Round I goes to...Belleville.
This is what I had feared would come true with embedded ties between the two towns, a Devils loss to the BSens.
It all came down on Wednesday at Yardmen Arena in Belleville as Binghamton was defeated by a score of 4-3 led by Jim O’Brien’s two goals and goaltender Andrew Hammond‘s 25 save performance in the first of six meetings for the two teams that tightened up the middle of the North Division race.
Binghamton (5-4-1-0) wasn’t sharp throughout the night until the final ten minutes when they mounted a comeback only to come up short in the end as Belleville (6-6-0-1) was missing ten players due to injury or call-ups since their opening night line-up.
Devils’ starting goalie Ken Appleby (2-1-0-0, 2.34 GAA, 0.915 SV%) wasn’t his best in letting in four goals on 16 shots and was replaced by Mackenzie Blackwood late in the second period, as Blackwood stopped all 12 shots he saw in relief.
O’Brien scored his third of the season that gave Belleville a 1-0 edge with a snap shot from the bottom of the circle that squeezed by Appleby 14:49 in the opening period. Binghamton would tie it early in the second when defenseman Viktor Loov pounced on the puck from near the side boards that went by Hammond for a power play marker. Shortly after, BSens scored three unanswered from Max McCormick, Colin White and OB with his second to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
In the final period the Devils would get a break on a fluke deflection that sparked the club and new momentum was there for the taking. Ben Thomson’s shot from the side hit rookie defenseman Thomas Chabot in front as the puck went over Hammond’s shoulder to cut the deficit to two.
Soon after, it was a one goal contest when Nick Lappin continued his torrid goal pace with his eighth off a odd man rush with Bracken Kearns, and with less than five minutes left it was 4-3. Plenty of time for Binghamton as they came to life with sights of overtime looming in the foreground.
But after a (typical) late game penalty called against the Devils, the Senators countered back with one of their own. With Blackwood pulled and some late game strategy taken place within a timeout, it was five-on-four hockey in favor of the Devils with just over two minutes remaining. However, after a couple of careless plays and some unfortunate bounces, the Sens hung on for the 4-3 win.
Forwards; Gignac-Kearns-Blandisi, Pietila-Bastian-Lappin, Baddock-Cangelosi-Speers, Thomson-Rooney-Mandat. Defensemen; Strait-Jacobs, White-Loov, MacDonald-Dyblenko. In Goal; Ken Appleby. Back up; Mackenzie Blackwood. Scratches; John Quenneville (inj.), Tim Kennedy (inj.), Michael Kapla and Ryan Kujawinski (inj.). Kearns, Rooney and Loov with the A’s.
Post Game Notes
- It wasn’t that Belleville was that much better, but more likely Binghamton didn’t show up as the Senators were missing ten players due to call-ups or injuries from their opening night line-up. There was a serious lack of urgency from the Devils as they might’ve taken their opponent too lightly, except when it was too late in the third when they turned it on at will with the late rally, only to come up short
- Hammond, with the surprised start on loan from Colorado. Appleby with an off night, didn’t get much help from the defense. Disappointing is the word that comes to mind when describing the night.
- With time winding down in the final seconds of the game, BSens forward’s McCormick and Francis Perron drew an offsides whistle on a two-on-one rush into the Senators’ offensive zone, with an EMPTY NET staring at them! That’s a first and one for the books.
- Defenseman Loov with two costly turnovers late in the third with the Devils pressing and Blackwood on the bench for the extra attacker, but both times the puck sailed by him at the point eating up precious seconds.
- Shots ended up 28 for each club, a good sign from the Devils as they have been outshot in eight out of their last nine games.
- First of 6 meetings between the two teams as Dec 16th is circled on the calendar for the first game to take place in Binghamton for Belleville next.
#1 JOB (2g), #2 Joe Blandisi (2a), #3 Vincent Dunn (1a).
The Devils have two home games this coming weekend against the Toronto Marlies Friday and Saturday.