Binghamton takes advantage of home-cooking
To say the Binghamton Senators have dug themselves a hole would be an understatement. The defending Calder Cup champions currently have 20 wins and 42 points, landing them fifth in the five-team East Division. They took long strides in their climb back into the playoff hunt in January, winning six of 10 games.
That’s including a stellar month of January that saw them play eight home games. They posted a record of 6-4 overall, including a four-game losing streak early in the month, followed by a four-game win streak, heading into the All-Star break.
Andre Petersson played a major role in Binghamton’s January success. He tallied 15 points for the month, including eight goals. He has scored in nine consecutive games and currently has a seven game goal streak at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
His efforts did not go unnoticed. He was named the Reebok/AHL Rookie of the Month of January and currently leads the B-Sens with 16 goals.
While Petersson had a month to remember, Jim O’Brien deserves credit as well. Since returning from a hand injury that saw him miss extended time, O’Brien has found his stride. He had a stretch late in the month that saw him score three goals in five games, including two-short-handed markers in a week. All three goals were game-winners.
Jim O'Brien was recalled by the Ottawa Senators.
The BSens continue to get offensive production from mid-season acquisition Rob Klinkhammer. Klinkhammer leads the Senators in points and has racked up 28 points in 26 games with the Binghamton Senators.
Another January highlight was the return of defenseman Patrick Wiercioch. He was struck in the throat by a puck back on December 9th and returned to the lineup January 29th, after missing 19 games. Wiercioch looked comfortable and said he felt pretty good out on the ice.
He did not play in the teams’ final game before the All-Star break, the next night.
Binghamton’s Corey Locke and rookie Mark Borowiecki were named to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. B-Sens bench boss Kurt Kleinendorst was an assistant coach in Monday’s game in Atlantic City.
For Locke, it was his sixth All-Star appearance. He was credited with an assist on a goal scored by Kyle Palmieri of the Syracuse Crunch. It was Locke’s 12th point in his six all star games.
Binghamton continued to battle injuries throughout the month, including Captain Mark Parrish and veteran defenseman Tim Conboy, along with goaltender Robin Lehner. They also lost Petersson and Borowiecki, for a couple games as they were called up to Ottawa.
Defenseman Dan Henningson was called-up on January 18th, when Borowiecki went to Ottawa. Henningson had an assist in each of his first two games with Binghamton.
Mike McKenna played very well between the pipes in Lehner’s absence. He won three straight games to end the month and now has record of 13-12, after getting off to a rough start. He has a goals-against average of 2.89 and a save-percentage of .919.
Prior to their final game before the All-Star break on the Saturday, the 28th, Binghamton traded Winger Max Gratchev to the Springfield Falcons for future considerations. Last week, Binghamton sent forward Corey Cowick to the Elmira Jackals of the East Coast Hockey League. He has played 44 games for Binghamton this season, tallying four goals and five assists.
The B-Sens (20-25-2-1) opened the month of February with losses in Manchester and last night in Portland.
Don is a credentialed writer, covering the Binghamton Senators on Examiner.com.