BINGHAMTON, NY - Every once in a while you rely on your goaltender to bail out his teammates with Friday night being no exception, as Gilles Senn stopped 47 of 48 shots to lead the Binghamton Devils to a 2-1 win over the defending champs, the Charlotte Checkers. The win was the Devils fifth straight and sixth of the last seven as they are currently in fourth place in the North Division, good enough for the final playoff position.
In a night where the Checkers (29-19-4-0) just about dominated all three periods as a highly-skilled club, bounces continued to roll the Devils’ way as evidence of the game’s first goal.
Binghamton (27-23-4-0) was first to strike 12:44 in the first after Matt Tennyson sent the puck into the offensive zone from center ice when the puck took a fortuitous bounce off the end wall and into the front of the crease. Checkers’ goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was caught out of position behind the cage with Mikhail Maltsev at the doorstep for the easy tap-in.
There was no scoring in the middle frame however, Checkers peppered Senn with 17 shots and 30 overall after 40 minutes of action.
In the final period, the BDevils seemed to have broken loose with several scoring opportunities before Charlotte tied it on a PP on a sharp wrister by Oliwer Kaski near the circle as Senn did all he good to help preserve the lead. Then things got dicey as Tennyson was given a double minor, high-sticking call with 4:30 remaining in regulation. This spelled trouble as the 3rd top PP team in the AHL went to work for the kill.
But the hockey Gods answered once again as Ryan Schmelzer raced along the sideboards and cradled the puck towards the net as his shot went far-side of Nedeljkovic for a shorthanded tally that brought the roof down with 3:46 remaining and a 2-1 Devils lead.
After a TO and Nedeljkovic was pulled, it was a 6v4 man advantage for the Checkers, but the Devils fought through it to the very last shot on goal as the buzzer sounded and celebrations ensued. Sometimes you need a little luck, and the BDevils were given some on Friday.
Shots ended up in favor of Charlotte, 48-23.
Line-Up, Game #54
Seney - Street - Boqvist, Conner - McLeod - Bastian, Sharangovich - Schmelzer - Studenic, Gignac - Maltsev - Zetterlund
Cumiskey/Tennyson, Melchiori/Groleau, Sissons/Jacobs
Senn - Cormier
Scratches: Paliotta, Baddock, Schnarr, Quenneville & Domingue
Post Game Notes
- Binghamton (58 pts) is in 4th place percentage points ahead of Syracuse (58 pts) with a game on hand and 5 points behind Utica (63 pts) in third place in the North.
- Charlotte, the best the Devils’ team has seen in recent weeks, is a big club with speed and ferocious defense. Binghamton needs to come up with a better plan when the two teams meet up once again on Saturday if they are going to earn 2 points.
- Scary moment in the opening period as one of Josh Jacobs’ skates hit Nedeljkovic directly in the head, as he wasn’t able to get back up to his feet, but continued on what looked to be otherwise concussed.
- I’ve mentioned in the past Senn is one of the best prospects I’ve seen in 40 plus years and he is playing to this assessment of mine. He keeps it simple, controls rebounds and is very quick responses. This kid is going to be a star one day in the NHL. Just give him a little more time in his development to work on a few things that I mentioned in this article with Emily last week.
- Louis Domingue cleared waivers on Friday and was assigned to Binghamton. Unclear where he is at travel wise and if he will get the nod on Saturday. Evan Cormier was called up from Adirondack as this all began with Cory Schneider movement by NJ on Thursday.
- Dakota Mermis also with the call-up remains with NJ.
- Don’t know how Senn was not granted the #1 Star, I mean, without him this had loss written all over it.
Your Three Stars
#1. Ryan Schmelzer (1g), #2. Gilles Senn (47 saves), #3. Mikhail Maltsev (1g)