Clifton Park, New York

Friday, March 7, 2008 - Sunday, March 9, 2008

It was finally time for states. A long hockey season culminated in the New York State Squirt Championship in Clifton, New York. For some reason (and we've run into this before), the people that organize these tournaments forget that these kids have school on Fridays. Hence, the Binghamton Junior Sens first game against the Niagara Purple Eagles was at 12:30 on Friday. We left on Friday morning, making it to the rink in more than enough time. Michael didn't play in this game. The Sens dropped this one, 6-2.

After the game, we went to the Walden Galleria to walk around for a while before checking into the hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Suites in Clifton Park, a short drive from the rink. At night, we went to the Red Robin in Halfmoon for dinner and then back to the hotel to hang out.

Saturday morning we faced the team from Saratoga. Mike started the game and played out the first period. The kids from Saratoga proved to be a pretty tough team to keep up with, and the Sens lost this game 10-3 when all was said and done. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to hang out before the afternoon game.

The second game on Saturday was against the Long Island Edge. Michael started this game as well, and played until halfway through the second period, saving 16 of the 20 shots that Long Island took. In that same amount of time, the team in front of him managed to take just one shot on net in the entire first period. The other goalie for the Sens finished the game, and gave up an equal number of goals enroute to an 8-1 Binghamton loss.

It was pouring rain when we came out of the game, so we stopped quick at the Outback for some curbside takeaway before going back to the hotel and resting before our final game of the weekend.

The Albany River Rats had moved three of their 'home' games this season to the Glens Falls Civic Center, and it just so happened that on this night they were 'home' against the Binghamton Senators. Looking for something to do, and not wanting to just sit around the hotel room, we made the 30 mile drive up the northway to Glens Falls. For a good many seasons, the Adirondack Red Wings called this rink home, and it was obvious to us that this community was still hungry for, and deserved, AHL hockey. The Glens Falls Civic Center was literally packed to the rafters, standing room only the keyword for this night.

We stayed for the first and second periods, but the weekend and a lingering cold finally caught up to Michael, so we left to make the trek back to Clifton Park at the start of the third period.

As a side note to our 'experience' at the Glens Falls Civic Center, let me say this. The Albany River Rats have been one of the worst teams in the American Hockey League for years, both in on ice performance and support in the stands. It's obvious the crowd in Glens Falls was made up of four types of fans - those that drove from Binghamton (or were there to see Glens Falls native Shawn Weller play for Binghamton), the die hard Albany fans (of which, as there has been for years, made up a small minority of about 100, beer swilling drunk baffoons that have jumped on the Rats bandwagon now that they were actually doing well on the ice (where have they been in years past?), and many many hockey enthusiasts from Glens Falls. I had a chance to speak with at least three of these fans from Glens Falls - one an older gent who had worked at the GFCC for the better part of 15 years, one a middle aged guy that had season tickets for the Adirondack Red Wings every year they were in existence, and a younger guy who had brought his three year old to his first hockey game. One theme rang true - they desparately want another team back in the AHL, and it made them SICK that the Albany River Rats were calling the GFCC 'home'. I agree with them wholeheartedly on both counts, and after some interaction with the 'fans' from Albany I can only imagine why they wouldn't want them in their building as the 'home' team.

On Sunday morning we stopped at the IHOP in Clifton Park before making the final leg of our journey home.

The following are blog entries made by Stan Hudy, a sportswriter with the Saratogian and Community News.

