After a 1-1 weekend, we welcome back Don Rieber one more time for his take on Saturday's loss. Whenever you're ready, Don!
Norfolk sinks Binghamton’s winning ship
The Binghamton Senators had many chances to earn their 10th straight victory and set a new franchise record on Saturday night at the Broome County Arena. The Norfolk Admirals spoiled the party. Kyle Palmieri scored in the first period, while Jordan Hendry and Brandon McMillian scored tallied in the second, helping the visitors skate away with a 3-1 victory.
“They’re dejected and that’s the way you want it,” said Binghamton coach Luke Richardson, of the mood in the locker room. “They’re competitive and they wanted this game. I thought we pushed right to the last second, that’s good character and we’ll build off it. We’re not gonna let this feeling linger.”
Robin Lehner was in net for Binghamton Saturday, for the first time since Nov. 24th. He and Ben Bishop have been phenomenal during this streak. Lehner certainly played well Saturday, making 32 of 35 saves, but Norfolk goaltender Frederik Andersen was lights out, stopping 39 of 40, many of them were sparklers.
“Both guys (Bishop and Lehner) have been good and they deserve to play, “said Richardson of his decision to start Lehner. Sometimes it’s tough in this league because you play a lot of weekend games and there’s a long layoff in the middle. You don’t want someone lying off that long.”
Palmieri got the scoring started 7:32 into the game, when the Admirals were buzzing around Lehner and got a couple shots on him, before Palmieri knocked home the rebound.
Binghamton has had a propensity for scoring shorthanded goals and Saturday night they did it again. Derek Grant took the puck off an Admirals stick in the corner and skated in on Andersen, putting it home, to tie the game at one, with 5:30 left in the period.
For Grant, it was his league-leading third shorthanded goal of the season and Binghamton’s eighth overall, which also tops the league.
“As a unit we’re very aggressive and we kinda catch teams off guard,” said Grant of the penalty killing. “Especially going back into their own end, teams don’t go back as hard as they would five-on-five, so you catch teams off guard and maybe the goalie’s not quite set either.”
“He’s a great young player and he works hard,” said Richardson of Grant. “He plays against the top line every night and the top center. I’m sure he’s a key player other teams talk about and he deserve the credit.”
The first period ended 1-1, with Norfolk leading 13-11 in shots. The penalty killers deserve a world of credit, not only for creating the chance on the Grant goal, but for killing off four penalties in the period. David Dziurzynski had three of them, while Mike Hoffman got one.
Binghamton had great chances against Andersen all night. Binghamton’s Stephane Da Costa had one sail high on him, missing the net, later he had Andersen down and out, but couldn’t get the puck in front of a wide open cage.
It was that kind of night all around for the Senators, who certainly did enough to win, but the bounces and chances that went their way over the last nine games, just weren’t there Saturday.
“For the most part I think the whole night was just a little bit off by everybody, and that includes even me,” B-Sens coach Luke Richardson said. “We all got a little complacent at times. We were striving to get better, push it as far as we could, enjoy it and play better as team and tonight it caught up to us and we just weren’t at our best from start to finish.”
Hendry’s goal was a tough one, because Lehner was in position and got his glove on it, but the puck had enough momentum to carry into the net. The reaction by Lehner told you he thought he was in the clear and was surprised it went in.
Norfolk’s third goal came off the stick of Brandon McMillan, on a wrap-around shot that Lehner couldn’t corral.
“Robin was good tonight, but he’s a real competitor,” said Richardson. “I’m sure he’ll wanna win that next game he’s in there and we’ll just move forward with two really good goalies, we’re lucky to have them.”
Richardson praised the goaltending not only in Saturday’s game, but also throughout the nine-game win streak.
“Goaltending got us started this year to get on a bit of a win streak and it’s pretty much carried us most of the year when we weren’t sharp or in games when we had a little bit of lack of offense,” he said. “We don’t wanna rely on it every night but we will take them and use them to their full ability.”