Binghamton Devils had a hard fought game tonight as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms escaped with a thrilling 4-3 win on Saturday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena for the Devils’ first regulation loss of the season.
It was an entertaining night filled with excitement as the Phantoms (5-1-0-1) caught the Devils (3-1-1-0) flat-footed in the opening twenty minutes, while netminder Mackenzie Blackwood kept it close with a barrage of 22 shots by Lehigh Valley and kept it a one goal deficit.
Besides the Phantoms with their ferocious attack around the net, it was the Devils that struck first on a friendly assist from the corner door, as the puck caught a nook and caromed in front to Binghamton forward Blake Pietila, who buried it past goaltender Alex Lyon with his anticipation for the puck behind the cage at the 7:45 mark. It was Binghamton’s first shot of the evening compared to nine for the Phantoms.
Soon after forward Corbin Knight tied it for Lehigh Valley with his first of the season on a give and go from behind the net with Oskar Lindblom that eluded Blackwood stick side. A 1:41 later, defenseman Mark Alt gave the Phantoms a 2-1 lead on a quick wrister from inside the blue line for his first of the season with a cross-ice feed from ex-BSens’ forward Phil Varone.
Devils would later tie it on a power play tally with Phantoms’ forward Tyrell Goulbourne in the box for hooking. A scramble in front of Lyons would develop, as the netminder fell to the ice and inadvertently kicked the puck across the goal line to ignite the home crowd. But Phantoms’ defenseman Samuel Morin regained the Phantoms’ lead, with also his first of the season, on a low slapper from inside the blueline that sailed by Blackwood’s glove side as the Phantoms capped off the first period with a 22-9 shot advantage.
There was no scoring in the second period, but Binghamton played a much better, sound game and settled in for an entertaining final 40 minutes of action.
Binghamton continued to press in the third but a wicked snipe by LV forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel from the slot found the back of the net after clanging the puck off of two posts that set the visiting team with sights for a road win.
But the Devils fought back. Rookie forward Brandon Gignac scored his first professional goal on a pretty set-up by Austin Cangelosi on a perfect drop pass for a trailing Gignac, as he fell to one knee and buried the biscuit into an empty net past Lyon. The large crowd came alive once again encouraging another marker that would send the contest into overtime, and it almost payed dividends with the team buzzing, creating chances as Pietila’s shot attempt went wide of an empty net that caught Lyon out of position.
Oh so close, but time ran out for the Devils for their first loss in regulation of the season, however a crowd pleaser nonetheless in what turned out to be an exciting finish.
Forwards; Blandisi-Kearns-Lappin, Quenneville-Kennedy-Bastian, Pietila-Rooney-Speers, Baddock-Cangelosi-Gignac. Defensemen; Strait-Jacobs, White-Loov, MacDonald-Erixon. In Goal; Mackenzie Blackwood. Back up; Ken Appleby. Scratches; Ryan Kujawinski (inj.), Jan Mandat, Yaroslav Dyblenko (inj.), Michael Kapla and Ben Thomson. Strait, Pietila and Lappin with the A’s.
Post Game Notes
- Binghamton was 1/5 on the PP and kept LV scoreless 0/4. Shots was so one sided in the first (22-9) but the Devils came back in the final two periods to keep it somewhat respectable overall 37-31. Phantoms are a big, physical team and arguably their best defenseman T.J. Brennan was scratched.
- Blackwood was to say the least, busy in the opening frame that kept his team in it. Binghamton could not answer the onslaught that the Phantoms showcased. That first BDevils’ goal was a fluke indeed, as the boards are practically brand new installed less than five years ago.
- The Baddock-Cangelosi-Gignac line was buzzing all night, noticeable Gignac in his fourth professional game . Keep this line intact, as Coach Kowalsky hasn’t tinkered too much with the lines with early season success so far.
- Scary moment in the second when Aube-Kubel made a dangerous knee-to-knee contact with Joe Blandisi sending him to the ice, as several players jumped into the fracas including Josh Jacobs, who was slapped with an additional 10 minute misconduct for instigating.
- Only the second home game for the Devils in two weeks as the community continues to show their support once again with a good size crowd of over 4500.
- The Quenneville-Kennedy-Bastian was also quite noticeable with the hustle of JQ as usual in what appears to be good chemistry between the trio.
#1 Morin (1g, 1a), #2 Kearns (1g 1a), #3 Alt (1g).
Devils are off until next weekend with a pair of home games slated on Friday (Providence) and Saturday (Springfield).