BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Mika Zibanejad, Stephane Da Costa and Jack Downing all tallied shootout goals to end an entertaining game, as the Binghamton Senators took a 3-2 victory from the HERSHEY BEARS on Saturday night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
Both of the goaltenders in the game were tested early. Senators netminder Robin Lehner denied a drive down the slot by Jeff Taffe with a blocker save, and shortly afterward, Dany Sabourin got his right pad on a breakaway shot by Corey Cowick. But the BEARS managed to grab a 1-0 lead not long afterward. Ryan Stoa let fly with a wrist shot from the right circle that sailed past a screened Lehner and into the net off of the left post.
Binghamton trailed for the next ten minutes but a tough bounce off of the boards behind Taffe left Mike Hoffman with the puck, and a defender between him and Sabourin. Hoffman picked the low left corner and beat Sabourin with a snap shot at 17:21 to tie the game.
Neither team was assessed a penalty in the opening period.
The Senators then grabbed their first lead of the night just 2:02 into the second, when Mark Stone beat Sabourin with a backhander off of helpers from Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski.
That lead lasted just over four minutes. Steve Oleksy led a rush into the offensive zone, faked the Binghamton defense and carried all the way around the net and back to the center point. He let a slap shot fly that sailed over Lehner’s glove at 6:51, tying the game 2-2.
The teams traded two power play chances each in the third period, but both team’s penalty killing units played solidly. The BEARS had the best chance to win the game when Grant backhanded a puck out of play in the defensive zone, giving the BEARS a chance on the man advantage with 1:07 left in regulation. The carry-over power play resulted in a four-on-three opportunity in overtime, but Lehner stood tall.
After a scoreless overtime, the Senators then rattled off all three goals in succession, after allowing the BEARS the first shot. Lehner denied Garrett Mitchell, Ryan Potulny and Taffe to preserve the win.
Sabourin fell to 6-6-1, making 28 saves in regulation and overtime. Lehner improved to 16-5-1 with 38 saves through 65 minutes. The two teams each ended the night 0-for-3 on the power play.
The 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts All-Star Classic is up next on the American Hockey League schedule, with the Pepsi AHL All-Star Skills Competition set for Sunday, January 27 at 7:00 PM and the 2013 All-Star Game on Monday, January 28 at 7:00 PM at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI.
The BEARS return home next Saturday, February 2 at 7:00 PM for their first matchup of the season against the Manchester Monarchs. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.