BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Jason Akeson’s hat trick and ten different players recording at least a point helped the Binghamton Senators to a 6-4 home win over the visiting Syracuse Crunch in front of over 4,100 fans at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Sunday night.
Casey Bailey broke the scoreless game six minutes in with a wrist shot off a cross-ice pass from Chris Carlisle. Bailey launched a shot from above the right hash, which caught the right pipe on its way in to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. Assists on Bailey’s 17th of the year were credited to Carlisle and Kyle Flanagan.
Mike Blunden cashed in on a Binghamton power play 10:59 into the game to give the B-Sens a two-goal lead. Phil Varone slid a pass to Blunden who fired a one-timer through the legs of Syracuse goaltender Mike McKenna for his 13th of the year from Varone and Bailey.
Moments later, the Crunch responded with a goal by Daniel Walcott on a wrist shot from the left side that beat Matt O’Connor stick side to cut the Crunch deficit in half, 2-1. Despite facing an abundance of shots on goal in the final minutes of the first period, the Senators held the lead on the scoreboard into the intermission.
Less than seven minutes into the second period, Ben Harpur pushed the puck to a wide-open Akeson, who took his time, deked, and fired a shot from the right side of the slot through the legs of McKenna to extend the lead back to two. The goal was Akeson’s first of the night and 11th of the year with helpers from Varone and Francis Perron 6:43 into the middle frame.
After a series of unsuccessful power play opportunities on both sides, Syracuse winger Cory Conacher let a slap shot fly from the right point which deflected off the pads of O’Connor to Matthew Peca who converted off the rebound to cut the B-Sens’ lead to 3-2. The goal was Peca’s eighth of the year and came at 14:54 of the second.
In the closing minute of the second period, Bailey answered right back with his second goal of the game and 18th on the season. The AHL All-Star let a rocket go from the left point to give the B-Sens a 4-2 lead with 53 seconds left in the period. After forty minutes, Binghamton led Syracuse 4-2, but, the Crunch led in shots, 26-19.
The game picked up after the Crunch pulled its goaltender for the extra skater with over four minutes left in regulation. Akeson scored his second of the night into the empty net and gave Binghamton a 5-2 lead with 3:37 left in the game. Varone and Ben Harpur recorded assists on the goal.
Remarkably, Syracuse scored two goals in 14 seconds to pull within one. Newly signed John Kurtz scored his first of the year at 18:04 to decrease Binghamton’s lead to two goals. Mike Halmo and Hanri Ikonen had the assists. Halmo then lifted the puck over the right shoulder of O’Connor at 18:18 to make it a one-goal game, 5-4.
With the net empty, again for Syracuse, Akeson put in his third of the night and 13th of the year for the hat trick and a 6-4 advantage, which held up as the final. O’Connor stopped 38 in the win and McKenna denied 29 in the loss.
The B-Sens return home this weekend with a Friday matchup against the Albany Devils followed by a Saturday meeting with the Hershey Bears. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and then Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until the second intermission by calling (607) 722-7367 or visiting the B-Sens Executive Office on the third floor of the Arena. Fans can tune in on U.S. Country 96.9 FM, 680 AM, iHeartRadio’s website and mobile app, and AHL Live.
For more information on tickets, including pricing and location, visit www.binghamtonsenators.com or call the Senators front office at 607-722-SENS (7367).
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