BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The last three times the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins played in Binghamton, it didn’t take the Senators long to dispose of their opponent.
Friday’s Game 1 of their playoff matchup took a bit longer, and with a different result.
After a pair of late goals were waved off — one in the third period by the Penguins and another in overtime from Binghamton, Anton Zlobin’s wrister at 8:40 of the extra frame gave the Penguins a 3-2 win.
After losing all four games in Binghamton during the regular season, Friday’s win gave the Penguins confidence that they can play their game in the Senators’ building.
“We figured out our mistakes. Now you can see we can handle it,” Zlobin said.
His goal came after a Binghamton tally by Shane Prince was waved off two minutes into overtime when it was ruled the puck was kicked in. Video replay proved inconclusive, so the call stood and play resumed.
After that, the Penguins collected themselves and Zlobin found the puck on his stick deep in the Senators’ zone. With Chuck Kobasew pinching a Binghamton defenseman into the corner, Zlobin skated unimpeded into the slot and ripped a wrister past Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond for the win.
“Chuck did a good job and I had open space in the middle,” Zlobin said. “When I get that chance, I need to score, especially in big games like this.”
During regulation, Binghamton got on the board first when Cody Ceci fired a shot inside the far post to put the Penguins down 1-0 six minutes into the first period.
The Penguins weren’t getting outplayed, however. Thirty seconds after Ceci’s goal, Brendan Mikkelson’s shot during a power play struck the post.
“We liked how we played early, even though we got down 1-0,” Penguins coach John Hynes said. “It was a big thing to come in here and get that start.”
Things went back and forth in the second period, starting with Harry Zolnierczyk punching in a puck laying in the crease to even things up, 1-1, at the midway point.
Binghamton regained the lead minutes later when Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s shot from the top made it through traffic for a 2-1 advantage.
The Penguins faced a critical penalty kill late in the period when Zlobin went off for boarding at 16:14. While the Penguins’ penalty kill struggled to clear the puck, Kobasew was able send a pass into the neutral zone where Andrew Ebbett caught up to the puck in the Binghamton end and placed a shot past Hammond to make it 2-2.
With less than two minutes remaining, a pair of Binghamton penalties gave the Penguins 1:51 of a two-man advantage, but they were unable to get another shot past Hammond before the end of the period.
The Senators killed off the Penguins two-man advantage, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton appeared to take the lead later in the period when Carter Rowney punched in a rebound from a Mikkelson point shot.
As the Penguins celebrated their 3-2 lead, referee T.J. Luxmore waved off the goal, ruling incidental contact with Hammond. Kobasew was the closest Penguin to Hammond at the time of the play.
Later in the period Binghamton also lost a bid for a goal when a shot hit the post behind Peter Mannino. Luxmore reviewed the play on video and ruled the puck didn’t cross the line.
During overtime, after Prince’s goal was waved off the Senators continued to pressure in the offensive zone, forcing Mannino to make several key stops.
But the tide turned quickly after a neutral zone faceoff win resulted in a chance in the Binghamton end and Zlobin’s goal.
“You could see it coming,” Hynes said of Zlobin’s game-winner. “We put him where he belongs.”
• G Eric Hartzell, G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (injury), D Philip Samuelsson (injury), C Mike Carman, RW Spencer Machacek (veteran scratch), D Nick D’Agostino, D Harrison Ruopp, RW Josh Archibald, LW Conor Sheary, RW Bryan Rust and LW Scott Wilson were scratched for the Penguins.
• Game 2 is tonight in Binghamton at 7:05 p.m.
• Zlobin also registered a overtime game-winner in juniors during the finals to win the 2012 Memorial Cup.
Penguins 3, Binghamton 2 (OT)
Game 1, Eastern Conference quarterfinals
(Penguins lead series, 1-0)
Scoring – 1. BNG, Cody Ceci 1 (Mullen, Da Costa) power play 6:06. Penalties – WBS, Payerl (tripping) 5:25; BNG, Robinson (interference) 6:44; BNG, Claesson (slashing) 9:02.
Scoring – 2. WBS, Harry Zolnierczyk 1 (Dumoulin, Kostopoulos) 12:23. #. BNG, Jean-Gabriel Pageau 1 (Mullen, Prince) 14:44. WBS, Andrew Ebbett 1 (Kobasew) shorthanded 17:57. Penalties – WBS, Kobasew (slashing) 5:52; BNG, A. Grant (interference) 8:52; WBS, Zlobin (boarding) 16:14; BNG, A. Grant (hooking) 18:29; BNG, D. Grant (high-sticking) 18:38.
Scoring – None. Penalties – BNG, Mullen (slashing) 8:51; WBS, Kobasew (slashing) 15:00.
Scoring - WBS, Anton Zlobin 1 unassisted 8:40. Penalties - None.
Shots on goal
Penguins – 10-12-8-7-37; Binghamton – 10-6-10-3-29
Penguins – 0 of 6; Binghamton – 1 of 4
Penguins – Peter Mannino 1-0 (27 saves-29 shots); Binghamton – Andrew Hammond 0-1 (34-37)
Penguins – G Peter Mannino, D Brian Dumoulin, D Barry Goers, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, C Zach Sill, RW Bobby Farnham; Binghamton – G Andrew Hammond, D Mark Borowiecki, D Patrick Mullen, LW Matt Puempel, C Stephane Da Costa, RW Mark Stone
1. WBS, Anton Zlobin (game-winning overtime goal) 2. BNG, Patrick Mullen (two assists) 3. BNG, Cody Ceci (goal)
Referee – T.J. Luxmore, Keith Kaval. Linesmen – Peter Feola, Tim Kotyra
Attendance – 3,016