LAST WEEK: Binghamton won all four of their games last week and now holds a three-point lead over Philadelphia in the East Division standings as the teams enter the final week of the regular season.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6TH @ WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON (3-1 W): The Sens made the short trip south on Interstate 81 to take on the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre last Wednesday night. Sandwiched between scoreless first and third periods the teams combined for four goals in the middle session. PAT KAVANAGH got the scoring started with a short-handed goal only 11 seconds into the period. Penguins winger TOMAS SUROVY tied the game briefly before CHRIS KELLY tallied a power-play goal with COLBY ARMSTRONG in the penalty box for a high sticking minor. Late in the period JOSH LANGFELD scored short-handed to give Binghamton a 3-1 lead with the final goal of the game. RAY EMERY made 18 saves on 19 shots while MARC-ANDRE FLEURY stopped 28 of 31 in the loss. A slashing and fighting incident between BRIAN McGRATTAN and DAVID KOCI resulted in 17 penalty minutes for McGRATTAN who tied the AHL single-season penalty minute record of 522 held previously by former B-Sen DENNIS BONVIE. Binghamton was 1 for 7 on the power play while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 0 for 6.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8TH vs. ROCHESTER (5-1 W): Binghamton remained undefeated in regulation at home against Rochester (7-0-2-2) with a 5-1 victory on Friday evening. The teams exchanged goals in the first period with JOSH LANGFELD scoring short-handed for the second consecutive game. After a sluggish two periods the Sens broke out with four third period goals beginning with a PAT KAVANAGH tally 33 seconds in to the final period. BRANDON BOCHENSKI added two goals while defenseman JESSE FIBIGER scored once and had two assists as Binghamton cruised to a 5-1 victory. FIBIGER had a career high three points in the game and was +5. The Sens out shot the Amerks 45 to 31 and had 18 shots in the crucial third period. BRIAN McGRATTAN broke the single season AHL penalty minute record with a fight against Rochester’s SEAN McMORROW at 2:05 of the opening period and finished the game with 17 penalty minutes. RAY EMERY stopped 30 of 31 shots in the win while Rochester’s RYAN MILLER blocked 40 of 45 shots and was denied his 40th win of the season. Both teams were 0 for 3 on the power play.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9TH vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON (5-2 W): The Sens won their seventh straight game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday night before the 13th sellout crowd of the season at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Binghamton jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 8:17 of the game as CHRIS NEIL, JOSH LANGFELD, JASON SPEZZA and DENIS HAMEL all scored for Binghamton. JASON SPEZZA tallied four points in the game (2 goals, 2 assists), his sixth game with four points or more this season. RAY EMERY stopped 20 of 22 shots to win his fifth consecutive start. Goaltender DANY SABOURIN made 34 saves on 39 shots in the loss. Binghamton was 0 for 2 on the power play and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0 for 4.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10TH @ BRIDGEPORT (6-2 W): For a second straight week the Sens concluded four games in five nights with a Sunday road trip to Bridgeport. This time the Sens got the result they wanted with a 6-2 win after losing 5-2 in Bridgeport on April 3rd. The Sens scored short-handed for the fourth straight game when ANTOINE VERMETTE put the puck past goalie DIETER KOCHAN at 1:39 of the opening period. The Sens then broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with four goals including one from JASON SPEZZA who extended his scoring streak to 18 games (7 goals, 25 assists). VERMETTE, BRANDON BOCHENSKI and PAT KAVANAGH also scored for Binghamton in the middle period. Goalie BILLY THOMPSON made 36 saves on 38 shots in his first start of the week. KOCHAN stopped 13 of 18 shots before being pulled in favor of WADE DUBIELEWICZ after two periods. DUBIELWICZ stopped 11 of 12 shots in the third period. Binghamton was 1 for 5 on the power play while BRIDGEPORT was 2 for 8.