"The Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles did everything they had to do to win and the Binghamton Jr. Senators didn't...just ask their respective coaches. The No. 1 team from the West put up six goals in its opening contest versus two from the No. 2 team in the Central zone and appears to be one of the teams to beat Sunday at the New York State Amateur Hockey Association tournament in Clifton Park. "We told them they had to come out early and get a couple in," Niagara coach John Nichols said. "If they did that, they would have a good game." The Jr. Purple Eagles saw four different players tally goals and goaltender Jake Nichols turn back 20 of the 22 shots he faced Friday afternoon. The focus for the Western New York champions was simple, move the puck against your opponent. "We had 83 passes on net," Nichols said. "We know that they were moving the puck." Niagara was led by Nicholas Kindzia and Andrew Logar with two goals apiece and Domenic Senese tallied two assists on the day. The Purple Eagles' Dakota Becker opened the scoring with a goal at 3:37 of the first and the Jr. Senators knotted the contest at one apiece on Nate Walker's goal midway through the second period. The lead was negated 71 seconds later when Robert Nappo scored an unassisted goal for the 2-1 second period lead. Kindzia would hook up with Senese for the first of his two tallies with 3:21 left in the period for a 3-1 lead. The duo would open the third, finding each other again for a 4-1 lead at 3:17. Binghamton refused to go quietly when Walker scored his second goal of the afternoon, this time, unassisted, cutting into the lead, 4-2, with 6:18 remaining in the contest. Logar put the contest away with his two deposits into the net, both on breakaways against Jr. Senator netminder Spencer Root. "We wanted to win this first game and wanted to go out with a lot of energy," Logar said. "We knew from past experience that the first game counts a lot and we need to get as many points as we can early." Binghamton coach Eric Miles knew his youngsters had a tough draw early on, but was disappointed with the Jr. Senators efforts. "I don't feel that we played particularly well," Miles said. "We were in it for two periods." Binghamton put 22 shots in the Niagara goalie, but couldn't break through enough. "We had chances," Miles said. "We had pucks in front of the net the we didn't get to. We didn't crash the net and didn't have our sticks on the ice. Hopefully, we'll do better tomorrow. The Jr. Senators will take on Saratoga at 8 a.m. and the Long Island Edge at 1:30 p.m. Saturday."

"Saratoga Blue Knight assistant coach Terry O’Brien referred to his squad as “the little engine that could” throughout they year. The 10-year-old squirt team may have just been upgraded to “locomotive” after running through the Binghamton Jr. Senators, 10-4, in the second day of the New York State Amateur Hockey Association squirt state championship at the Clifton Park Arena. Saratoga was led by Tommy Pelletier who scored a career-high five goals, including the first and final goal for the Blue Knights. “Coach said that we could beat this team and I told my dad this morning that I was going to try my hardest,” Pelletier said. The career day started out innocently enough for Pelletier, a goal at 2:11 of the first period courtesy of an assist from Danny Barlok. Barlok would tally his first goal of the contest at 4:50 of the period from an assist by Jake Fauler, a power play goal, for the 2-0 lead. Elliot Hungerford put Saratoga up 3-0 and in the driver’s seat with his tally at 9:27 of the first, assisted by Aaron Sterngass. The Blue Knights gave the first signs of the contest being a rout when J.T. Rafferty scored a short-handed goal with an assist from Hungerford. Pelletier ended the period the same way he started, with a goal, 30 seconds left in the first with help from line mates, Josh Dagle and Bryant Aylward for the 5-0 lead. “Sometimes when you get a cushion, whether it’s 10-year-olds or in the NHL,” Terry O’Brien said. “You let up.” Saratoga almost played into the hands of Binghamton, who took advantage of the Blue Knights scoreless second period and came back with three goals of their own. “We changed goalies, hoping that would jump start things,” Jr. Senators coach Eric Miles said. “It worked..a little.” Binghamton’s Nate Walker scored the first of his two goals 3:41 into the second period. Elena Shelepak cut a little deeper into the lead with a goal at 5:03 courtesy of assists from Ryan Baileys and Matthew Benko. The Jr. Senators proved they were serious when Walker scored a short-handed goal at 10:17 of the second, making it a contest, 5-3. The Binghamton surge forced the Blue Knight defense to re-focus. “When they were coming back we knew we had to try to get more goals,” Blue Knight defenseman Brady Campbell said. “We had to stay back more and stop them from getting more energy.” The squirt defenseman took advantage of the early 5-0 lead. “You can’t relax, but it gives you more room to play than a 3-2 lead,” Campbell said. “Then, one mistake could give them the game.” In the third, the Blue Knights had seen enough and Pelletier took matters into his own hands. He added another hat trick to his resume, scoring at 3:51 of the third from an assist by Bryant Aylward taking back a 6-3 lead. “After my second goal I was thinking hat trick,” Pelletier admitted. “When I scored my third, I still wanted to score some more goals. I was thinking one more goal, maybe.” Rafferty tacked on his second goal of the game at 5:10 of the third with help from Jake Fauler and Brendan Coffey for the 7-3 lead. Pelletier upped his career high to four goals at 6:59 of the third when Jake Fauler tallied his own achievement, a playmaker, with his third assist on the afternoon. Line mate Danny Barlok was there to share the goal with his second assist of the morning. Binghamton still showed signs of life when Jeremy Wilber scored his first goal of the game with 8:38 left in the contest, cutting the lead in half, 8-4. Saratoga’s Devin Caples added his name to the scoresheet, scoring from Fauler’s fourth assist of the game at 9:15 of the third and Pelletier added one more for his personal record book with an unassisted tally with less than two minutes left. Blue Knights goalie, Danny Hobbs earned his first win of the tournament, turning back eight shots in the morning contest. Jr. Senator goalies Michael Kuruc and Spencer Root combined for 13 saves. Saratoga waits to face Niagara 7 p.m. tonight and Binghamton will face Long Island at 1:30 p.m."

