Never before have the Binghamton Senators won a Calder Cup. They can change that fact with a victory on Tuesday night.
The Calder Cup Final shifts back to Houston on Tuesday after the B-Sens earned a 4-2 win against the Aeros in Game 5 on Saturday night in Binghamton. Despite the fact that they are a solid 60-minute away from being crowned champions of the American Hockey League, the B-Sens -- who are 9-2 on the road this postseason -- are taking nothing for granted.
"If you want to be a championship team, you can't get complacent at any time," forward Zack Smith told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Monday. "We're one win away from a championship, and we're going into a barn with a desperate team. They've played great all series, and if we get complacent, that's just not going to work. But I think we're pretty confident in ourselves."
Offense hasn't come easily for the B-Sens in this series, as they've averaged just 2.2 goals per game after averaging nearly double that over the first three rounds. Indeed, execution will play a huge factor in determining whether or not Binghamton can finally attain its first AHL championship.
"We just need to play how we play," said Bobby Butler, who went 10-11-21 in 36 games for Ottawa this season and has 12 goals in 22 AHL playoff games. "We're a pretty good road team. We've just got to continue that -- just go there and focus on us, focus on that first period, first five minutes."
Despite the fact that his team finds itself on the brink of elimination, Houston coach Mike Yeo believes the confidence hasn't wavered in the dressing room.
"We'd rather be where they're at," said Yeo, who was Dan Bylsma's assistant coach in Pittsburgh before accepting the Houston job last summer. "We're not. I think that there are enough things for us to still be optimistic. Obviously, they've got two chances to win it, and we have to make sure that we approach the next game as a Game 7. Our season's on the line. But I think that what we've seen when we're playing our game and we're doing the right things, we've seen the result that we have on them. We've done a nice job of creating turnovers, exposing some things in their own zone and controlling the play with the puck."
Binghamton will be without assistant coach Steve Stirling, who underwent emergency bypass surgery on Sunday. Stirling, who coached the New York Islanders from 2003-06, runs the club's defense and power play.
"Binghamton Senators assistant coach Steve Stirling experienced chest pains while at the Broome County Veterans Memorial this afternoon," the club said in a statement released Sunday night. "Coach Stirling was then taken to UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, where he underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery and is now resting comfortably."
Should the Aeros win on Tuesday night, Game 7 will be played on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET. You can catch all the action on the NHL Home Ice channel on Sirius/XM Radio.