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B-Sens bust loose to take stranglehold on series

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
When push came to shove, the Binghamton Senators were at their overpowering best.

The B-Sens picked just the right time to unleash their most dominant performance yet in the Calder Cup playoffs, blowing out the Portland Pirates 6-1 on Monday night before an appreciative crowd of 3,180 at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

Binghamton now leads the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final 3-1 and can end the series with another victory on home ice Tuesday night (7:05 p.m., Team 1200, Should the B-Sens get the clincher, they'd advance to the Eastern Conference final against either the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins or Charlotte Checkers.

Tonight's result marked a sharp turn from the first three games of the division final, which were all decided by no more than two goals. Not that there was any suggestion of that in the early going, when the teams exchanged the first two goals of the game. Mike Hoffman's power-play goal, his first of the playoffs, opened the scoring for Binghamton, but Luke Adam tied it for Portland at the 8:17 mark of the first period.

Then game the game changer. Just 10 seconds after Adam's tally, Kaspars Daugavins buried his sixth goal of the playoffs to put Binghamton ahead to stay. The B-Sens kept coming for the rest of the period, with Ryan Keller's power-play goal sending Binghamton to the intermission with a 3-1 advantage.

When Daugavins struck again just 1:26 into the second period, the rout was on and Pirates starting goaltender David Leggio was gone. But Ryan Potulny added to the visitors' misery later in the period, victimizing Jhonas Enroth later in the period for a 5-1 lead. Potulny, the American Hockey League's top playoff goal and point getter (10-9-19), added a second goal with 48 seconds left in the game to round out the scoring.

AHL scoring champion Corey Locke collected three assists for the B-Sens, who outshot the Pirates by a wide 39-23 margin. Robin Lehner (6-1-0) recorded the goaltending win for Binghamton.

Cowen, Chiefs eliminated by Winterhawks

The Memorial Cup dream is over for Jared Cowen and the Spokane Chiefs.

Despite building a 2-0 lead in the game's opening minutes, the Chiefs fell to the Portland Winterhawks 6-3 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in their Western Hockey Legaue matchup tonight. The result allowed the Winterhawks to take the best-of-seven Western Conference final 4-2.

Portland now advances to the WHL final against the Kootenay Ice. The winner moves on to the Memorial Cup tournament, which is set for May 20-29 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

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