Amerks Power Play Was Key to Win Over Senators

In my 5 Reasons to go to the Amerks game on Friday night I said one of the reasons was the power play (or lack of) and that the 0 for 26 drought was bound to end and that it did on Friday night.  After 27 failed power play opportunities the Amerks finally connected not once but twice during the game.  The second goal of the game and first of two power play goals was scored by Zack Kassian which was the game winner.

The first period saw Binghamton have control for much of the period not giving the Amerks much room at all to create chances.  The box score says that the Amerks had eight shots on goal, only a couple of them were quality.

Andre Petersson put the Senators on the scoreboard first scoring late in the first period on the power play.  He received a pass from Mike Hoffman, skated about five feet and snapped a quick wrist shot high glove side past Drew MacIntyre.  That would be the only goal of the game though for Binghamton.

Derek Whitmore scored at 3:44 of the second period to tie the game at one.  Mark Voakes redirected the puck to Whitmore who was all alone to the side of the net and easily buried it in the back for his fifth of the season.  Senators goalie Robin Lehner had no chance at stopping this one.

The power play was the obvious star of the game.  Up until Friday’s game the Amerks had failed on the previous 26 chances and finally connected on their 28th attempt half way through the second period.  They had a total of eight chances on the power play and looked a lot better than previous games.  The recipe for success was simple, get the puck at the net and create chances.

Zack Kassian scored on the power play at 10:17 of the second with assists to Colin Stuart and Paul Szczechura.  Kassian was skating the puck along the boards around the outside, turned, skated towards the net and found an opening stick side on Lehner.  This was the sixth goal of the season for Kassian.

The third goal for the Amerks was scored off a great shot by Brayden McNabb that snuck past the left side of Lehner into the net.  The play was setup with a great pass from Paul Szczechura to Zack Kassian who then put the puck right onto McNabb’s stick before he shot it.  Getting back to the basics after a week of practice paid off for the team.

There was a close call with just over two minutes left in the third period when Mike Hoffman shot a puck off the Amerks post, the Senators had a six on four advantage at that time too.  They were on the power play and had pulled their goalie.

Drew MacIntyre stares down a shot from Patrick Wiercioch

There’s been a lot of talk about the goalie rotation between David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre, they’ve both alternated games all season.  Besides the first goal, MacIntyre was on top of his game tonight and constantly had his eye on the puck and also gave up very few second chances for the Senators.  By the time the game was over he had made 35 saves on net.  The Amerks are back home Saturday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins, if there was ever a time to break the rotation it’d be this weekend.  We’ll find out when warmups start before the game Saturday.

Overall it was a great Friday night crowd of 6,426 that was lively and cheering the team on.  The team played much better defensively with very few turnovers and few close scoring chances.  The whole team was skating well the whole game and many passes were connecting.  Binghamton was the more physical team but it didn’t seem to slow the Amerks down at all.

The Amerks host Grand Rapids at 7:35pm on Saturday night and hopefully they can keep the momentum going.  The Griffins scored a 8-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday night and will be fired up trying to stay on fire as well.  The last time the two teams played the Amerks won an exciting 7-2 game on October 16th.