ALBANY, N.Y. (February 12, 2005). Every once in a while, teams have games where nothing goes right. This was one of those games for the Albany River Rats. They wound up being pummeled, 7-0, by the Binghamton Senators.
The most excitement was midway through the third period when a melee, sparked by a slash on Rob Skrlac by Binghamton goaltender, Ray Emery, delayed play for an extended period while the referee added up the penalties. The River Rats, already trailing, 5-0, were on the wrong end of the penalty card, giving Binghamton two minutes of two-man advantage at that point.
Ari Ahonen, who had been sharp lately, and who had four straight (including a 4-0 blanking of the Senators in Binghamton two weeks earlier), had an off night.
The Senators opened the scoring at 5:25 when, after an extended sequence in which the Rats were unable to clear the puck, Charlie Stephens took a shot from the goal line that squeezed between the Albany goaltender and the pipes. Sens' promising rookie, Brandon Bochenski, found paydirt through the five-hole with a minute and change left in the first period to stake Binghamton to a two-goal lead.
The crushing goal, as far as Albany was concerned, was a short-handed tally by Pat Kavanagh early in the second period when Ahonen committed too early and left himself vulnerable.
Josh Langfield roofed one on a partial breakaway late in the second. Greg Watson found himself alone in front a few minutes later.
By then, the Rats trailed by five goals and the game was effectively over. Earlier, Senators' heavy-weight, Brian McGratton refused several invitations from Rob Skrlac to drop the gloves. That probably would have been an even match of heavey-weights. Instead, a melee erupted midway through the third period after Ray Emery slashed Skrlac. The Albany forward dropped the gloves and began to pummel Emery. Everyone else paired up and fights ensued across the ice. Ari Ahonen eventually joined in after his players, out-manned in the Binghamton zone, were taking hits left and right.
By the time referee Chris Brown toted up the numbers, he declared that the Rats would be down two men for two minutes and one man for an extra three minutes. The Senators capitalized with a two-man advantage when Brian Pothier rifled one from the high slot. Then, Denis Hamel cashed in after Adrian Foster was called for hooking later in the game.
The three stars: third, to Brian Pothier of Binghamton, with a goal and an assist; second, to Charlie Stephens of the Senators, with one marker and one helper; and, first, to Josh Langfield with a goal and an assist.
The PIMs added up to 115 for Albany; 94 for Binghamton. The Senators were 2 for 6 with the man advantage and added a short-handed goal. The Rats were 0-for-2 on the power play.
Scott Clemmensen finished the game for the Rats (after Ari Ahonen was ejected at 10:18 of the third, after the melee), and Billy Thompson completed the net-minder duties for Ray Emery (who was also tossed).
The game ended the Senators' seven-game losing skid, while also ending the Rats' three-game winning streak.
In the version I heard Skrlac crosschecked Emery after getting slashed and Emery/Skrlac dropped the gloves, each landing a few, no pummeling.[/QUOTE]
Trust me; I was there. It was the only thing that the Albany fans had to celebrate last night. The number of punches landed was reminiscent of the old Sasha Lakovic vs. Martin Laitre (Adirondack Red Wings) fights when Albany fans characterized Laitre as a "punching bag".