Senators head home in charge

Ryan Potulny scored twice and Robin Lehner bounced back from a shaky Game 1 outing to post his second shutout of the postseason, leading Binghamton to a 3-0 win over Charlotte on Friday night.

The Senators grabbed a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals, with the series shifting to Binghamton for the next three games.

Lehner (8-2), who allowed three goals on 12 shots in one period of work in Game 1, was solid throughout and made 35 saves to hand the Checkers their third shutout loss in their last seven outings.

After the teams combined for seven goals in the first period of Thursday’s series opener, Game 2 appeared to be headed to the first intermission in a scoreless deadlock until Potulny scored with 43.3 seconds left in the opening frame. Linemates Ryan Keller and Zack Smith earned the assists.

Just 29 seconds into the second period, Potulny tipped home Keller’s centering pass for a power-play goal.

Both teams had some good scoring chances the rest of the way, and the Senators finally lengthened their lead when Bobby Butler converted off a Corey Locke feed with 6:59 left in regulation.

Potulny’s two snipes extend his league-leading totals to 13 goals and 22 points in 15 playoff games. Keller assumed the AHL lead with his 12th and 13th postseason assists.

Mike Murphy, who like Lehner was pulled from Game 1 after he allowed five goals on 15 shots, made 28 saves in Game 2.

The victory was Binghamton’s eighth in a row on the road, one shy of the AHL record.

Game 3 of the series is Tuesday night in Binghamton.

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 3, CHARLOTTE 0
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