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Monarchs' surge pushes Binghamton to brink

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Ryan Potulny celebrates one of the three goals he scored for the Binghamton Senators on Tuesday night (Just Sports Photography).

It's one and done for the Binghamton Senators now in the Calder Cup playoffs.

With a three-goal outburst in the final six minutes, the Manchester Monarchs doubled up on the B-Sens 6-3 on Wednesday night, stunning a crowd of 2,534 at Broome County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Binghamton, N.Y.

The Monarchs now hold a commanding 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven American Hockey League Atlantic Division semifinal and can end the series with a third straight win Wednesday night in Binghamton (7:05 p.m., Team 1200, If the B-Sens stave off elimination, Game 6 would be played Friday in Manchester, N.H.

"You'd be a fool to count us out," Binghamton head coach Kurt Kleinendorst said after the game. "The thing I know is, we do have character, we have guys that care and tomorrow, with our backs against the wall, we’ll find out what we’re made of.

"Tomorrow, you’re going to find out who your tough guys are, you’re going to find out who your character guys are, you’re going to find out who cares and the ones that maybe don’t care quite so much. I hope there’s none in there that would fall into that category

Ryan Potulny did his level best to keep Binghamton in Thursday night's contest, twice bringing the B-Sens from behind to even matters. Viatcheslav Voynov had the lone goal of the first period for Manchester, then David Kolomatis made it 2-0 at the 1:50 mark of the second.

Potulny took charge from there, scoring twice in a 1:01 span early in the middle frame to pull Binghamton even at 2-2. Brayden Schenn pushed the Monarchs back in front 7:50 into the third period but Potulny struck again less than two minutes later to complete the hat trick.

The game stayed even until the Monarchs broke it open in the late going. Justin Azevedo snapped the tie with a crucial shorthanded goal with 6:04 left in regulation. David Meckler struck for Manchester just 1:50 later, then Corey Elkins added further insurance with 2:34 to play.

"I think we ran out of gas a little bit at the end," said Kleinendorst. "We were playing a couple of (defencemen) an awful lot and I think it just caught up with us. We kept coming back, kept coming back, kept coming back and then their shorthanded goal just really took the life right out of us."

Said captain Ryan Keller: "Its a big momentum killer. You're trying to get a goal on the power play and you can't be giving one up. The way it went tonight, we got ourselves back into it, then we kind of just handed it back to them."

Binghamton outshot the Monarchs 38-26 but only Potulny could solve Manchester goaltender Martin Jones, who made his first start of the series. He relieved Jeff Zatkoff after the first period of Game 3 on Sunday and earned the win after the Monarchs rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory. Barry Brust made 20 saves in the Binghamton net.

Cowen, Spokane advance to WHL conference final

The Spokane Chiefs edged the Tri-City Americans 5-4 in overtime tonight to advance to the Western Conference final in the Western Hockey League playoffs. With their second straight OT win, the Chiefs — who are captained by Senators defence prospect Jared Cowen — took the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Cowen and the Chiefs face the Portland Winterhawks in the conference final starting Friday night in Portland, Ore. Also that night, Sens prospect Wacey Hamilton and the Medicine Hat Tigers open the Eastern Conference final on home ice against the Kootenay Ice.

Around the boards

Captain Ryan Keller and Roman Wick each earned a pair of assists for the B-Sens ... Potulny now has five of Binghamton's 12 goals in the series ... Senators defence prospect Ben Blood, a fourth-round pick (120th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, announced today he'll return for his senior season at the University of North Dakota.

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