BY DARREN DESAULNIERS
If the players who make up the Binghamton Senators want to play more games on Scotiabank Place ice, they’ll need to be a lot better than they were Sunday on that same surface.
The Baby Sens were playing their annual game at Scotiabank Place and 8,427 fans came out to watch them lose 5-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
The only battle the Sens seemed to win all game was a first-period scrap between the Senators’ Francis Lessard and Zack Fitzgerald of the Bulldogs.
Patrick Wiercioch and Jim O’Brien were the only Senators to get a puck past Robert Mayer and into the Hamilton net, but those goals came with the Senators trailing 3-0 and 4-1, respectively.
Frederic St. Denis had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs (6-7-1), while Alexander Avtsin and Joe Callahan had three assists each. Brian Willsie, Joonas Nattinen, Andreas Engqvist and Louis Leblanc had the other goals.
The Senators (5-9-2) have now lost seven straight games.
“What we’ve got is a lot of young players, and when you’ve got a lot of young players it takes a while for those young players to really mature and develop and become good pros,” Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst explained after the game.
“There’s a process to that, and that’s where we are. I think you could rattle off seven veteran players last year that were our core. This year, we really only kind of have two right now (Mark) Parrish and (Tim) Conboy, and Conboy tends to sit out a lot of games so I don’t even know if I can throw him in there right now.”
Add to that the fact that Corey Locke, who led the team in scoring last year, is hurt and according to Kleinendorst will be out for a while. To make matters worse, he had trouble rattling off a handful of players that performed well Sunday.
“I can probably count them on three fingers,” Kleinendorst said.
“Let’s see, (David) Dziurzynski I thought played well. (Mark) Borowiecki I think played well. You know what, after that I don’t know if I could give you a third guy. (Hamilton) bounced back and we knew they’d have a good effort, and they did. But I don’t think we’re going to win if we only have a couple of guys playing up to their potential. It’s not going to cut it.”
Borowiecki, from Kanata, had plenty of family and friends in the stands watching. He also knows what he needs to do in order to be playing in his hometown more than once a year.
“I know what I need to work on. I want to be a complete player and play to my strengths,” Borowiecki said. “I have to make decisions quicker and move the puck quicker and those are the things I’m trying to focus on,”
Corey Cowick, the other local boy on the Senators’ roster from Gloucester and a standout with the Ottawa 67′s, wasn’t too concerned with playing in the big rink. After going back and forth from Binghamton and Elmira of the ECHL, he knows to keep everything in perspective.
“It’s big, but the brass is down in Binghamton all the time too. You don’t think too much of it and when you’re on a four-or five-game losing streak you just want to get a win. It doesn’t matter how you do it or how you look doing it, you just want to get a win,” Cowick said.
“It’s nice playing in front of family and friends for sure, but you want to keep it in the back of your head. It doesn’t matter where you play – in the NHL, the AHL, the East Coast league, it just a matter of trying to stay positive and that’s what I’ve tried to work on this year.”
It’s a work in progress for the whole team.