Binghamton, NY - A festive crowd turned out for an entertaining event as the Binghamton Devils defeated their I81 rivals Syracuse Crunch 5-3 in the annual New Year’s Eve affair on Tuesday. Brandon Baddock had a three-point night while Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastain, and Nick Merkley each contributed two points as the surging Devils won their third in a row.
Binghamton (12-17-4-0) has won their last five out of seven to close out the month of December while the Crunch suffered their third consecutive loss and second at the hands of the BDevils in four days. Goalie Louis Domingue started his second game in a row following Saturday night’s 2-0 shutout win over the Rochester Americans and ended up with 26 saves.
Syracuse (16-14-2-1) went ahead early on as Cory Conacher’s one-timer from the point found the back of the net for a power-play goal 3:24 into the opening period. However, the Devils would score the next two to take the lead before the period was complete.
McLeod was given credit after a goalmouth scramble in front of Syracuse netminder Spencer Martin for his fifth of the season. Then Dakota Mermis ripped a shot from inside the blue line during a Devils’ power play that was initially ruled no goal, but after a short review, the call was reversed as the puck hit the upper inside of the net before it quickly popped out.
In the middle frame, Binghamton increased their lead to two when Julian Melchiori stuffed in his rebound after a shot from high in the slot for his third of the year. That would be the only scoring as the BDevils held a 26-16 shot advantage after two periods.
At the start of the final period, rookie defenseman Jeremy Groleau’s wrister from high in the circle area deflected off of Ben Street in front past Martin to make it a 4-1 contest. Then things got a little tight following the next two goals from Syracuse.
On the first, Gemel Smith somehow was able to tip in a quick pass from Daniel Walcott near the crease up and over Domingue. Then the penalties started to become an issue for the Devils. With Brett Seney, who btw had a very rough night, in the box serving a double minor, Mathieu Joseph cashed in with 8:31 left that made it a one-goal game.
Fortunately for the BDevils after some tense moments with the clock winding down and Martin pulled, Bastain was able to cap off the win with an empty netter as the home crowd celebrated to help close out the calendar year.
Line-Up, Game #33
Seney - Street - Merkley, Baddock - McLeod - Bastian, Conner - Maltsev - Anderson, Studenic - Schnarr - Zetterlund
White/Cumiskey, Mermis/Jacobs, Melchiori/Groleau
Domingue - Schneider
Scratches: Paliotta, Sharangovich, Gignac, Schmelzer
Post Game Notes
- Domingue was his usual self in stopping his former team for his second win in a row as his line reads 4-1-1-1, 2.00 GAA, 0.930 SV% with Binghamton.
- Both teams with their normal chirpiness during after whistle flair ups not to mention Seney, who had a rough go at it as the Crunch did not appreciate him getting under their skin throughout the night. As a result, Seney was called for four penalties.
- Both Mermis and Melchiori have been solid on the blueline so any offensive contributions they can provide are a bonus.
- Baddock reunited with McLeod at center and Bastian on wing paid off with a combined seven points.
- The BDevils finished off the month of December with 5 wins and 6 losses but still have a lot of work to do, but are heading in the right direction it would appear.
Your Three Stars
#1. Brandon Baddock (3a), #2. Gemel Smith (1g, 2a), #3. Dakota Mermis (1g)