Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
The Binghamton Senators needed just 1 point to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.
The B-Sens went an extra step, improving to 41-29-3-5 on the season, with a 2-1 overtime victory courtesy of Jim O’Brien. Barry Brust made 30 saves to improve to 29-18-2 on the season and earn first star honors. With the win the B-Sens clinched their first Calder Cup playoff berth since the 2004-05 season.
Though the B-Sens were without leading point man Corey Locke due to injury, Binghamton received some assistance from the parent Senators as Ottawa sent down five players earlier in the day to help make their playoff hopes a reality; Andre Benoit, Erik Condra, David Hale, Roman Wick and Patrick Wiercioch.
The recently recalled B-Sens made their presence felt quickly as Benoit got things going for Binghamton with a power play goal in the first. With 8:14 left to play in the opening frame, Kaspars Daugavins collected the puck along the right boards and sent a cross-ice pass over to Benoit, who slapped a one-timer past the stick side of Admirals netminder Jaroslav Janus.
The B-Sens controlled the puck for much of the second period and just when a Binghamton goal seemed imminent, Norfolk caught a break with a scoring opportunity of their own. The Admirals tied the game 1-1 late in that period as Mattias Ritola carried the puck through the neutral zone, feeding it to Blair Jones who was streaking along the right wing boards. Jones flipped the puck back to Ritola in the slot, who then backhand a shot over the left shoulder of Brust at 16:01.
Despite outshooting the Admirals 14 to 7 in the third period, the B-Sens failed to score another goal in regulation as Janus stood tall for Norfolk. Janus stopped 42 of 44 shots faced in the match, including 30 shots in the final two periods to help force overtime.
The B-Sens won the game at 3:48 of extra time as Condra’s pass from the left circle found O’Brien in the slot. O’Brien then beat a diving Janus for his 24th goal of the season, leading the B-Sens the 2-1 victory.