Senators one win away
BINGHAMTON 4, HOUSTON 2
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (theahl.com) ... Zack Smith scored twice and Robin Lehner made 41 saves as Binghamton moved to within one victory of a Calder Cup championship with a 4-2 win over Houston in Game 5 of the AHL Finals on Saturday night.
Attendance for the Senators’ final home game of the 2010-11 season was 4,727 – above capacity at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The scoring opened at 9:19 of the first period during four-on-four play, as Andre Benoit collected the puck, moved down low and hit Corey Locke with a perfect back-door pass.
It was the fourth time in five games of the series that the Senators scored first.
Houston’s fourth line got the Aeros on the board at 11:08 when Jean-Michel Daoust knocked the puck past Lehner to tie the score at 1-1. It was the first goal allowed by Lehner in 97:09 of work.
The Senators went back in front just 69 seconds later, however, as Erik Condra blocked a Houston shot, took off on a breakaway and scored his first goal of the series and fifth of the playoffs.
As the opening frame wound down, Lehner made a sprawling pad save on Jarod Palmer, but moments later Daoust parked himself on the doorstep and tipped home a pass from Marco Scandella, tying the game with 6.3 seconds remaining before intermission.
Houston controlled play for much of the second period, which was scoreless until Zack Smith banged home a bouncing puck during a power play with 8.5 seconds left in the frame. The Senators took a 3-2 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes despite being outshot by a 29-19 margin at that point.
The Aeros continued to press looking for the tie in the third period, but the Senators got some much-needed breathing room when Smith netted his second of the night with just 4:04 to play.
Houston finished the night with a 43-27 edge in shots. The Senators were 1-for-4 on the power play; the Aeros were 0-for-4.
Both teams played most of the game with just five defensemen, as Houston lost Jared Spurgeon and Binghamton lost Jared Cowen early on.
The Senators take a 3-2 series lead back to Houston, with two chances at Toyota Center to capture the city of Binghamton’s first championship. Game 6 is set for Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. ET.
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 2, BINGHAMTON 1
Game 4 – Fri., June 3 – BINGHAMTON 3, Houston 0
Game 5 – Sat., June 4 – BINGHAMTON 4, Houston 2
Game 6 – Tue., June 7 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05
*Game 7 – Thu., June 9 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05
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