BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — After Saturday's season opener against the Binghamton Senators, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Trevor Smith experienced something he hadn't been a part of since early February.
Losing a regular season game.
Smith, who spent last season with the Norfolk Admirals – winners of 28 straight regular season games, scored the lone goal for the Penguins in a 2-1 loss that was marked by the game-tying goal being waved off with less than two minutes of play.
Down 2-1, head coach John Hynes pulled goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. With the extra attacker, the Penguins gained control in the Binghamton end, leading to an Alex Grant blast from the point that got through traffic in front and found the back of the net.
For a few seconds, it appeared the Penguins tied the game at 2, but referee Dave Lewis waved off the goal after Eric Tangradi made contact with goaltender Robin Lehner in the crease.
When the dust settled, the Penguins were dealt a 2-1 loss, dropping their second straight season opener.
"It was a late wave off," Hynes said. "The referee made the call. It is what it is."
Grant said it appeared Binghamton players collided with Tangradi, forcing him into Lehner.
"It's disappointing to lose like that," Grant said. "We were working very hard and wanted a big third to seal it. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way."
The Penguins controlled the first two periods and the first half of the third. Smith broke the scoreless stalemate late in the second period when he stole the puck from Binghamton's Derek Grant at the blueline and skated into the zone. As Smith entered the top of the right faceoff circle, Senators' defensemen Andre Benoit fell down, giving him a clear lane to the net. Smith ripped a wrist shot that beat Lehner for the 1-0 lead.
After playing solid defensively for the first two periods, the Penguins gave the Senators some extra long chances in the offensive zone and paid the price, with goals from Jakob Silvferberg and Hugh Jessiman to make it 2-1 with half a period remaining.
The goals came just three minutes apart and were one of the few hiccups of the night for a Penguins team that produced a solid effort.
Hynes said a penalty to Brian Strait in the first minute of the third period gave the Senators momentum that eventually led to the goals.
"That gives any team a little bit of life and momentum," he said. "Overall, in the 20 minutes (of the third period) I liked 12 of them."
Smith said despite the good start by the Penguins, they failed to capitalize on a few key power plays and let Binghamton hang around to win it.
"In the third period, we got away a little bit from buying in together. They made us pay," Smith said. "Any game, any team you play, losing's no fun. Losing sucks."
• With a week before playing again, the Penguins will have plenty of practice time before Friday's road game against Springfield, followed by Saturday's home opener against Bridgeport.
• D Dylan Reese, D Carl Sneep, C Jayson Megna (injury), D Robert Bortuzzo (injury), C Denver Manderson (injury), LW Steve MacIntyre and RW Keven Veilleux were scratched for the Penguins.
First Period—Scoring – None. Penalties – BNG, Stone (hit to the head) :46; WBS, Dumoulin (holding) 2:38; BNG, Petersson (cross-checking) 5:00; WBS, Strait (slashing) 11:46; WBS, Dumoulin (delay of game) 15:40.
Second Period—Scoring – 1. Trevor Smith 1 (unassisted) 13:08. Penalties – WBS, Holzapfel (slashing) 6:27; WBS, Tangradi (fighting) 13:39; BNG, Borowiecki (fighting) 13:39; BNG, bench-served by Downing (too many men) 16:40.
Third Period—Scoring – 2. BNG, Jakob Silvfverberg 1 (Cowen, Dziurzynski) 4:34. 3. BNG, Hugh Jessiman 1 (Hoffman) 7:31. Penalties – WBS, Strait (kneeing) :19; WBS, Payerl (fighting) 6:16; BNG, Fredrik Claesson (fighting) 6:16; WBS, Ferriero (hooking) 9:12.
Shots on goal —Penguins – 17-9—10-36 ; Binghamton – 9-8-8-25
Power-play Opportunities —Penguins – 0 of 3; Binghamton – 0 of 6
Goaltenders—Penguins – Jeff Zatkiff 0-1-0 (23 saves – 25 shots) Binghamton – Robin Lehner 1-0-0 (35-36)
Starters —Penguins – G Jeff Zatkoff, D Philip Samuelsson, D Brian Strait, LW Eric Tangradi, C Warren Peters, RW Philippe Dupuis Binghamton – G Robin Lehner, D Jared Cowen, D Andre Benoit, LW David Dziurzynksi, C Derek Grant, RW Mark Stone
1. BNG, Robin Lehner (35 saves) 2. Jacok Silvferberg (goal) 3. BNG, Hugh Jessiman (goal)
Referee – Dave Lewis. Linesmen – John Everett, Jim Harper
Attendance – 3,838