Goaltender Evan Cormier continues his Cinderella story and this is no exception. With a line-up that has seen its share of shortages slightly over the half-way mark, this is playing out to be one of those fairy stories we all love to follow.
After left forgotten from the NJ Devils’ fourth-round pick in 2016, NJ made a move with the injury bug that has been hit hard by goalies within the organization and signed Cormier to an ATO on Dec 29th. He just needed a chance to prove his worth, and boy has he.
Now with a new AHL contract in place as of Thursday and the NJ brass in Allentown, PA soaking it in, Cormier rolled on carrying the club on his shoulders with the latest win like it was nothing to it.
In only his fifth professional start, Cormier stopped 30 of 31 shots to help the Binghamton Devils to a 2-1 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday as he was named First Star of the Game honors for the second straight time in three nights.
After an uneventful first period, Binghamton (18-20-3-0) scored first on a tip-in by Ryan Schmelzer near the blue paint as Phantoms’ netminder Alex Lyon had several players in front of him without anyone being one of his teammates. It was Schmelzer’s seventh of the season and gave Binghamton some momentum on the road.
Nick Lappin made it 2-0 with a poke on the puck by the side of the net for his second in two nights. Devils ended the period killing on a late penalty called against defenseman Egor Yakovlev as shots were 21-14 in favor of LV after forty minutes.
With Cormier making some key saves to keep it a two-goal game, Lyon also came up big as the goaltender dual carried on. But as talented the Phantoms are would Binghamton withstand a pushback in the third period?
Zach Palmquist (3) was able to find a seam for a fluke goal as Cormier dropped his stick and couldn’t come up with the save with 7:05 remaining. That goal would end Cormier’s shutout streak at 114:52 going back to last Saturday’s third period in a win over Bridgeport.
With the tilt of the ice now leaning towards the Phantoms side, plenty of time was left to send it to overtime. But a late penalty on a slash to Michael McLeod from Mikhail Vorobyev with two minutes left changed everything.
Binghamton would play keep away for the majority of the five on four advantage to run out the clock for their third win in a row. Shots ended up 31-19 Lehigh Valley.
Line-Up, Game #41
Forwards: Gignac - Schmelzer - Lappin, Baddock - McLeod - Bastian, Saracino - Speers - Studenic, Ward - Doherty - Gabriel
Defensemen: Sissons - Ramage, Hammond - Kapla, White - Yakovlev
In Goal: Evan Cormier, Jeremy Brodeur
Scratches: Brian Strait, Eddie Lack, Eric Tangradi, Eric Gryba, Josh Jacobs, John Quenneville and Egor Sharangovich all out with various injuries.
Post Game Notes
- JQ (upper) and Jacobs (lower) out with injuries suffered on Wednesday’s win over Syracuse. F Michael Doherty signed to a PTO before the game in his AHL debut. Also, D Egor Yakovlev was sent down and F Kevin Rooney called up on Thursday.
- The two teams ended up even at 2-2 in the four-game season series.
- Both NJ GM Ray Shero and Binghamton GM Tom Fitzgerald were seen in attendance. Perhaps to see what the fuss is all about in net for Binghamton?
- Vorobyev was seen complaining to the refs on the late call with both teams heading to their locker room afterwards but it was a legit call. Devils didn’t catch a break, just a bad play on his part.
- This line-up has been decimated as 9 regulars are out with either injuries or call-ups. Coach MD has done a terrific job in keeping his team together with ECHL players to fill in.
- Meanwhile, Cormier has improved to 3-1-0-1, 1.68 GAA, 0.944 SV% to help quiet his critics of inconsistencies in the past. Cormier’s 3 wins have come against Bridgeport, Syracuse and Lehigh Valley, 3 tough opponents.
#1. Evan Cormier (30 saves), #2. Nick Lappin (1g, 1a), #3. Brandon Gignac (2a)
Binghamton returns back home on Saturday to face the Cleveland Monsters to conclude the weekend.