Belleville Senators took advantage of an off night from Binghamton starter Cam Johnson as they scored three goals on their first seven shots in the opening period and defeated the Devils 3-2 at CAA Arena on Saturday. Johnson was replaced by rookie goalie Evan Cormier, who was signed to an ATO hours prior to the game and stopped all 21 shots he faced in his pro debut.
If it weren’t for Cormier, the outcome could’ve gone differently as he kept his new teammates in it, but too many passengers for the Devils in their third game in four nights.
It took only 44 seconds into the opening twenty minutes for the BSens (16-17-2-0) to take the lead as Rudolfs Balcers (14) made the most of a Binghamton turnover in neutral ice as his shot slithered under Johnson with enough on it to cross the goal line.
The Devils (15-18-3-0) would tie it when Nathan Bastian from behind the cage, found Blake Pietila in front as his snap shot beat Sens’ goaltender Filip Gustavsson for his team-leading 11th of the season. But the Sens came roaring back to regain the lead 27 seconds after with a wrap around by Andrew Sturtz (2) with Devils’ defenseman Colton White trailing. Boston Leier (1) made it 3-1 with a wrister from the circle that would end Johnson’s night.
In the second frame, Pietila scored his second with 49.6 seconds left from near the corner of the net for a power-play goal.
Neither team was able to reach the back of the net in the final period despite several close calls in the waning minutes by Binghamton. Shots ended up 28-23 Belleville.
Line-Up, Game #36
Forwards: Pietila - McLeod - Bastian, Gignac - Rooney - Lappin, Saracino - Schmelzer - Studenic, Sharangovich - Speers - Gabriel
Defensemen: Kapla - Ramage, White - Jacobs, Sissons - Gryba
In Goal: Cam Johnson, Evan Cormier
Scratches: Brian Strait, Eddie Lack, Eric Tangradi, Tariq Hammond, Brandon Baddock and Brian Ward
Post Game Notes
- Cormier was signed earlier on Saturday to an ATO contract. The 21 year-old is a 4th round pick (105th overall) by NJ in 2016 and was playing for the University of Guelph with a 2.27 GAA, 0.926 SV%.
- Johnson with his 3rd start in 4 days eventually took its toll as Coach MD was handcuffed with the lack of options for a starter. I’m not sure I would have sent Cormier in either seeing he just joined on, but glad he did.
- Michael McLeod with another assist, his 4th in the last 5 games and has 2 goals, 9 helpers in the last 12 outings. Kevin Rooney also stood out and was all over the ice.
- Not much ink for Pietila but he is slowly having himself a rather nice, productive season with 12 goals and 9 assists in 33 games for the BDevils in his 4th professional year.
- First games back for both Marian Studenic and Nick Lappin as they missed the last 7, 8 games respectively due to injuries and appeared a little rusty.
- Belleville started out with 9 regulars out of the line-up that ended up being 10 in the first period with an early lower-body injury suffered by Logan Brown. It wouldn’t matter much though as the Devils’ could use the day off on Sunday before they are right back at it on Monday during this difficult stretch on the calendar.
#1. Boston Leier (1g), #2. Blake Pietila (2g), #3. Andrew Sturtz (1g)
BDevils annual New Years Eve affair takes place on Monday as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins make their first appearance of the season in Binghamton.