The Binghamton Senators spotted the Hershey Bears three early goals before mounting a comeback and defeating their East Division rivals in a shootout with a 6-5 final on Wednesday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
AHL leading scorer Keith Aucoin opened things up for Hershey when he collected a loose puck off the end wall and snapped a wrist shot five hole from the right circle past Gerber for an early 1-0 lead. The Bears added to their lead when Aucoin fired a shot from the point through traffic and off Gerber’s pads. A screening Andrew Gordon gathered the rebound and flipped the puck backwards and into the net. Kyle Wilson extended the Bears lead to three goals just 14 seconds later with a wrist shot that found its way underneath the crossbar.
The B-Sens made a change in net with Jeff Glass replacing Martin Gerber and Binghamton followed with a power-play tally off the stick of Mattias Karlsson. After dumping the puck into the zone Greg Mauldin passed along the end wall to Ilya Zubov, who found Karlsson in the high slot. Karlsson fired a shot top shelf past netminder Daren Machesney.
Hershey struck back off a two-on-one rush with Aucoin finding former B-Sen Alexandre Giroux for a tap in goal to make it a 4-1 game at 17:40 of the opening period.
The B-Sens responded with two goals in 11 seconds to close out the first stanza. Denis Hamel took a feed from Peter Regin in back of the cage and beat Machesney to the far post for his 20th marker of the season. After the ensuing faceoff, Josh Hennessy took a pass from Zack Smith and beat the Bears defensemen into the zone and to the front of the crease where he slipped the puck five hole to make it a 4-3 contest.
Following the high-flying first period both teams buckled down defensively and held each other off the scoreboard on just 13 total shots.
Regin made it a 4-4 contest five minutes into the final period with his 10th tally of the season. Regin crashed the net and tapped home a loose puck following a Karlsson shot from the high slot.
Bears right-winger Graham Mink put the Bears ahead with a power-play tally, his fourth point (1+3) of the night, less than two minutes after Regin’s game-tying goal. Mink collected a rebound at the front of the crease off a Kyle Wilson shot and put it over the blocker of Jeff Glass.
The B-Sens took advantage of a late Hershey tripping penalty with a goal from Zack Smith. Josh Hennessy skated through defenders and up the slot, passing the puck to Ilya Zubov in the deep right corner. Zubov fed a pass through the crease to a waiting Smith who buried the goal to force overtime.
After a scoreless overtime period, the B-Sens converted on three of four shootout attempts while Jeff Glass turned away each Hershey attempt to secure the extra point.
Six Binghamton players finished the night with two points. Mattias Karlsson extended his assist streak (1+11) to nine games, a new franchise record. Denis Hamel extended his point streak to eight games (6+3), while Peter Regin extended his assist streak to six games (1+8).
The B-Sens (29-20-5-3, 66 pts.) and Bears (37-17-0-5, 79 pts.) face off again on Friday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, with a 7:05 p.m. start time. Good seats remain for this contest. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling ticket master at 722-7272, or at the Arena box office inside the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.