Devils’ defenseman Viktor Loov and Kevin Rooney each had a goal and an assist while starting goaltender Ken Appleby (4-6-1-1, 2.94 GAA, 0.896 SV%) made 20 saves in his third game in four nights as Binghamton (9-14-3-1) earned a much needed win as they defeated the visiting Belleville Senators (11-14-0-3) 5-2 to end their four game losing streak on Saturday at The Floyd.
It was a non-typical performance that was yet an uncharacteristic one for a Devils team that has recently seen it’s struggles getting into the win column, as they exploded for four goals in the third period, something that has been lacking this season in closing out games.
But all negatives aside, this one had plenty of positives with the BSens making their first ever appearance on the ice in what they used to call home, and the BDevils didn’t disappoint. There was strong goaltending, great passion and an all around a solid effort from the newly crowned home team in Binghamton.
Newcomer veteran forward Michael Latta put on quite the performance as he settled into his new digs with a goal that opened up the scoring 4:28 into the second period, as his sharp sniper was sent far corner past Senator goalie Chris Driedger for his third of the season. Belleville would then counter back and tie it after forward Gabriel Gagne scored his team-leading 12th goal off the back of Appleby from behind the cage.
Austin Cangelosi followed through off a rebound in front, as he buried the loose puck past Driedger for his first professional goal that gave the Devils the lead once again early in the third period.
Then Santa’s presence paid off during the holiday atmosphere, as he mingled throughout the building.
After Belleville scored to tie it up on a deflection in front by Mike Blunden, Binghamton exploded with three goals of their own within three minutes of each other that tilted the ice in favor of the BDevils once again that began on a floater sent in from inside the blueline by Loov that caught the crossbar into the back of net. 18 seconds later, Blake Speers took a backhanded feed from Kevin Rooney and he tip-toed his way around Driedger from the crease and in for a 4-2 BDevils lead that sent the hometown fans into a holiday frenzy.
Rooney put the icing on the cake with defenseman Dyan Olsen in the box for a Delay of Game call, as his shorthanded breakaway goal was rather exceptional, sliding the puck past a sprawled out Driedger, followed by his on ice celebration just as well with him down on one knee, fist pumping piston-style that put the final dagger into Belleville on the evening.
This win was not only important for the team but the moral of the surrounding hockey community as well in that this hopefully might be, with fingers crossed, the one that turns the season around and the best part about it, it couldn’t come at a better price than against the Belleville Senators.
Forwards; Quenneville-Kennedy-Latta, Kearns-Pietila-Bastian, Thomson-Rooney-Lappin, Mandat-Cangelosi-Speers. Defensemen; Strait-Jacobs, White-MacDonald, Olsen-Loov. In Goal; Ken Appleby. Back up; Mackenzie Blackwood. Scratches; Spencer Abbott, Brandon Baddock (inj.), Brandon Gignac (inj.) Yaroslav Dyblenko (susp.) Michael Kapla and Kevin Morris. Pietila, Strait and Lappin with the A’s.
Random Post Game Notes
- Both teams couldn’t find their legs until the middle frame after a uneventful opening twenty minutes. I suppose that had something to do with both clubs playing in their third game and four days, and compounded with the Senators’ bus not arriving until 4:30 AM after being re-routed with some lake effect snow closing portions of I-81.
- Latta was simply great. Diving for pucks, hustling and setting the tone just like you would expect from a veteran player. Captain worth material after one game? Absolutely. Awesome trade that took place by Binghamton GM Tom Fitzgerald for forward Ryan Kujawinski earlier in the week. Yes, it’s only one game, but Latta is experienced enough to carry his tempo forward. At least I would hope so.
- Power play unit has been a plus with another good showing of puck movement as well as a territory edge going 1 for 4 entering the night in 13th place at 18.1 %.
- There was an apparent goal called off for Belleville in the third period that would’ve tied the game, as bodies were flying in the crease.
- Rooney with a beauty in his fourth shorthanded goal of the season followed with an awesome celebration that tied him with rookie Warren Foegele of Charlotte for the league lead.
- Spencer Abbott was suspended without pay according to GM Fitzgerald, as he was labeled “as confused” on what to do next. I don’t know what the next move will become from Mr. Abbott as the Devils currently holds his rights. Also, Brandon Gignac will miss the remainder of the season after surgery on Thursday with a fully torn ALC that he suffered in last Wednesday’s game in Belleville. One more update, defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko served his second game of a two-game suspension also from Wednesday’s action.
- Coach Kowalsky mentioned he wants to be more consistent with the goaltenders in moving forward vs alternating them in the past, as I have preached Applebly should be the one to go with over the course of the last 3 or 4 re-caps. And as a result, Appleby was terrific, as he was pumped seen with his body reactions after the final buzzer before his teammates surrounded him in the crease.
- I need to address one personal thought on the re-cap; It was Chris Kelly’s first game back to Binghamton after serving as Captain for the Binghamton Senators back in the early days of their inaugural years of 2002-’05. It was great seeing Kelly again, as I had conversations with him often after games at a local establishment that no longer exists today (Funzy’s for the local readers). Good times and good luck Chris!
#1.) Viktor Loov (1g, 1a), #2.) Kevin Rooney (1g, 1a), #3.) Austin Cangelosi (1g)
Coach Kowalsky on tonight’s 5-2 home win over the Senators and being able to handle the momentum shift. pic.twitter.com/97epNu4opL— Binghamton Devils (@BingDevils) December 17, 2017
Binghamton is away next weekend with two games on tap, Friday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and in Hershey for the first time this season on Saturday.