|The Binghamton Senators will have to get through three games this weekend without Barry Brust, their ace goaltender this season who is currently dealing with a lower-body injury (Just Sports Photography).
In Barry Brust, the Binghamton Senators and their fans most surely trust.
But the B-Sens' playoff drive must go on this weekend without a goaltender who's achieved virtual rock star status among the faithful at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Brust has been ruled out for the next three games by Binghamton head coach Kurt Kleinendorst, who described his ailment as "a little something."Robin Lehner
is slated to start in goal tonight in Binghamton against the American Hockey League-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The B-Sens are also home to the Providence Bruins on Saturday before travelling to Springfield, Mass., to take on the Falcons on Sunday.
With Mike Brodeur currently on recall in Ottawa, the B-Sens signed Peter Vetri to back up Lehner tonight. Brodeur is filling in for Senators backup Curtis McElhinney, who took a day off to deal with a personal matter and isn't available for tonight's matchup with the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place. He is expected to rejoin the team for its three-game road trip starting Sunday in Atlanta.
Brust was signed by the Senators last summer to be the organization's fifth goaltender. But injuries in Ottawa and Binghamton thrust the native of Swan River, Man., into the starting role with the B-Sens and he's run with it in a major way, posting a 28-17-1 record with a 2.56 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and league-leading seven shutouts.
"In Brust We Trust" T-shirts are a testament to his popularity in Binghamton. But his absence is merely another test for a team fighting for a playoff berth despite having several of its top scorers — Bobby Butler
, Colin Greening
and Erik Condra
— now toiling with the big club in Ottawa.
"That was the first word that we introduced to the guys back in October — adversity," B-Sens head coach Kurt Kleinendorst told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
after his charges doubled up on the Syracuse Crunch 6-3 on Wednesday night. "I am a firm believer that it's a big part of every game. It's not a matter of if you're going to have to face adversity during a game; it's just a matter of when, and then you can take that and you can multiply it through the course of a season. I think we're well-schooled with the adversity thing. We'll be just fine there."
As the AHL season heads into its final two weeks, Binghamton (37-27-3-4) is clinging to a three-point edge over the Worcester Sharks in its bid to land a crossover playoff berth in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have nine games remaining on their schedules.