The St. John’s IceCaps headed into their contest Friday evening on a two-game losing streak, visiting the Binghamton Senators who were riding a three-game winning streak.
The IceCaps were sitting in third place (17-14-3) in the North Division while the Senators were in sixth (13-17-2). These two teams had met twice already this season, each coming away with a win, so it was anyone’s game.
Charlie Lindgren was back between the pipes to play his 24th game of the season. He was pulled during Wednesday’s game against the Albany Devils after allowing five goals on 16 shots.
Max Friberg was also back on the ice after missing Wednesday’s game with the flu, and was joined by a few new faces who suited up after signing PTOs on Thursday: John McCarron (Michael’s older brother), Reggie Traccitto, Anthony Camara, and Alexandre Ranger (who played 17 games with the IceCaps last season).
Both teams kept a pretty even pace during the opening period. With just over two minutes left, Jonathan Racine headed to the box for boarding. The Sens took the lead when Chris Rumble took advantage on the power play, getting one past Lindgren with a slapshot from the point.
The pace picked up during middle period. At 9:26, Rumble was called for tripping and Markus Eisenschmid had the best opportunity to tie up the game, coming close to notching his sixth goal of the season.
The Senators almost capitalized while short-handed, stealing the puck and heading straight for Lindgren. But the rookie netminder had everything covered, jumping out of the net to smother the puck. It was the Charlie we’ve seen many times this season; the one who earned a spot at the 2017 AHL All-Star Game.
Jacob de la Rose and Patrik Sieloff each got a two-minute timeout in the middle frame to give fans a little four-on-four action. Neither team was able to take advantage of the extra real estate, so the Senators preserved their 1-0 lead heading into the final period.
A turnover early in the third almost made it a two-goal lead for the Senators, but Lindgren came out aggressively to put a stop to it.
A big hit to Mike Blunden by David Broll in front of the Senators bench caused a hush to come over the crowd. It seemed as if Blunden collapsed onto the bench after the hit. A stretcher was brought out, but Blunden headed to the locker room under his own power.
Stefan Matteau tried to add to his penalty-minute record (81) by starting a shoving match with Andreas Englund in front of Binghamton’s net, but cooler heads prevailed.
With 2:05 left to go in the third, Esienschmid notched his sixth goal of the season, poking in a rebound to make it an even game. Friberg and the newly acquired Julien Brouillette picked up the assists.
With the score tied 1-1, off to overtime they went. Jacob de la Rose, from Friberg, was robbed by Chris Driedger with just 11.2 seconds left, and neither team was able to find the back of the net.
So it was off to a best-of-three shootout.
Daniel Audette and Eisenschmid were denied by Driedger. Lindgren poke-checked Phil Varone’s attempt, but Jason Akeson managed to slide one past him.
Matteau made a series nice moves to tie it up with the game on the line.
I also love me a good deke in the shootout, nice handles by Stefan Matteau pic.twitter.com/8oravrBSXV— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 7, 2017
Unfortunately, Binghamton had one attempt left, and Casey Bailey was able to fool Lindgren on the final shot and grab the victory for his Senators.
The IceCaps put up a good fight, outshooting the Senators 37-27 and adding another point to make it 11 out of a possible 18 points on their road trip.
They’ll finish up their 10-game stint away from home tonight against the Syracuse Crunch.