BINGHAMTON – Chris Conner scored late to propel the Binghamton Devils to a 5-4 win over the visiting Toronto Marlies in front of over 4,000 fans at Floyd L Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday evening.
Toronto grabbed the early lead just 1:37 into the first period. Joseph Duszak tapped a quick pass back to Pontus Aberg who skated around waiting for an open space. Aberg moved to the top of the offensive zone circle and sent a wrist shot past the glove of Gilles Senn to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. Aberg’s 18th of the season was assisted by Duszak and Teemu Kivihalme.
The Devils tied the game up at one with 8:31 remaining in the first frame. Mikhail Maltsev’s initial shot was denied and landed on the stick of Chris Conner out in front. Conner sent a quick pass over to an open Maltsev waiting at the bottom of the right circle and he fired a one timer by the glove of Parker Gahagen for his 10th of the season. Assists on the play were credited to Conner and Fabian Zetterlund and the game was tied at one after 20 minutes.
Binghamton got the second stanza off to a quick start with a shorthanded goal, tallying their first lead of the game just 57 seconds into the period. Ben Street tried launching a shot at the net that was rebounded back out by Gahagen. Nathan Bastian rushed in after Street and finished off the play by ripping a slap shot past Gahagen for his 13th of the season. Street picked up the primary assist and Julian Melchiori logged the secondary.
The Marlies answered four minutes later with Aberg’s second goal of the game. Aberg’s solid connection with the puck outside the left wing circle trickled over the shoulder of Senn for a game-tying goal at two. Kevin Gravel and Michael Kapla registered the assists on the play at 5:01 of the second period.
Two minutes later, the Devils regained the lead with Janne Kuokkanen’s 13th of the season and first as a member of the Devils. Egor Sharangovich brought the puck down the right side and tapped a short pass up to Conner. Conner sent a backwards pass over to Kuokkanen waiting on the left side of the net and he popped it in to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Conner and Sharangovich tallied the assists on the play.
Once again, Toronto responded to tie the game after two periods. Riley Woods put home his first of the year from the hash marks with assists from Kristians Rubins and Mac Hollowell. The goal came with 5:13 left in the period and the and the game was tied 3-3 to start the third. Shots after two periods favored the Devils, 23-16.
Street put Binghamton back on top with his 14th goal of the season. On the power play, Colton White slid a pass over to Brett Seney in the right-wing circle who shoveled a quick pass from the hash marks over to Street. At 3:25 into the third, Street launched a shot from the hash marks into the net to put the Devils up 4-3. White and Seney registered the assists on the play.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued when two minutes later, the Marlies tied it up once again. Egor Korshkov brought the puck down and sent a short pass back to Tanner MacMaster who connected with Gravel. Gravel took a slap shot through traffic that passed through Senn and tied the game at four. Credited with the assists on the play were Korshkov and McMaster.
With just 3:06 remaining, the Devils regained the lead as Chris Conner put home his 12th of the year. Kuokkanen raced the puck down the right side and played it out front where Conner was waiting to fire it in to give the Devils a 5-4 lead. Kuokannen and Sharangovich logged the assists on the play.
With no time left on the clock, the Marlies scored and it appeared the game was tied and headed to overtime. However, after video review, the goal was waved off and the Devils picked up the victory. Senn stopped 24 shots in the win while Gahagen picked up the loss with 26 saves.