There are times throughout the season when players can’t quite find their legs and appear flat and lean on the one between the pipes for help.
Such was the case in Utica on Thursday, as Cam Johnson stopped all 33 shots he faced in Binghamton’s 1-0 win over the Comets at Adirondack Bank Center for his first shutout in the AHL.
The ice tilted the Comets way in the opening twenty minutes as Binghamton managed just five shots on goal but escaped with no scoring between the two divisional rivals.
Devils’ defenseman John Ramage managed to sneak a slapper from his blueline through traffic past netminder Thatcher Demko that broke the scoreless tie and the lone goal of the night. It happened on the power play with less than five minutes left in the third period and was his sixth of the season, second in two nights after coming back from a brief injury.
The Comets pulled Demko in favor for the extra attacker with a 1:30 left but the Devils thwarted any thoughts of giving up a tying goal to help Johnson out for the shutout.
The results would be the second straight win for the Devils in Utica after last Saturday’s 4-3 victory that put a halt to their five-game win streak on home ice.
With the victory, it was Binghamton’s third in the last four games as they have improved to 15-17-3-0, sixth place percentage points behind the Toronto Marlies in the North Division. Shots ended up 33-18 in favor of Utica.
Line-Up, Game #35
Forwards: Pietila - McLeod - Bastian, Gignac - Rooney - Schmelzer, Saracino - Sharangovich - Speers, Baddock - Ward - Gabriel
Defensemen: White - Jacobs, Kapla - Ramage, Hammond - Gryba
In Goal: Cam Johnson, Alex Sakellaropoulos
Scratches: Brian Strait, Eddie Lack, Colby Sissons, Eric Tangradi, Marian Studenic and Nick Lappin.
Post Game Notes
- Coach MD pretty much sticks with the same line-up with minor tinkering on a consistent basis, which I like. Letting players getting accustomed to one another on the same line consistently always bodes well in the end.
- There are circumstances when a team needs to have their goaltender to steal a game, and this was one of them tonight as the Devils were sluggish. Meanwhile, Utica was fresh with their 1st game back after the Christmas break.
- The PP continues to struggle going 1/5 with back to back 5v3’s in the second period. Comets were held by the Devils PK going 0/3.
- Speaking of the Devils’ power play, out of 20 goals this season 5 have come against this very same team in Utica.
- Defenseman Eric Gryba continues to throw his weight around which is always great to see and Tariq Hammond showed signs he might be coming along better than expected with some good, quick decisions in his rookie campaign.
#1. Cam Johnson (33 saves), #2. John Ramage (1g), #3. Thatcher Demko (17 saves)
Binghamton Devils take their road show up north of the border to face off with the Belleville Senators on Saturday.