Cody Ceci’s second goal of the season 1:36 into overtime broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the visiting Binghamton Senators to a 3-2 win over the Rochester Americans Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The loss, however, gives the Amerks points in seven straight games and moves Rochester into a first-place tie atop the American Hockey League’s North Division standings.
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Phil Varone and Matt MacKenzie each scored in regulation for the Amerks, with MacKenzie’s first-career AHL tally coming 2:45 into the third period to knot the game at two and ultimately forcing overtime. Matt Hackett again earned the start in goal for the Amerks, stopping 34 of 37 shots, including three in extra time. The story of the night, though, was the return of Patrick Kaleta to Rochester after the veteran forward joined the Amerks earlier in the week from the parent Buffalo Sabres. Kaleta, playing in his first AHL game since the 2007-08 campaign, skated 18:55 in his season debut for the Amerks.
Mike Hoffman potted both of Binghamton’s goals in regulation and Stephane Da Costa added a pair of assists for the B-Sens. Andrew Hammond picked up his second win of the season thanks to a 30-save effort between the pipes
Both teams came out fast in the opening period, with the Amerks striking just four minutes in. Mike Zigomanis came down the left wing and threw a shot on the Binghamton goal from outside the blueline. With Varone crashing the net, Hammond lost the puck in his pads and Varone jammed it home for a 1-0 lead.
The second period got off to a slow start, with the teams eventually trading chances. Binghamton got on the board first at the 15:12 mark. Frederik Claesson cycled the puck down low to Cole Schneider, and after spotting Hoffman in the slot, Hoffman deposited it over Hackett’s blocker to tie the game at one.
A little over a minute later, the Sens potted another at 16:31 to go up 2-1 on the power-play. Chris Wideman worked the puck below the goal-line to Da Costa. He then found Hoffman waiting in the slot, where he wired the puck to the upper right corner for a 2-1 lead in favor of the visitors.
Less than a minute later, the Amerks answered right back. With Jamie Tardif working hard to gain possession down low, Nick Crawford pinched down from the point. He took a pass from Tardif, and circled behind the Binghamton net. Coming around the cage, he slipped a back-hand pass to a cutting Matt McKenzie, who one-touched the puck past Hammond to tie the game at two.
The teams played a bit more defensive in the third period with the best chance of the period coming off Mark Stone’s stick when he rang a shot off the cross bar halfway through the period. Hackett stopped nine shots in the period to hold off the Senators and send the game to overtime tied at two.
The overtime period was all Binghamton, registering three shots and the eventual game-winner from Ceci. Da Costa won the faceoff clean back to Tyler Eckford, who laid a pass over to Ceci and he one-timed it past Hackett for the game-winner.
The same two teams square off again on Saturday, Nov. 9 as the action shifts to the Southern tier for Game 2 of the home-and-home series at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start with all the action being carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.