Saturday, March 8, 2014
By TOM ROBINSON Special to the Press Herald
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Portland Pirates were effective in setting up camp directly in front of Binghamton goalie Ben Bishop early Friday night.
WHO: Pirates at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
WHEN: 7:05 p.m.
When that was unproductive, the Pirates moved closer -- too close at times.
Even with enough contact on Bishop to draw three penalties, the Pirates could not rattle the Senators' goalie, who made 40 saves to extend a pair of winning streaks in a 6-1 rout.
The Pirates were called for two goaltender interference penalties and another penalty for slashing Bishop, who won his fifth straight to help the Senators run the league's longest winning streak to nine games.
Pat Cannone, who also had an assist and a fight when the game turned rough late, and Patrick Wiercioch scored two goals each for Binghamton.
The Senators (13-4-1-1) took over sole possession of second place in the American Hockey League's East Division by putting together a strong response after Brendan Shinniman opened the scoring for the Pirates 6:10 into the game.
"I liked the start of our game a lot," Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. "I thought our first period was excellent.
"We came and played the way we wanted to play. Unfortunately, we got away from it."
Bishop has made the most of an opportunity after an injury to Robin Lehner, the most valuable player of the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs. The 6-foot-7 Bishop, a three-year starter at the University of Maine from 2005-08, has spent parts of three seasons in the National Hockey League.
"He was good, especially in that first 30 minutes of the game when we were pushing," Edwards said. "Then, early in the third when it was 3-1, he made a couple of saves where if one of them goes in for us, it changes the game."
While Bishop thrived in heavy traffic, Mark Visentin struggled for the Pirates.
Visentin got the start while Chad Johnson was unavailable because of a lower body injury. Recently added rookie Mike Lee dressed as the backup.
Shinniman deflected an Alexandre Bolduc pass to give the Pirates a lead that lasted just 29 seconds.
Cannone scored unassisted from a tough angle on a shot that went off Visentin.
The Senators broke the game open in the third period, taking a 4-1 lead on a shot that Visentin didn't try to contest after thinking play was being stopped.
"On that one, our goaltender gets hit with the net," Edwards said. "He assumed it was off its moorings, but he can't do that."
Edwards said the most serious damage was done in the second period. Cannone scored his second goal at the end of a four-on-two rush, and Hugh Jessiman was left alone for a rebound goal.
"We gave them a two-goal lead and it's hard for us to chase the game from there," Edwards said. "There was about a seven-minute stretch where we totally got away from the way we play, and they capitalized."
The teams combined for 96 penalty minutes in the third period, which ended with four players from each team in the locker room.
"We've got to finish that game better than that," Edwards said.