"The Long Island Edge secured its spot in Sunday's semifinal with an 8-0 win over the Binghamton Jr. Senators Saturday afternoon at the Clifton Park Arena. Long Island was unbeaten in pool play, dropping Saratoga, 3-1 and tying Niagara, 2-2, Friday night. The Edge will face the Buffalo Bisons 1 p.m. Sunday morning in the tournament semifinal. The championship semifinal is set for 7 p.m. Long Island scored a flurry of goals late in the first period, putting up four goals in the final three minutes, taking a commanding lead. Ty Murphy opened with a power play goal with 2:51 left in the first. Austin Plansker followed with assists from Henry Hitchcock and Michael Landolphi with 1:21 left. 11 seconds later Landolphi tallied his first goal of the game from an assist by Colton Schnall. Jake Zimmerman rounded out the first period scoring with an assist to Ty Murphy. Andrew Cunningham scored a powerplay goal in the second period, giving the Edge a 5-0 lead. Matt Hirsch scored twice in the third period, the first from an assist by Cunningham at 4:01 and from assists by Michael Brzozowski and Thomas Henry. Schnall rounded out the perfect round robin record for Long Island an unassisted goal at 8:02. Binghamton utilized both its goalies for the second time on the day with Michael Kuruc 13 saves and Spencer Root credited with five saves. Long Island's Peter Kirgis and Angelo Perri combined for eight saves and the shutout."

