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Jakopin's Last Minute Goal Leads Sens Over Rats 5-4

Cory Pecker and John Jakopin made their home debuts memorable ones as the duo teamed up to score three times leading the Binghamton Senators to a crucial 5-4 win over the Albany River Rats Friday night.

Pecker led the charge with a pair of goals, but it was Jakopinís screen shot from the right point with seventeen seconds left in the game providing the Sens with the winning margin and sending the 15th sellout of the season (4,717) into delirium.

The seesaw battle never had either club on top by more than a goal in a match punctuated by six special teams markers, two power play goals and one shorthanded score for each side.

Pecker opened the scoring on the power play at 9:07 of the first period when he sent a rebound past Ari Ahonen (32 saves) for a 1-0 Binghamton lead.

Albany countered with a pair of man-up goals from Joe Hulbig and Steve Kariya to take a 2-1 advantage to the first intermission break.

With Greg Watson serving a holding penalty early in the middle period, Denis Hamel stole an Albany outlet pass along the left boards and swooped in on Ahonen.

Hamel snapped off a wicked backhander that paralyzed Ahonen and nestled in the upper right corner of the net, tying the contest at 2-2 at the 3:49 mark.

Illka Pikkarainen regained the lead for the visitors exactly five minutes later when he circled a Tuomas Pihlman rebound around a fallen Ray Emery (35 saves) for a 3-2 advantage.

Binghamton managed to come back and knot the score before the expiration of the period as David Hymovitz cashed in a rebound for his tenth of the year with just 1:47 remaining to send the teams into the second intermission tied at 3-3.

Utilizing a five-minute power play against Albanyís Phil Cole for checking Serge Payer from behind, Binghamton took its first lead since the opening period when Pecker looped a close-in shot over Ahonen six minutes into the final period to make it 4-3.

The lead was shortlived as just thirty seconds later, Pihlman knotted the game at 4-4 with a shorthanded tally.

Two other failed power play chances and a pair of matching minors to Brad Tapper and Craig Darby, set up the four-on-four situation that led to Jakopinís game-winner.

The win moved the Sens past Hershey and into a share of fourth place with the idle Norfolk Admirals, both with 71 points.  Binghamton also picked up a point on third place Wilkes-Barre (74 points), a 3-2 overtime loser in Philadelphia.

Next up, the Sens welcome the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Arena Saturday night for a 7:05 p.m. match.  It will be the final contest in the eight-game season series which the Sens currently lead 4-3.  Bridgeport shut out Atlantic Division-leading Hartford 1-0 Friday and is tied with Philadelphia for the top spot in the East Division.

[View Box Score]


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