BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Derek Grant set up the tying goal and then scored 3:39 into overtime, sending the Binghamton Senators past the Hershey Bears by a 5-4 score on Friday night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The loss snaps the Bears’ win streak at five games.
The Bears fired away in the opening period at Senators starting netminder Nathan Lawson but could not find the back of the net. At the opposite end, after eight nice saves by Bears backstop David Leggio, the Sens were able to get on the board. Garrett Thompson was given space deep in the left-wing corner and found Chris Wideman sneaking to the back door. Wideman collected a pass, drew Leggio off the right post and banked the puck home at 17:43.
The offense opened up in the middle period, as a total of five goals were posted. The first belonged to Nate Schmidt, who ripped a slap shot over Lawson’s arm 1:09 into the frame for his second of the season following a one-month injury absence.
A fluke goal by the Senators’ Mike Sdao would put the hosts back in front at 11:35. The blueliner targeted a diagonal pass from the left point, but the puck hit a skate and slid past Leggio for a 2-1 lead.
Just 45 seconds later, Shane Prince was able to walk away from the right-wing wall and out into the slot area. His shot was knocked down by Leggio, but nobody other than Matt Puempel was able to find the rebound. Puempel chipped it home at 12:20 for a 3-1 lead.
The Bears shook off that sequence and scored two of their own in a span of 2:11 to again knot the score. At 15:19, captain Dane Byers headed toward the net front while David Kolomatis sent a low shot from the right point toward the net. Byers deflected the puck through Lawson’s pads, bringing the Bears within one.
Michael Latta then scored his second goal in as many games to even the contest. Ryan Potulny would tip a Kolomatis point shot down, and with room to Lawson’s left, Latta swatted the puck home at 17:30.
The Bears then took their first lead of the game early in the third period. Ryan Stoa carried down the left side and waited for Lawson to lean off of the left post. His attempted bank shot sat loose, and Casey Wellman knocked it home at 3:58.
But less than a half minute later, Grant would float a pass from the right side toward the net front, where David Dziurzynski deflected it over Leggio to tie the game 4-4.
In overtime, Grant would use a Bears defenseman as a screen and snap a shot past Leggio’s blocker for the winner.
Leggio made 26 saves but fell to 22-18-3 on the season. Hammond picked up the win, stopping all nine shots in 19:13 of relief, to improve to 24-16-2. Lawson earned no decision with 31 saves on 35 shots in 44:26 of work.
Coupled with the Norfolk Admirals’ overtime loss to the Providence Bruins, the single point earned by Hershey keeps the club in the eighth and final postseason spot with five games remaining on the schedule.
The Bears will complete their season-long five-game road trip tomorrow, April 12 with a visit to face the Northeast Division champion Springfield Falcons. Faceoff from the MassMutual Center is set for 7:00 PM. The game is available on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WKBO-AM 1230, WRBT-FM 94.9 HD-2 and WOYK-AM 1350, and on WHP-AM 580 on the iHeart Radio application for smartphone users. The Bears Radio Network is proudly presented by Turkey Hill Minit Markets. Fans may also watch the game for a small fee at http://www.ahllive.com.
The team returns home for Fan Appreciation Night on Sunday, April 13, a 5:00 PM matchup against the Senators. All fans will earn a complimentary one-day pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 31, 2014, and all fans will have a chance to win great prizes as well. Tickets for this and all remaining home games are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR, by stopping into the GIANT Center box office or by visiting TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears healthy scratches were D Brett Flemming, RW Stanislav Galiev, C Peter LeBlanc, RW Joel Rechlicz, RW Brandon Segal and LW Nathan Walker…D Jeff May was released from his professional tryout agreement earlier in the day…G David Leggio, who played his first AHL game with the Binghamton Senators, played his 200th AHL game tonight…Hershey finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.