Bears bounce Binghamton
By Dustin Leed, Sports Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
HERSHEY -- The script for Binghamton's success throughout this season has been built on solid goaltending and team defense.
That script has placed Binghamton atop the Eastern Conference standings and no team has allowed fewer goals than the Senators.
Hershey trashed that script on Saturday night.
The Bears were 2 for 8 on the power play against the league's No. 2 road penalty-killing team and scored four goals against the league's stingiest defense on the way to a 4-3 win over Binghamton Saturday night at the Giant Center.
It was only the fourth time all season that Senators starting goaltender Robin Lehner allowed four or more goals in a game. Lehner entered the game with the top save percentage in all of the AHL at .948 percent and second in goals against at 1.79 per game.
"I think just getting to the net and getting bodies in front of him (was key)," Bears forward Jon DiSalvatore said. "There were some lucky bounces there, but he's a great goalie, he anticipates very well and sometimes you just have to keep throwing the puck at him, getting in his face and frustrating him a little bit."
"Obviously he's done very well and his numbers are great. We just were able to capitalize tonight."
With Binghamton (28-13-1-3) defenseman Brett Lebda in the penalty box for slashing at 13:38, Bears captain Boyd Kane knocked in a rebound goal following Peter LeBlanc's shot on net for his 10th goal of the season.
The Senators pulled even at 8:35 of the first while short-handed.
Binghamton's Corey Cowick was the beneficiary of a Garrett Stafford giveaway on the power play directly inside his own blue line. Cowick picked off the pass and lofted the puck to center ice where Jean-Gabriel Pageau corralled it for a breakaway. His slick backhand move in tight went between Philipp Grubauer's legs to tie the game at 1-1. It was Binghamton's league-leading 12th short-handed goal of the season.
Cameron Schilling answered with a goal for the Bears with 6:09 left in the first period on assists from Jeff Taffe and DiSalvatore to give Hershey (23-19-3-2) a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
"We played with more offensive pace," Hershey coach Mark French said. "It seems we drew (penalties) a little bit more from our pace.
"Special teams and getting the power play going was a key," French added. "Offensively we were a little more sharp and crisp that we have been."
Binghamton tied the game early in the second when center Derek Grant scored off of a two-on-two rush after a cross ice pass from David Dziurzynski at 17:31 to tie the game at 2-2.
After the goal, Hershey forward Danick Paquette capped a spirited, physical, shift with a lengthy fight against Darren Kramer as Hershey used the momentum from the tilt to its advantage.
Just 16 seconds later Taffe tipped a Julien Brouillette point shot past Lehner for a 3-2 lead. Ryan Stoa added the assist.
"His energy came at the right time," French said. "We were able to score off that energy. He did his job well tonight."
Later, the Bears were quick to capitalize on Pat Cannone's trip to the penalty box for hooking when DiSalvatore scored a power play goal to extend Hershey's lead to 4-2. Soon after, Lebda fired a shot top shelf past Grubauer after a Bears' turnover for the Seantors third goal and it capped the games' scoring.
Binghamton, which gives up the most shots on net in the league, allowed 29 tonight as Lehner made 25 saves, while Hershey entered the night averaging the least amount of shots on net in the league.
"We wanted to maximize our shots," French said. "We wanted to make sure they were quality and when we had opportunities we wanted to make sure we had traffic."
"I think sometimes when you talk about goalies; you try to be too fine instead of just hitting the net and creating second chance opportunities."
Grubauer had 23 saves and Taffe finished with a goal and two assists for Hershey.n
Hershey tops league's best defense.