Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
The Senators’ 4-2 victory over the Rochester Americans Friday night was etched into American Hockey League history as the final buzzer resonated throughout the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Goaltender Chris Holt will forever have his name mentioned with the likes of Chris Mason and Antero Niittymaki, as he became just the 10th goaltender to score an AHL goal.
The B-Sens dominated the offense during the first period, peppering Rochester goaltender Alexander Salak and doubling the Amerks’ shot total, 12-6. Salak looked shaky, giving up a rebound on most of the shots he faced, giving Binghamton a second chance to puck the in the net. But the 28-win goaltender kept the game scoreless for most of the period.
The scoreless tie was broken by Martin St. Pierre on the power play with just over five minutes remaining in the period. Josh Hennessy received a pass from Ryan Keller up the near boards and lead a 2-on-1 into the Amerks zone. Hennessy slipped a pass through the legs of Rochester defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to St. Pierre, who buried a wrister under the left arm of Salak to put the Sens up 1-0.
St. Pierre added to the Sens’ lead 5:48 into the second period with his second power play goal of the night. Setting up a cycle in the Rochester zone, Hennessy fed a pass from the right faceoff circle to St. Pierre waiting at the point. St. Pierre snapped a shot low through traffic in front and found the back of the net to put the Sens up by two.
Three minutes later, the Sens found themselves on the penalty kill off a goaltender interference call on Keller. As the penalty expired, Keller busted out of the box and received a lead pass from Zack Smith. Keller skated in all alone and beat Salak glove side to give the Sens a 3-0 lead.
The Sens nearly escaped the second period without a goal against, but Rochester’s Graham Mink spoiled that feat with just 0.4 seconds remaining in the period. On the power play, Amerks’ center Chris Taylor fired a desperation shot from the high slot that ricocheted off the blocker of Holt. Mink skated out from behind the Sens’ net and chipped the puck over the left shoulder of Holt to get the Americans on the board.
The Amerks carried their momentum from Mink’s goal into the third period, as they tried to hack away at the Sens’ lead. Three minutes into the period, in a battle in front of the Binghamton net, Rochester center Chris Taylor shoved Drew Bannister into Holt, knocking him down. As Holt was falling, Amerks defenseman John de Gray blasted a shot from the point. The puck deflected off Holt’s stick, over the head of the downed goaltender, and over the goal line to cut the Sens’ lead down to one.
What happened after was one for the record books. The rest of the period was a stalemate, with both teams failing to capitalize on scoring chances. With one minute remaining in regulation, Amerks winger Michal Repik was called for tripping, hurting their chance at a comeback. In a desperate effort to tie the game, the Americans pulled Salak for an extra attacker. The Senators gained control of the puck in their own zone and looked to regroup and set up an attack.
But Chris Holt had other plans, as St. Pierre slid the puck over to the Binghamton goaltender. With an open lane, Holt launched the puck down the center of the ice and lit the lamp that was 200 feet away. The puck sailed over the goal line as the 3,741 home crowd shook the foundations of the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. With the 200-foot power play goal and his thirty saves, #31 sealed the victory for the Sens.