Wideman (delay of game) 11:47; WBS, Sill (interference) 17:23.
Scoring – None. Penalties – None.
BNG - Da Costa -G; Schneider - NG; Hoffman - NG; Puempel - G
WBS - Kuhnhackl - NG; Thompson - NG; Drazenovic - NG; Ebbett - NG
Shots on goal
Penguins – 7-12-15-2-36
Binghamton – 8-5-7-1-21
Penguins – 1 of 7
Binghamton – 2 of 3
Penguins – Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers 5-0-1 (18 saves – 21 shots)
Binghamton – Nathan Lawson 4-1-0 (33-36)
Penguins – G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, D Philip Samuelsson, D Simon Despres, LW Dominik Uher, C Nick Drazenovic, RW Paul Thompson
Binghamton – G Nathan Lawson, D Mark Borowiecki, D Cody Ceci, LW Mike Hoffman, C Jim O’Brien, RW Buddy Robinson
1. BNG, Stephane Da Costa (goal, shootout goal) 2. BNG, Cole Schneider (goal) 3. WBS, Tom Kuhnhackl (goal)
Referee – Geoff Miller. Linesmen – Brian Oliver, Jud Ritter
Attendance – 2,860