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Albany 3   Binghamton 2

The Albany River Rats shaded the Binghamton Senators, 3-2, Saturday night in front of 6,461 fans at Pepsi Arena in the Capital District.

The win was the first home ice win by the Rats over the Sens in six tries and marked the eleventh one-goal loss of the year for Binghamton.

Joe Hulbig beat Billy Thompson (21 saves) for his fifth of the year 4:11 into the game after Greg Crozier was denied twice on left wing drives.

Hulbig picked up a loose puck inside the right circle and snapped a wrister over the glove hand of Thompson for a 1-0 advantage.

Following a scoreless middle period, Tuomas Pihlman rifled a long range slap shot past Thomspon to stake the Rats to a 2-0 lead just 74 seconds into the third period.

Albany made it 3-0 on a misplay by Thompson while the Sens were on the power play.

Defenseman Ray Giroux dumped the puck in from center as Thompson went behind the net to stop it off.

The puck jumped off of Thompson’s stick along the end boards and as he scrambled to get back in net, he inadvertently batted the puck to the front of the net.  Ryan Murphy was there to send the airborne puck into a the half open net for what would turn out to be the game winner.

Murphy’s goal, his second of the year, came shorthanded at 6:13.

The Sens made the closing six minutes interesting, striking twice in a 3:50 span to trim the Rats lead to one.

Josh Langfeld deflected a Daniel Corso centering feed around Ari Ahonen (30 saves) with 5:02 left to get Binghamton on the board.  For Langfeld, it was his 11th of the year to tie Denis Hamel for the team lead in goal scoring while Corso and Hamel drew the assists.  It was Hamel’s tema-leading 24th point of the season.

Arpad Mihaly then found Alexandre Giroux streaking up the left wing with just over a minute remaining in regulation time.  Giroux fielded Mihaly pass and broke around the Albany defense and beat Ahonen up high to bring Binghamton to within 3-2.

Albany had several chances to salt the game away, but misfired a on several attempts at an open net with Thomson on the bench for the final 65 seconds as the Sens came up short in their bid to send the game into overtime.

Binghamton outshot Albany 32-24 and was 1x4 on the power play while killing off all five River Rat power play chances.

Binghamton completes the weekend with a late afternoon matinee in Philadelphia Sunday at 5:05 p.m.  Broadcast coverage on 680-WINR and at begins at 4:45 p.m. with the M&T; Bank Countdown to Face-Off.

The Sens return home to close out the 2003 portion of the schedule Wednesday night, New Year’s Eve, in a 6:05 p.m. battle against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Tickets are on sale for this, and all remaining regular season home games, at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Arena box office, the Sens executive offices – 3rd floor of the Arena, a the Center Ice Team Shop at Metrocenter, or by calling the Sens Hotline at 722-SENS (7367).

[View Box Score]




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