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B-Sens Weekly: Lehner stands tall in marathon win

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

Saturday, March 31: Syracuse 2, Binghamton 1 (OT)
Shots: Syracuse 41, Binghamton 29
PP: Syracuse 0-for-1, Binghamton 1-for-3

The Binghamton Senators fell 2-1 in overtime to the visiting Syracuse Crunch in Saturday night hockey action at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Crunch struck first in the game as Dan Sexton buried John Mitchell’s rebound with just 35.8 seconds remaining in the opening period to give his team a 1-0 edge heading into the first intermission.
The B-Sens would answer with a power-play goal late in the second period. Patrick Wiercioch blasted a shot in from the point that made its way through traffic past Crunch netminder Iiro Tarkki, tying the game at one. Stephane Da Costa and captain Mark Parrish drew the assists on the play.
The game would progress to overtime where defenceman Kyle Cumiskey scored the game winning goal at 2:41 of extra time to send the Crunch home with the victory.
Robin Lehner started in goal for the B-Sens, making 39 saves on 41 shots as he fell to 11-20-1 on the season. Tarkki stopped 28 of 29 shots to improve to 21-16-4.   
Sunday, April 1: Binghamton 6, Hershey 5 (SO)
Shots: Binghamton 31, Hershey 35
PP: Binghamton 1-for-3, Hershey 1-for-3

The Binghamton Senators visited the Giant Center on Sunday evening where they closed out their eight-game regular season series against the East Division rival Hershey Bears with a wild 6-5 shootout victory.
Defenseman Eric Gryba scored the game winning goal in the 13th round of the shootout to send the B-Sens home with the victory, the first for the B-Sens at the Giant Center since a 4-3 win on Feb. 12, 2011.
The B-Sens began the game on a high note, scoring on their first two shots of the game to take a 2-0 lead. Wacey Hamilton scored just 51 seconds in to put Binghamton on the board. Jack Downing then stretched the lead with a tally at 8:05.
Former B-Sen Ryan Potulny narrowed the scoring gap to 2-1 at the 10:11 mark of the first. The goal was the first of three on the night for Potulny, who also added an assist to bring his point total for the evening to four.
In the second period, Derek Grant’s shot from the right circle trickled past Dany Sabourin just 56 seconds in to put Binghamton back ahead by two. Stephane Da Costa then gave the B-Sens their highest lead of the night at the 9:38 mark as he capitalized on his own rebound to make it a 4-1 hockey game. Da Costa also drew two assists in the game to earn three points.
Billy Ryan tallied for the Bears with just 2:23 remaining in the middle frame to pull Hershey back within two, but Pat Cannone answered to give the B-Sens a 5-2 edge just 18 seconds into the third.
The Bears, however, would storm back within the final frame. Potulny’s second of the night and 30th of the season came at 3:35 of the third. Bears captain Boy Kane struck at 14:03 to bring Hershey within one. Potulny then completed the hat trick with a power-play goal at 15:02 to knot the game at five and ultimately send it to overtime.
The Bears outshot the B-Sens 7-5 in overtime, but Lehner and Sabourin were perfect through the extra five minutes.
Lehner stopped 30 of 35 shots faced through regulation and overtime and allowed only one goal on 13 shootout attempts as he improved to 12-20-1. Sabourin turned aside 25 of 30 shots and stoned 11 B-Sens skaters in the shootout as he fell to 18-10-5.
Wednesday, April 4: Binghamton 1, Syracuse 5
Shots: Binghamton 29, Syracuse 42
PP: Binghamton 0-for-3, Syracuse 2-for-6

Four unanswered goals helped propel the Syracuse Crunch to a 5-1 victory over the Binghamton Senators at the OnCenter on Wednesday night.
The Crunch took advantage of an early 5-on-3 power play to take the lead in the game. Peter Holland scored on the power play at 9:43 of the first period to put the Crunch on the board 1-0. The B-Sens answered later in the period as Andre Petersson blasted a shot on goal and Jack Downing sent home the rebound to tie things up at 1-1. The goal came at 18:23. Cole Schneider also received an assist on the play.

Early in the second period the Crunch would score a pair of goals within 24 seconds to take a 3-1 lead over Binghamton. Dan Sexton scored at 4:37 and Kyle Cumiskey followed Sexton’s effort, scoring a goal of his own at 5:01.

The Crunch added some more insurance in the third as John Mitchell found the scoresheet at 13:47 and Josh Brittain added a power play goal at 18:26.

Robin Lehner made 37 saves as he fell to 12-21-1 on the season, while his counterpart Iiro Tarkki made 29 saves to improve to 22-16-4.

Record: 28-38-4-2
Standings: The B-Sens are fifth place in the East Division (62 points).
Friday, April 6 at Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning) – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 7 at Norfolk Admirals – 7:15 p.m.

The Binghamton Senators have travelled to Norfolk, where tonight they will play the first of back-to-back games this weekend against the hottest team in professional sports – the Norfolk Admirals. While only four games remain in the B-Sens regular schedule, three of the four will be against the Admirals. The Ads will travel to Binghamton on April 14 for the B-Sens' final game of the 2011-12 season.   
Tonight’s game will be the sixth of eight meetings between the B-Sens and Ads this season. The B-Sens are 1-4-0-0 against the division rivals. Their lone win came at the Norfolk Scope Arena back on Oct. 22 (a 3-2 shootout victory).
Heading into tonight’s game, the Admirals are riding a 23-game win streak, one which began back on Feb. 10 with a 3-2 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms. Norfolk also boasts a record of 50-18-1-2 with 103 points.
Players to watch: Rookie forward Cory Conacher leads the Admirals in goals (34), power-play goals (14), game-winning goals (seven) and points (73). His 73 points also rank him first in scoring among all American Hockey League rookies. Defenceman Mark Barberio leads all AHL defensemen with 47 assists and 59 points. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski leads the Ads, and the AHL, with 30 wins.
It was announced today that defenceman Ben Blood has signed a two-year entry-level contract with Ottawa Senators. Blood has also signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Binghamton Senators and is expected to make it professional debut tonight in Norfolk.

A native of Plymouth, Minn., Blood recently completed his fourth and final season of college eligibility with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Sioux. Blood helped North Dakota reach the National Collegiate Athletic Association West Regional final, where it was defeated by the Minnesota 5-2 on March 25.

Blood played in 42 games this season, scoring three goals and adding 18 assists, while recording 73 penalty minutes. In four years with the Fighting Sioux, he recorded 48 points (10 goals, 38 assists), while registering 229 penalty minutes in 160 games.
Earlier this week Elmira Jackals goaltender Brian Stewart was named the ECHL goaltender of the month for March. Stewart is the first Elmira goaltender in the club's ECHL history to win this award.
A native of Burnaby, B.C., Stewart went 7-1-0-1 in March, posting a .937 save percentage and a 1.62 goals-against average along with a shutout, helping Elmira clinch its first-ever regular-season conference championship.
The 26-year-old has been recalled to Binghamton seven times this season. He has served as the B-Sens’ backup goaltender for 16 games.

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