B-Sens sink Pirates, move to conf. finals

2011 Calder Cup Playoffs

Jim O’Brien set the tone with a goal just 25 seconds after the opening face-off, and Binghamton used that momentum to soar all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday with a 3-0 road win over Portland in Game 6 of the teams’ division final series.

The Senators improved to a remarkable 6-1 on the road this postseason and captured the Atlantic Division Finals by a 4-2 margin. Binghamton is off to the conference finals for the first time since 2003 and will battle either Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or Charlotte for a berth in the 2011 Calder Cup Finals.

Defenseman Jared Cowen, drafted ninth overall by Ottawa in 2009, picked up an assist 25 seconds into his AHL playoff debut when he helped out on O’Brien’s marker.

Zack Smith stretched Binghamton’s advantage to 2-0 with a power play goal midway through the second period, and Kaspars Daugavins sealed the victory with a late empty-netter.

Daugavins finished with a goal and a helper on the night, and Senators rookie goaltender Robin Lehner bounced back from a rough outing in Game 5 of the series to make 36 saves for his first shutout of the postseason.

The Senators, taking part in the postseason for the first time since 2005, will continue their impressive run at least one more round. Binghamton was on the blink of elimination in the division semifinals, trailing Manchester 3-1 before rallying for three straight wins and the series.

Portland was eliminated from the postseason on home ice for the first time since a qualifying-round loss to Manitoba in 2003.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E5-Binghamton Senators || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Binghamton 3, PORTLAND 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Binghamton 5, PORTLAND 3
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland 3, BINGHAMTON 2
Game 4 – Mon., May 2 – BINGHAMTON 6, Portland 1
Game 5 – Tue., May 3 – Portland 6, BINGHAMTON 2
Game 6 – Fri., May 6 – Binghamton 3, PORTLAND 0