BINGHAMTON 7, CHARLOTTE 4
Three players – including Kaspars Daugavins – tallied a goal and two assists apiece as Binghamton started strong and rode the early momentum to a 7-4 road win over Charlotte on Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The teams are right back at it for Game 2 on Friday before the series shifts to Binghamton for Games 3 and 4 next Tuesday and Wednesday.
This series features a pair of prolific offenses, and it didn’t take long for that to go on display as the sides combined for three goals in the first 2:42 of action. AHL MVP Corey Locke put Binghamton on top 1:37 in, and after Brad Herauf tied it at 2:06, Daugavins netted his ninth of the playoffs at the 2:42 mark.
Daugavins has now registered a goal in five of his last six games (7-4-11) and put up a multiple-point effort four times in that span.
The Senators and Checkers combined for seven goals in the first period, and Binghamton emerged with a 4-3 advantage. Despite the fact that Charlotte held a 17-3 shots advantage in the middle frame, Binghamton’s Roman Wick extended his club’s lead to 5-3, and the B-Sens notched two of the three scores in the third period.
Erik Condra and defenseman Andre Benoit joined Daugavins in posting three points (1-2-3) for the Senators, who received goals from seven different players. Ryan Potulny and rookie Bobby Butler also found the back of the net, and Cody Bass chipped in two assists.
Binghamton totaled seven goals – an AHL single-game postseason high – against a Checkers club which had allowed only 10 goals during its entire six-game triumph over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division finals.
It also marked the Senators’ seventh consecutive road victory – two shy of an AHL playoff record – since dropping their postseason opener at Manchester on Apr. 14.
Binghamton rookie goaltender Robin Lehner was pulled after the first period, and Barry Brust stopped 27 of 28 shots in relief. Charlotte’s Mike Murphy also started but didn’t finish the game, surrendering five goals on 15 shots after coming in with the AHL’s top-ranked save percentage (.944).
This marks the Checkers’ first Game 1 loss in their three playoff rounds this spring.
Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E3-Charlotte Checkers vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Thu., May 12 – Binghamton 7, CHARLOTTE 4
Game 2 – Fri., May 13 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 21 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Mon., May 23 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05