BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Jeff Taffe scored two goals and Jon DiSalvatore scored the game-tying tally to force extra time, but the Binghamton Senators scored twice in the shootout to get past the HERSHEY BEARS in a 5-4 decision on Friday night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The game started well for the BEARS, as the club forced numerous turnovers by Binghamton early. One such turnover allowed Taffe to grab a Patrick McNeill rebound off of goaltender Nathan Lawson, and score on a wraparound at 10:43.
Two bad bounces allowed the hosts to turn the tide and take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room. First, Darren Kramer fired a shot from the left point that hit a body in the left circle, then Taffe, and then the back of the net behind Dany Sabourin at 19:02. Just 37 seconds later, Wacey Hamilton chipped the rebound of Brett Lebda’s shot past Sabourin for the go-ahead marker.
Binghamton made it a 3-1 game just 2:40 into the second period, capitalizing on one of their ten power plays in the game. Cole Schneider redirected a pass from Stephane Da Costa behind Sabourin while he was stationed at the front of the net.
Trailing 3-1 in the third, the BEARS mounted their comeback against backup goaltender Marc Cheverie. On a line rush, Barry Almeida dropped a pass for Peter LeBlanc high in the offensive zone. LeBlanc cut into the slot, made a nice deke to his left and then ripped a low shot past Cheverie at 7:19 for his first in a HERSHEY uniform.
The Senators then stole that momentum right back, capitalizing on a turnover at the BEARS offensive blue line. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Dustin Gazley took off on a shorthanded two-on-one rush, played catch and got the finish from Gazley at 8:04 to reclaim a two-goal lead.
The BEARS power play units then went to work to tie the game. Just 19 seconds after the shorthanded goal, Taffe buried his second of the game on a blast from the slot that beat Cheverie over the glove.
DiSalvatore’s equalizer came at 13:14, when he picked up a big rebound off of a shot from Casey Wellman and fired it home from the slot for his team-leading 14th goal of the season – and eighth on the power play.
The Senators outshot the BEARS 9-2 in the overtime, and got two point-blank chances in the final two seconds that Sabourin snuffed out.
Da Costa and Louie Caporusso would score in the shootout, and Cheverie would turn aside all four BEARS shooters to help the hosts grab the extra point.
Sabourin falls to 7-8-3 on the season, making 35 saves on 39 shots through regulation and overtime. Cheverie earned the win despite giving up three goals on 15 shots in 24:57 of relief work and improves to 2-1-0. Lawson stopped 22 of 23 in 39:57 of work before leaving the game.
The BEARS finished 9-for-10 on the penalty kill and 2-for-6 on the power play.
HERSHEY returns home tomorrow, February 23 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Adirondack Phantoms. The game is sold out. The BEARS’ next home game is set for Saturday, March 2 at 7:00 PM against the Norfolk Admirals. Individual tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.