Dwyer's Overtime Goal Stuns Senators 2-1 March 8, 2008 - River Rats Win First Game In Glens Falls In Two Years GLENS FALLS, NY - Pat Dwyer scored a highlight-reel overtime goal lifting the Albany River Rats to a 2-1 win over the Binghamton Senators Saturday night, snapping a five-game losing streak at the Glens Falls Civic Center; the win was Head Coach Tom Rowe's 150th career AHL victory. Playing in their final regular season game in Glens Falls, the River Rats were looking jump on the Senators early. Albany received four-straight power plays, including a 40 second five-on-three, but they could not cash in on their chances. For the seventh straight game the River Rats did not score the first goal of the game as Justin Mapletoft came out of the penalty box, collected a clearing pass and snapped a shot across the body of goaltender Michael Leighton, hitting off the inside of the far post and into the net at 10:32. Albany out-shot the B-Sens 16-3 in the first period, but trailed 1-0 after twenty minutes. After a scoreless second period, the River Rats finally got on the board and cracked the armor of goaltender Jeff Glass who was fantastic in goal for Binghamton. Mike Angelidis fired a shot from along the left boards near the hash mark that beat Glass to the far post at 2:35, assisted by Pat Dwyer and Nicolas Blanchard, to level the score at 1-1. The two teams battled throughout the final period, but neither could find the game-winner in the third. Things got tense in the final minute of regulation when Jamie Johnson was whistled for an accidental high-sticking penalty, giving the Senators a late power play opportunity. The advantage carried over into overtime where the B-Sens had a full minute of a four-on-three power play, but they could not get the puck through Leighton and the stingy Albany penalty killers. Two minutes after Johnson’s penalty expired Steve Ward intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and found Pat Dwyer at the blue line. Dwyer skated down the left wing, cut back at the offensive blue line and slid the puck between two Binghamton defenders, then unleashed a twisted wrist shot from the slot that blazed past the blocker of Glass at 3:46. The 5,429 fans erupted into a frenzy as the River Rats bench mobbed Dwyer in the offensive zone in celebration of their first win at the Glens Falls Civic Center in six games over the last two years. Michael Leighton continued his mastery over Binghamton as he stopped 24-of-25 shots for his 24th win of the season, his sixth win against the Senators, helping Albany improve to 37-25-1-3 on the year. Jeff Glass was outstanding in goal for the B-Sens; making 32 saves on 34 shots as Binghamton fell to 28-27-6-4. Albany was 0-for-7 on the power play during the game, while the Senators were 0-for-2. The River Rats will return to the ice on Wednesday, March 12th as they host the Portland Pirates for a 7:00 pm face off at the Times Union Center. Albany and Portland have split the first two games of their four-game season series, with the home team taking each game. Partial season tickets packages and flex tickets for the 2007-08 River Rats season are on sale now. For more information please contact the Albany River Rats at (518) 487-2244 or online at

Binghamton Senators 1 at Albany River Rats 2 (OT) - Status: Final OT Mar 8, 2008 - Glens Falls Civic Center 1st Period Scoring - 1. Binghamton, J. Mapletoft (15) (L. Nycholat, S. Weller) 10:32 Penalties - J. McKenzie Bng (holding) 3:19, J. Mapletoft Bng (hooking) 8:23, A. Nikulin Bng (hooking) 10:50, M. Kinch Bng (hooking) 12:10, C. Borer Alb (holding) 16:52, M. Carkner Bng (roughing) 18:33, M. Angelidis Alb (roughing) 18:33 2nd Period Scoring - No Scoring Penalties - G. Waugh Bng (fighting) 4:50, M. Angelidis Alb (fighting) 4:50, D. Bois Bng (tripping) 12:35, S. Weller Bng (roughing) 18:58 3rd Period Scoring - 2. Albany, M. Angelidis (9) (P. Dwyer, N. Blanchard) 2:35 Penalties - J. Hennessy Bng (slashing) 4:32, J. Johnson Alb (high-sticking) 19:01 OT Period Scoring - 3. Albany, P. Dwyer (11) (S. Ward) 3:46 Penalties - No Penalties BNG Shots: 4 6 14 1 TOTAL: 25 ALB Shots: 16 9 7 2 TOTAL: 34 Power Play Conversion Binghamton Senators 0-2. Albany River Rats 0-7. Goaltenders Binghamton Senators Glass 14-15-4 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 63:34 SV: 32 GA: 2 [L] Albany River Rats Leighton 24-19-3 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 63:46 SV: 24 GA: 1 [W] Start : 7:01 PM End : 9:19 PM Attendance : 5429 Referee I: Chris Brown (86) Referee II: LINESMAN I: Steeve Lemay (64) LINESMAN II: Mike Emanatian (69)

Total Mileage: 402 Miles

[Home] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011]

Page Last Updated: January 3, 2011