BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was the only reason why Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Binghamton Senators didn’t end in a regulation loss.
And Chad Kolarik was the reason why it ended in an overtime 3-2 win for the Penguins.
After Binghamton dominated most of the game, including overtime, Kolarik won it with a wrist shot from the slot for his second goal of the night.
After jumping out to a 2-0 first period lead, the Penguins allowed Binghamton to take control and even things up 2-2. After the Senators’ scored their second goal at the end of the second period, Zatkoff stopped a flurry of pucks throughout the second half of the game to maintain the tie. In the second and third periods alone, Binghamton outshot the Penguins 27-14, and Zatkoff stopped all but one.
In overtime he was equally sharp, including a heads-up save on a redirect between the legs by Binghamton’s Hugh Jessiman, and later a four-on-two rush that culminated in a save on a David Dziurzynski shot.
Kolarik won it at 8:18 of the overtime period when he rushed up the ice with his linemates, pulled up in the slot and shot. The goal was his fourth overtime tally this year, including three during the regular season.
“Good players are supposed to rise to the top,” Kolarik said. “I know it’s cliche, but it’s the truth. That’s what I get paid for and if I’m not doing it, then I’m not doing my job.”
During regulation, the Penguins scored twice in the first period thanks to hard work and a little deception.
Brian Gibbons connected during the Penguins first power play of the night. Brian Dumoulin gained possession at the point and sent a shot that was veering wide of the net. Gibbons raced into the crease as the puck arrived and redirected it past Binghamton goaltender Nathan Lawson for a 1-0 lead at 10:58.
It was the first postseason goal of Gibbons’ career.
Five minutes later Kolarik made it 2-0 after two Binghamton defenders converged on Trevor Smith as he skated the puck into the low slot. Kolarik snuck in wide open, picked up the lose puck and whipped it over Lawson.
The Senators made it 2-1 on their first power play with less than a minute remaining when Shane Prince skated out in front and backhanded a shot past Jeff Zatkoff.
Binghamton almost evened this up when rookie Cody Ceci blasted a slapshot from the point that deflected off Zatkoff’s skate just after the buzzer sounded to end the period.
While Ceci’s shot didn’t beat the whistle at the end of the first period, the Senators did squeeze a crucial goal in at the end of the second.
While both teams exchanged plenty of scoring chances during an up-tempo period, the Penguins coughed the puck up one too many times.
At the midway point Brian Gibbons allowed a turnover right in front of the net but was bailed out by a nice save from Zatkoff.
With less than three minutes remaining, Binghamton’s Mark Stone stripped the puck away from Philip Samuelsson in front of the net and slid the puck between Zatkoff’s skate and the post to even thing up, 2-2.
Head coach John Hynes excused Samuelsson for the miscue.
“Those things happen in a game. Guys aren’t going to be perfect for 60 minutes,” he said. “But I really like the way he rebounded.”
The Senators pressured in the first half of the third period, but Zatkoff kept them off the board, stopping a Price shot in close and a Brett Lebda point shot through traffic.
The Penguins struggled to get going through the first 12 minutes as Binghamton beat them to pucks, forced turnovers and outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 10-2.
The pressure resulted in a Binghamton power play when Warren Peters was whistled for slashing at 11:05. The Penguins killed off the power play but Binghamton kept the pressure on, but Zatkoff stood tall and stopped all 13 shots in the period to force overtime.
“You knew they were going to push back and we can do a better job nullifying that,” Hynes said. “We bent, but we didn’t break.”
With Game 2 today, the Penguins have little time to savor the overtime win.
“We’ll enjoy it tonight but we can’t be satisfied with one win,” Zatkoff said. “They’re going to want that second one and they’re going to come harder tomorrow.”
- G Scott Darling, D Peter Merth, D Cody Wild, C Chris Barton, RW Christiaan Minella, LW Chris Collins, LW Anton Zlobin, D Harrison Ruopp and LW Matia Marcantuoni were scratched for the Penguins.
- Game 2 will be played today in Binghamton at 5:05 p.m.
Penguins 3 Binghamton 2
Penguins`2`0`0`1 — 3
Binghamton`1`1`0`0 — 2
Scoring – 1. WBS< Brian Gibbons 1 (Dumoulin, Nesbitt) power play 10:58. 2. WBS, Chad Kolarik 1 (Smith, Holzapfel) 16:41. 3. BNG, Shane Prince 1 (Wideman) power play 19:12. Penalties – BNG, Cannone (tripping) 9:16; WBS, Grant (high-sticking) 18:19.
Scoring – 4. Mark Stone 1 unassisted 17:03. Penalties – BNG, Jessiman (slashing) 1:24; BNG, Grant (tripping) 1:56; WBS, Nesbitt (high-sticking) 1:59; WBS, Payerl (holding) 11:58.
Scoring – Penalties – BNG, Dziurzynski (tripping) 7:31; WBS, Peters (slashing) 11:05; BNG, Cowick (cross-checking) 13:40.
Scoring - 5. WBS, Chad Kolarik 2 8:18. Penalties - None.
Shots on goal
Penguins – 11-8-6-8-33
Binghamton – 3-14-13-6-36
Penguins – 1 of 5
Binghamton – 1 of 4
Penguins – Jeff Zatkoff 1-0 (34 saves-36 shots)
Binghamton – Nathan Lawson 0-1 (30-33)
Penguins – G Jeff Zatkoff, D Joey Mormina, D Philip Samuelsson, LW Jayson Megna, C Zach Sill, RW Bobby Farnham
Binghamton – G Nathan Lawson, D Mark Borowiecki, D Cody Ceci, LW Matt Puempel, C Stephane Da Costa, RW Mark Stone
1.WBS, Chad Kolarik (two goals) 2. WBS, Jeff Zatkoff (34 saves) 3. BNG, Nathan Lawson (30 saves)
Referee – Darcy Burchell, Keith Kaval. Linesmen – Jim Harper, Jud Ritter
Attendance – 3,501