The Binghamton Senators first playoff game in six years did not go as planned. Binghamton was stymied for much of the night by Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. He stopped 34 Binghamton shots in a 2-1 win at Manchester.
“I thought he played very well,” said Kleinendorst of Zatkoff. “But I also felt like there are some things we neeed to do to make his life just a little more difficult. We’re gonna have to do a better job of getting traffic in front of the net.”
Binghamton starter Barry Brust did his best to keep his team in the game, as has been the case for much of the year. Unfortunately, he had to deal with a lot of traffic of his own, thanks to the Manchester offensive rush.
Brust faced nine shots in a scoreless first period. The B-Sens took 12, which included a 5-on-3 chance that lasted 1:37. Zatkoff and the Manchester penalty kill were able to close the door on that chance. Definitely an opportunity lost.
“Five-on-three’s are very important,” said Kleinendorst. “And it’s absolutely amazing that when you get one, especially an extended one and you let it get away from you, how often it coes back to bite you.”
In all, Binghamton’s league-leading power-play came up empty on six chances against Manchester’s penalty killers.
Machester broke on top at the 2:19 mark of the second when Patrick Mullen broke in, faking a shot on Brust. Brust went down expecting a shot that never came. Instead, Mullen passed the puck to Corey Elkins who buried it into an open net.
The eventual game winner came with 3:35 to go in the game. With Colin Greening in the sin bin for hooking, Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis beat Brust in close, to make it 2-0.
Binghamton’s Ryan Potulny broke up Zatkoff’s shutout bid with 38.4 seconds left. Binghamton had pulled Brust for the extra attacker shortly before the goal.
“As the game went on, I felt we got stronger,” said Potulny. “At this point in the season, you don’t make any real big changes. You just play your game and play it a little better. Kurt put it best when he said after a win or a loss; we don’t get too high on ourselves or too low on ourselves. Once our head hits the pillow tonight, we get ready for tomorrow and we forget about it.”
“It was a good game and it could’ve gone either way,” said Kleinendorst. “I think we played hard, but we can be better. We know and I’ve seen these guys play enough to know exactly what we’re capable of. I don’t think we played poorly, but I know we can play better and I know we have to play better.”
B-Sens @ Manchester gamesheet
Game two will be played tonight in Manchester at 7:00 PM.