The Phantoms notched their second shootout victory of the season by defeating their division rivals, the Binghamton Senators, 3-2 last night at the Wachovia Spectrum. The Phantoms remain on top of the East Division with a 22-8-1-0 record and 45 points.
The Senators (15-3-3-2, 35 points) haven't won a game at the Wachovia Spectrum since January 12, 2005, but they posted the only goal of the first period. Defenseman Tomas Kudelka capitalized on a goaltender interference penalty against Steve Downie by ripping a one-timer from the point past Phantoms goalie Brian Boucher. Former Phantoms winger Niko Dimitrakos was credited with the assist.
After several failed power play attempts in the second period, defenseman Oskars Bartulis evened things up for the Phantoms during even strength with just over two minutes left by putting the puck behind Senators goalie Jeff Glass for his first of the season.
Just 25 seconds into the third, Senators winger Shawn Weller took a pass from Dimitrakos to post his first of the season and put the Senators in the lead 2-1.
However, the Phantoms soon tied it up again at the halfway point of the third period when winger Jared Ross forced the rebound past Glass, notching his 10th goal of the season.
During the overtime session, Phantoms goalie Brian Boucher sprawled out to poke check Dimitrakos after he successfully got behind the Phantoms defense and went to the net alone.
“Obviously when a guy like that who has been in the NHL gets a breakaway, you have to play close attention because you know he can put the puck in the net,” Boucher said. “We got lucky there.”
After the scoreless overtime period, Phantoms defenseman Alexandre Picard and winger Darren Reid scored to give the Phantoms the upper hand while Boucher denied goals from Ilya Zubov, Josh Hennessy, Alexander Nikulin and Justin Mapletoft.
“Whatever the situation is, you have to stay with it during the game [especially] if it comes down to a shootout,” Boucher said. “Fortunately I was able to make some saves and we scored some goals to get the win.”
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Phantoms head coach Craig Berube. “We played hard and I thought our checkers did a really good job. We were a physical team.”
Boucher made 23 regulation saves and stopped 4 of 5 Binghamton attempts in the shootout. Alexander Picard was awarded the game winning goal in the shootout.
The Phantoms head on a two-game road trip where they will face the second-place East division holding Albany River Rats tomorrow for a mid-afternoon game at the Times Union Center and then head to Hershey to play the Bears on New Year’s Eve at the Giant Center at 5:00.