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Hedlund’s OT Goal Lifts Senators

January 16, 2004 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Binghamton Senators News Release

Andy Hedlund’s power play goal 2:16 into overtime lifted the Binghamton Senators to a 4-3 win over the Albany River Rats Friday in front of 3,869 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

The win broke the Sens’ three-game winless skid (0-2-1) and lifted the club into a share of fifth place with the Norfolk Admirals, who come into town tomorrow night for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff with Binghamton following a 3-2 overtime loss at Lowell.

Despite the sudden death heroics, it was Albany that got the ball rolling just 59 seconds into the game to take their only lead of the night on a Craig Darby marker.

Sens goaltender Billy Thompson (27 saves) poked a rolling puck away from Steve Kariya up the slot, but it trailed right on to the stick of Darby, who sent his team-leading 14th of the year past Thompson.

The Sens charged back with two goals in a 1:45 span to take a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

Brooks Laich redirected a Brad Tapper centering feed of the left wing boards past Ari Ahonen (23 saves) for his 7th of the season to tie the game at 5:18.

Binghamton then moved ahead for the first time with defenseman Andy Hedlund in the penalty box for slashing.

Steve Bancroft (two assists) ripped a clearing pass of the near wing that glanced off of a glass support and onto the stick of a breaking Serge Payer at the Binghamton line.

As Payer gained speed through center, he threaded a tape to tape pass ahead for Denis Hamel (a goal and an assist), who broke around the defense on the left wing and tucked a slick shot past Ahonen for a 2-1 advantage at 7:03 of the opening period.

Arpad Mihaly bumped the Sens’ lead up to 3-1 with his third of the year at 8:55 of the second on assists by Chris Kelly and Hamel.

But the River Rats struck late in the second period to draw to within one when Tuomas Pihlman sailed a hard wrister past Thompson with 2:17 left in the middle period.

Albany then set the stage for overtime when Adrian Foster poked in a loose puck to the right of the Binghamton cage off of a scramble at 15:32.

The Sens weren’t out of the woods as they were shorthanded for the final two minutes when Hedlund tripped up Kariya and sent off by referee Ryan Fraser.

The penalty kill came through in getting Hedlund off the hook and a bench minor for two many men by the River Rats 1:38 into overtime set the stage for the defenseman’s game-winner.

With the Sens very deliberate in handling the puck in the offensive zone, perimeter passing from Kelly to Julien Vauclair and over to Hedlund in the left wing circle set up Binghamton’s only shot in the extra period.

Hedlund drilled Vauclair’s feed past Ahonen on the short side for the club’s 17th win of the year to set up Saturday’s divisional match against Norfolk.

Albany outshot Binghamton 30-27 while the Rats went 0x5 on the power play. The Sens’ game-winner in overtime was their only man-up success in seven chances.

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