The AHL heat devils senators sound tigers checkers wolves griffins bulldogs wolfpack bears wild monsters phantoms monarchs admirals admirals barons pirates bruins americans icehogs rampage falcons icecaps crunch stars marlies comets penguins sharks Home

B-Sens knot Finals on O'Brien's OT goal

May 29, 2011
JustSports Photography

2011 Calder Cup Playoffs

BINGHAMTON 2, HOUSTON 1 (OT)
Former first-round draft pick Jim O’Brien tallied the game-winning goal on a delayed penalty at 7:54 of overtime as Binghamton earned a 2-1 road win over Houston on Saturday at Toyota Center, evening the 2011 Calder Cup Finals at one game apiece.

Off a broken play in the attacking zone, O’Brien collected a bouncing puck in the right slot and wristed a shot which beat Houston goaltender Matt Hackett five-hole. Erik Condra picked up the lone assist on the play, as O’Brien registered his third goal of the playoffs and first since scoring in Game 6 of the second round vs. Portland.

The 22-year-old O’Brien was drafted 29th overall by Ottawa in 2007 and recorded 24 regular-season goals in 74 games this year after totaling only eight in 76 contests as a rookie in 2009-10.

For the second time in as many games, rookie forward Bobby Butler staked the Senators to a 1-0 first-period lead, this one coming on an early power play just 1:45 after the opening face-off. Butler now shows 12 goals (12-3-15) in 19 games, just two shy of the AHL rookie record for a single postseason.

The Aeros answered a little less than three minutes later on a power play of their own, as rookie forward Casey Wellman buried his sixth goal of the playoffs and third in the past three games (3-0-3). It remained a 1-1 deadlock until O’Brien’s heroics in overtime.

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner turned aside 28 of 29 shots – including a pair of prime scoring chances for Houston in the extra session – to improve to 11-3 in 15 playoff appearances. Matt Hackett took the loss for the Aeros after making 19 saves.

The Senators escaped Houston with a split despite totaling only three goals in the two games after racking up 21 goals in their four-game sweep of Charlotte in the Eastern Conference Finals. Binghamton improved to 9-2 on the road this postseason, while the Aeros lost at home for just the third time (8-3).

Attendance at Toyota Center was 9,002, as the for a second straight night the Aeros welcomed their largest crowd for a playoff game since joining the AHL in 2001-02.

After three off-days, the series will shift to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for Game 3 on Wednesday night. Game 4 is set for Friday, and Game 5 – now assured of being necessary – will be played next Saturday (June 4).

2011 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Fri., May 27 – HOUSTON 3, Binghamton 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 28 – Binghamton 2, HOUSTON 1 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., June 1 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., June 3 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 5 – Sat., June 4 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., June 7 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05
*Game 7 – Thu., June 9 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05