The Hartford Wolf Pack spoiled the final home game of the season for the Binghamton Devils with a 4-2 win in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday as part of Fan Appreciation night at The Floyd. After Friday night’s 2-1 victory in Hartford, they swept the two game series as the BDevils finished with a 13-19-4-2 record on home ice in their inaugural season.
It was also the team’s Awards night during pregame ceremonies as well as many giveaways and promotions as one lucky fan walked away with a new car.
But given the way the season has been, it was another third period collapse for the Devils (25-38-8-4) as the Wolf Pack (34-33-6-3) scored twice to break a 2-2 tie for the win. Goaltender Ken Appleby looked shaky at times as he ended up with 27 saves on 30 shots with the final blow scored into an empty net by Hartford forward Adam Tambellini with under two minutes left in the third.
Binghamton rookie Brett Seney scored his third in 11 games on the powerplay to put the BDevils up 1-0 early in the opening twenty minutes. However, Hartford countered as Gabriel Fontaine tied it 4:51 later with a floater from the blueline that looked to change angles with a possible deflection in front.
Vinni Lettieri gave the Wolf Pack the lead in the second with his 23rd of the season on a one-timer from along the side boards that blew by Appleby, but the BDevils tied it just 23 seconds later with Kevin Rooney burying the puck from in front past Hartford starter Marek Mazanec for his 14th with assists handed to Mario Lucia and Michael Latta.
In the final period Ryan Gropp put his team in front for good on a crazy play as Appleby was flopping around after misjudging a shot moments before and never got himself set, as the puck trickled in along the side of the net for a 3-2 Hartford lead.
Binghamton played their typical frantic pace of five minutes of hockey to try and send it to overtime, but Hartford tightened up defensively not allowing the Devils to come close with Appleby pulled and a empty net goal helped solidify the Hartford road win. Shots ended up 32-31 BDevils.
Afterwards the players lined up at center ice to give the fans one final salute before heading off to the locker room for the last time.
Forwards; Bertschy-Seney-Lappin, Pietila-McLeod-Bastian, Lucia-Rooney-Latta, Thomson-Cangelosi-Mandat. Defensemen; Strait-MacDonald, White-Dyblenko, Hammond-Kapla. In Goal; Ken Appleby. Back up; Cam Johnson. Scratches; Brandon Gignac (inj.), Jagger Dirk, Josh Jacobs (inj.), Bracken Kearns (inj.), John Quenneville (inj.), Jake Walman, Tim Kennedy, John Edwardh and Blake Speers . Rooney, Strait and Latta with the A’s.
Random Post Game Notes
- Binghamton is in a race with the Belleville Senators for bragging rights on who will end up with a better record as the Devils are currently one point behind the Senators with only one game remaining on Sunday.
- It was the club’s 6th sellout of the season as hockey fans throughout the Southern Tier region showed their support.
- Lots of chippy play throughout the game with one scene being Jan Mandat as he was leveled to the boards from behind the net by Hubert Labrie. Ben Thompson skated right up to him and challenged Labrie before the linesmen intervened.
- Seney was involved centering the top line for the third straight game with Lappin and Bertschy and ended up with a team high four shots. He has 3g, 4a in 11 games and should be a solid addition next season.
- Team Awards were handed out as Jacob MacDonald was voted Top Defenseman and club MVP, Nick Lappin Top Forward and most Stars of the Game, Michael Kapla Top Rookie, Austin Cangelsoi Man of the Year and Kevin Rooney 7th Player Award.
- Netminder Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves on his way to a 3-0 shutout win in his first game for the Adirondack Thunder with a playoff tilt against the Worcester Railers on Friday. On Saturday, the Railers returned the favor with their own shutout, 2-0, to even the best of seven at one apiece with Blackwood recording 26 saves with an empty net goal. This is nothing but good news leading to next season, as Blackwood finds his way through the playoffs while gaining confidence along the way.
- I’ll have 4th Quarter Grades and player evaluation’s up and running next week, including The Panel’s views after the conclusion of Sunday’s tilt in Utica vs the Comets to wrap up the season.
#1.) Ryan Gropp (1g, 1a), #2.) Gabriel Fontaine (1g, 1a), #3.) Kevin Rooney (1g).
BDevils final game takes place in Utica on Sunday to close out the 2017-’18 season.