For a second consecutive game, the Toronto Marlies trailed after forty minutes but came roaring back to claim victory.
It was offense from the blue line that would eventually propel Toronto to victory, after they had given up an early lead and allowed the hosts to put themselves ahead with three second period tallies.
The Marlies began brightly and almost opened the scoring just 45 seconds in.
Seth Griffith fizzed a pass from the right boards toward the crease, that Greening cleverly redirected. Chris Driedger made a fantastic first save of the game to ensure the home team didn’t fall behind early as they had done in Toronto this past Monday.
Brett Findlay is a man in form and was the target of Greger Hanson with a little over two minutes played. The victim of boarding, Findlay was slow to get up, had a bloodied nose for his troubles and would not see out the rest of the game.
Travis Dermott jumped in to protect his team-mate – dropping the gloves with Hanson.
More importantly the road team made Binghamton pay by scoring on the resulting power play.
Seth Griffith began a play which saw Rychel attempt to send the puck back door but the pass was deflected. Fortunately it ended up on the stick of Andreas Johnsson who promptly whistled a shot past
Driedger for his 15th of the season.
Toronto were on top but unable to create many clear cut openings to double their lead.
A second power play would prove fruitless and almost lead to a goal against after a turnover from Johnsson. Phil Varone was in alone on Antoine but Toronto’s goaltender failed to bite early and instead averted danger with an excellent poke-check.
The Marlies would kill their first penalty of the game but were becoming sloppy in possession, gifting the home team far more offensive zone time than they should have had.
No damage would be done and the visitors finished the stronger of the two teams before the buzzer sounded.
Toronto carried that momentum over into the begging of the middle frame – Trevor Moore winning a battle across the blue line before dishing off to Colin Greening. The latter’s shots would provide a rebound that Moore was unable to corral with half an empty net to aim at.
A penalty to Andrew Nielsen halted the Marlies good start and it was a baffling double call from the officials.
The hooking infraction was a little soft, but despite not seeming to question the decision, the rookie defensemen was also tabbed for ‘Unsportsmanlike conduct.’
Toronto were also unhappy that Nick Paul wasn’t called for cross-checking on the play and their mood wouldn’t improve any time soon.
With three seconds left on the first minor, Mike Blunden blasted home from low in the left circle thanks to perfect pass from Francis Perron.
Binghamton weren’t able to capitalise on the second penalty and instead it was Toronto who almost re-established their lead. Johnsson hitting the post on a shorthanded rush, with a low shot that had Driedger beaten.
The Senators would rightly have a goal waived off for goaltender interference at the six minute mark and it was only after this escape that the Marlies began to grab a foothold in the period.
A rapid passing movement involved Greening, Griffith and Moore, with the latter denied in tight.
The fourth line led by Tony Cameranesi almost grabbed a goal after a hard-working shift that pinned the home team in their own zone. An effort from Mason Marchment provided a rebound that Cameranesi was unable to chip in by the side of the net.
With Nielsen back in the box, this time for holding, Binghamton took the lead thanks to a former Marlie.
Jack Rodewald banging home a rebound in front after Bibeau could only block a shot through traffic from Varone.
Toronto would bounce back 77 seconds later, to tie up proceedings with six minutes remaining.
Moments after seeing an effort cleared off the goal line, Rychel blasted home a one-timer from his knee’s on a pinpoint feed from Griffith.
Though seeing their lead wiped out immediately, it was the home team who finished the middle frame well on top.
Varone would find himself all alone on goal but Bibeau out-waited the skilled forward once more to make a fine save. On Binghamton’s next zone entry it was Varone leading the charge again, this time on a partial breakaway.
Bibeau stood tall but could do nothing to prevent Toronto trailing after forty minutes.
Well inside the last minute Justin Holl was being hounded by three Bingo forwards at his own blue line. The percentage play wasn’t to try and thread a pass through them, but that’s exactly what the defenseman attempted and put his team in trouble. Jason Akeson would tee up Paul in the slot and his one-timer gave Bibeau no chance.
The first five minutes of the third period were all action, with scoring opportunities for both teams. Rychel and Cameranesi both tested Driedger after a strong spell of offensive zone pressure by Toronto.
For the Senators, Perron would test Bibeau, not once, twice but three times, picking up his own rebounds. Toronto’s goaltender was forced into unorthodox and ugly looking saves but importantly the puck stayed out of his net.
Driving into the right circle, Moore had taken three shots in the opening period and the hosts fully expected him to shoot from the right circle. Instead the rookie forward reversed a perfectly weighted pass into the slot area for the trailing Nielsen, who sniped a wrist shot past Driedger in the blink of an eye.
Binghamton’s netminder was far from downhearted and bailed out his team on a following penalty kill with the Marlies all over the hosts.
Toronto had several good looks with the extra man but were unable to net for the fourth time.
Buoyed by the kill Binghamton came out flying in the next few shifts, creating three good chances but were simply not able to connect when it really mattered.
Whoever could score the fourth goal looked likely to claim the points at this stage.
A wonderful piece of vision from Dmytro Timashov teed up Nielsen, who had drifted to the far post. How the defenseman’s attempt stayed out of the net is a mystery but Toronto would not be denied from grabbing the crucial go-ahead goal.
Andrew Campbell has struggled to rediscover his scoring form of last year but he would come up trumps for his team with eight minutes to play. A little pitch and catch with Griffith allowed the Captain to find some room to shoot when perched right on the blue line. When Campbell fully connects on a slapshot it’s an unstoppable canon and there was little anyone wearing a Binghamton jersey could do to deny the Marlies taking the lead.
The game was far from over however, as Toronto contrived to gift the home team two short-handed chances after drawing their fourth power play.
An error from Moore allowed Kyle Flanagan a breakaway and Varone had himself an odd-man rush alongside Mike Blunden. Bibeau came to his team’s rescue for the umpteenth time in what would turn out to be the home team’s best opportunities to take at least a point.
A power play for the hosts with 3:15 to play was easily dealt with by a Marlies penalty kill who had something to prove. With Driedger pulled for the extra attacker, Frank Corrado looked to fire into the empty cage as the penalty expire. His attempt missed the post by an inch but all was not lost as Campbell jumped out of the penalty box, corralled the loose puck and on a wraparound move sealed the victory.
Another empty net goal, this time from Johnsson, with one second remaining was the icing on the cake for Toronto, but the score line did Binghamton little justice.
Post Game Notes:
A fifth straight victory for Toronto is their best winning streak of the season.
Toronto’s power play (1 for 4) looked particularly ordinary after scoring and the penalty kill (2/5) was all out of sorts.
Seth Griffith registered three assists and has 21 points in 17 games.
Andreas Johnsson netted a pair, the third occasion he’s achieved the feat this season.
Kerby Rychel had one of his best games despite losing Brett Findlay early in the game. He recorded five shots on net, two points and is riding a four game points streak.
Brooks Laich helped himself to two secondary assists – his first points since December 10.
Andrew Campbell finally added to his sole goal this season with a pair in this game, including the game winner.
Andrew Nielsen was guilty of taking undisciplined stick penalties but was a constant threat offensively, scoring his 11th of the season.
Sergey Kalinin made his Marlies and played a huge part in the late penalty kill which ensured victory.
Considering he only met the team just before the game, the former New Jersey forward acquitted himself well – improving as the game progressed.
Antoine Bibeau made 27 saves for the win – his tenth of the season.