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Playoff Berth Clinched With 2-2 Tie
Sens to face Norfolk or Hershey in best-of-3

Denis Hamel and Charlie Stephens each picked up a goal and assist as the Binghamton Senators played to a 2-2 tie Saturday night against the Rochester Americans in front of the 18th sellout crowd of the season, 4,717, at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

The tie clinched a playoff berth for the Senators, who now hold down fourth place in the East Division with 80 points.  Norfolk (79 points) dropped to fifth place following a 3-1 loss at Hershey (78 points), which pulled the Bears to within one win of making the playoffs and hosting a qualifying round series against Binghamton.

With the regular season complete for Binghamton and Norfolk, the Bears close the season by hosting the East Division champion Philadelphia Phantoms tomorrow at 5 p.m.  A Bears win would clinch fourth place, based on the second tiebreaker, head-to-head points (HER 5 - BNG 4) and force the Senators to travel to Hershey for the best-of 3 series at Giant Center.  A tie or an overtime loss by the Bears would see them finish with 79 points with Norfolk, but the Admirals would claim fifth place based on the first tiebreaker, regular season wins (NOR 35 – HER 33).  That would mean Norfolk would return to Binghamton to begin the best-of-3 qualifying series at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Wednesday night.

Saturday night, Hamel got the Sens going by breaking a personal seven-game goalless streak and the team’s 169:24 scoreless span on home ice when he jammed a rebound under Ryan Miller (28 saves) 4:20 into the contest.

The Amerks, who clinched third place in the North Division with the tie, knotted the score at 1-1 when Jason Pominville rifled home a loose puck on the glove hand side of Ray Emery (22 saves) at 8:38 of the first period.

Binghamton gained its final lead of the night midway through the middle period when Chris Kelly’s centering pass to the deep slot was redirected over the left shoulder of Miller at 10:22 for a 2-1 advantage.

The goal was the 15th with the Sens since being acquired in the Dennis Bonvie trade and was his 20th overall this year.

But the Amerks would battle back and with time winding down in the second period, it was Derek Roy cashing in on his own rebound for the equalizer with just 29 seconds remaining on the clock.

Binghamton oustshot Rochester 30-24 while going 0x2 on the power play on the night.

The Sens penalty kill extended its current string to 19 consecutive kills by going 3x3, including a full two-minute disadvantage in the overtime period after Chris Kelly was sent off for high sticking just 40 seconds into the sudden death period.

Binghamton finished the regular season with a record of 34-34-9-3 and played before 18 sellouts over the course of the season, tying a Binghamton AHL record set by the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers.

Check back tomorrow night for complete details on the upcoming qualifying series against either the Hershey Bears or the Norfolk Admirals following the completion of the Hershey/Philadelphia game.




[View Box Score]

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