The Phantoms and Senators played a very evenly-matched opening 20 minutes on Saturday night, with Binghamton coming out with extra energy trying to end their tenure in New York with a win. Despite outshooting Lehigh Valley 11-7, it would be the Phantoms who struck first.
With B-Sens rookie defenseman Andreas Englund off for a hold with just 3:08 left to play, the Phantoms went to work. Binghamton played their penalty kill perfectly for the first 40 seconds, then had a minor slip. Blown coverage at the offensive blue line allowed Andy Miele to fly into the zone.
Corban Knight, who was the OT hero on Friday, found the streaking Miele with a perfectly placed pass, giving him an open lane from the top of the near side dot to walk in. Miele did so, and deked Chris Driedger out before sliding the puck into the open cage to make it 1-0. The B-Sens got their own man advantage opportunity to tie the game with 1:12 to go, but failed to score before time expired.
Lehigh Valley killed off the remaining 48 seconds of the minor penalty to Radel Fazleev to start the second, and used the momentum to extend their lead. Off another zone entry, Scott Laughton found Taylor Leier in the slot with a tape-to-tape pass from the point. Leier skated left and shot right, fooling Driedger with a wristed to make it 2-0.
The Phantoms went down a man again at the 9:52 mark, with Mark Alt off for a tripping minor. While on the PK, a blocked shot at the point of their own zone broke the Phantoms out into the middle of the ice. At the red line, Leier got the puck through a maze of bodies to Laughton to spring him on a breakaway. Laughton got in tight on Driedger, and went to his backhand to pop a shot top shelf to make it 3-0.
The B-Sens ended up getting two late power play chances to at least try to get back into the game. Using their three man advantages during the period, Binghamton had 15 shots on goal compared to the Phantoms four, but Lehigh Valley had the 3-0 lead going into the final frame. The Sens had another carry over man advantage, this time worth 1:49.
Lehigh Valley started the final period off by killing off the remaining time on the penalty to Miele. Ouellette remained the story, calmly turning aside the 28 shots he had faced to the 15:53 left to play mark of the third. The B-Sens held the Phantoms in their own end for about 50 seconds straight with 15 minutes left to play in the third, forcing Ouellette to make more big stops, including one that just went off the knob of his stick and over the net to keep the Sens off the board.
Binghamton finally solved Ouellette at the 7:52 mark, scoring on their 39th shot. Nick Paul came through the slot and dropped a pass off to Casey Bailey at the near-side dot. Bailey wasted little time, picking the top glove-side corner on Ouellette to make it 3-1.
Lehigh Valley reestablished their three-goal lead just 2:20 later, with Danick Martel finishing off a centering pass from behind the net by Greg Carey to make it 4-1. The Phantoms took all momentum the Sens were trying to take back, going on the power play 30 seconds after their fourth goal. Even though Binghamton killed off the minor, a quiet Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena told the story.
The Senators made a late push with a power play in the final two minutes, but despite putting 46 shots on goal, the Sens fell to the Phantoms by a final of 4-1. Ouellette made 45 saves in the victory, making his case to be the Game 1 starter next weekend.
Hershey beat Providence in Hershey on Saturday night as well, setting up a huge interstate rivalry matchup in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
1. Martin Ouellette (LV) - 45 saves on 46 shots, Win
2. Taylor Leier (LV) - 1G, 1A, +2
3. Casey Bailey (BNG) - 1G, -1