THIS WEEK: The Sens close out the regular season with two games this week. On Friday Binghamton will wrap up the season series with the Syracuse Crunch before returning home Saturday to take on the Hershey Bears.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15TH @ SYRACUSE (7:30 p.m.): Binghamton and Syracuse wrap up their eight-game season series on Friday night. The Senators have earned 13 of a possible 14 points so far and have a 6-0-0-1 record. JASON SPEZZA leads all scorers in the series with 11 points (3g, 8a) in seven games. Winger JOE MOTZKO leads the way for the Crunch with six points (1 goal, 5 assists) in seven games. Binghamton’s league-leading power play has converted on 8 of 33 chances (24.2%). Both Senators goalies have goals-against averages below 2.00 against the Crunch. RAY EMERY is 3-0-1 with a 1.93 goals-against average and BILLY THOMPSON is 3-0-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average. ANDREW PENNER, KARL GOEHRING and PASCAL LECLAIRE have all spent time guarding the Syracuse net this season. PENNER has enjoyed the most success going 1-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average. SYRACUSE must win each of their remaining four games to have a chance for a playoff berth
SATURDAY, APRIL 16TH vs. HERSHEY (7:05 p.m.): Fan Appreciation Night – several door prizes will be given away/Poster giveaway to every fan in attendance/Pre-game awards ceremony. The following awards will be given out: Man of the Year, Top Defenseman, Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Top Defensive Forward, 7th Player Award, Rocco J. Testani Star of the Year, Best +/-, and the Hans Petersen Award. The Bears will be in town as Binghamton completes the regular season at home on Saturday night. JASON SPEZZA leads all scorers in the series with eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in five games. Center ERIC PERRIN has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in five games for Hershey. BILLY THOMPSON has a 1-1-1 record with a 2.92 goals-against average for the Sens while PETER BUDAJ has played all five games in net for Hershey and has a 3-2-0 record with a 2.95 goals-against average. The Bears were eliminated from playoff contention with a 3-2 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday.
SENS SNIPPETS: JASON SPEZZA has recorded points in 18 straight games (7 goals, 25 assists) – the longest scoring streak since STEVE GUOLLA scored in 19 straight games during the 1997-98 season…He has scored four points or more in a game six times this season including Oct. 29th against Norfolk (2 goals, 2 assists), Dec. 31st against Springfield (2 goals, 2 assists), Jan. 23rd at Hershey (2 goals, 2 assists), Feb. 19th at Manchester (1 goal, 4 assists), March 5th against Albany (0 goals, 4 assists) and April 9th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2g, 2a). The Senators are 27-3-3-1 when SPEZZA scores more than one point in a game…The Sens have earned points in 22 of their last 25 contests going 18-3-1-3 during the stretch…Binghamton scored at least one short-handed goal in each of their four games last week and now leads the league with 23 short-handed goals. The single-season league record for short-handed goals is 26 held by Philadelphia (1998-99) and St. Catherine’s (1985-86)….Goalie RAY EMERY has not lost in his last 10 starts going 8-0-2 during the stretch….Binghamton has scored five goals or more in three straight games and now leads the league in average goals scored per game (3.41)…With a victory on Friday against Rochester the Senators set a new franchise record for points in a season (98) surpassing the 97 points earned by the 2002-03 Sens. Saturday’s win gave Binghamton 44 wins for the season, also a new franchise record (43 wins in 2002-03 was old record).
SENS CLINCH HOME ICE FOR THE FIRST ROUND: Thanks to their 5-2 win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday night the Senators have clinched home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Ticket information and the dates of the first two home playoff contests will be announced by the Senators tomorrow morning.
DARBY RETURNED TO CHARLOTTE: Defenseman REGAN DARBY was released from his tryout contract on Monday and returned to the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League. DARBY did not score in three games for the Senators last week.
SENS ATTENDANCE UP AGAIN: 166,421 people have attended B-Sens games played at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena this season. Average attendance for games played in Binghamton is about 4,379 – an increase of almost 19 fans per game compared to last season.
SENS IN THE COMMUNITY: No community appearances scheduled.
B-SENS ON THE AIR: All Binghamton Senators games are broadcast live on 680-WINR, a Clear Channel station. Fans can also access the broadcasts online at www.binghamtonsenators.com. Tune in 30 minutes prior to faceoff for Countdown to Faceoff with the voice of the Binghamton Senators, Grady Whittenburg.
GET YOUR TICKETS: Tickets remain on sale for each of the B-Sens remaining regular season home games. Tickets are $15 for the sides and $14 for the ends. Fans can purchase tickets at the following locations: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena box office (Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.), Binghamton Senators executive office, third floor of the arena (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on game days until the end of the second period.), www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (607) 722-SENS.