A week ago, the Binghamton Senators were the hottest team in hockey, tying a franchise record with nine straight wins. Today, they’re still hot, but this time it’s because of a nasty flu bug running through the team.
The flu kept Mika Zibanejad and Patrick Wiercioch from playing in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch – the second defeat following the undefeated stretch – and half a dozen others were under the weather. The B-Sens visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday.
“It’s going through the team and hopefully we’ll be close to full health,” said coach Luke Richardson. “Being on the bus and in the dressing room, however you get it, you can’t help it.”
The highlights from Wednesday’s defeat included two power play goals from Mike Hoffman, who has found some chemistry playing on a line with Jakob Silfverberg and Stephane Da Costa.
Hoffman, 23, has five goals and seven assists in 21 games this season. He hasn’t received as much attention as younger prospects Silfverberg and Zibanejad, but he scored 21 goals and 28 assists with Binghamton last season and will at least receive a look by the big-league Senators if the lockout ends.
A former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player of the year, Hoffman was drafted by the Senators in the fifth round, 130th overall, in 2009.
“I don’t think he was forgotten, it’s just that every year there are new guys like Silfverberg which receive a buzz – and Silfverberg deserves it,” said Richardson. “He’s definitely got experience. He had to work his way in, coming out of junior, and it was a big transition. Last year was a big year and early this year, the goals weren’t going in, but he’s a dangerous threat.”
B-Sens notes: Silfverberg continues to lead Binghamton in scoring, with seven goals and nine assists. Goaltender Robin Lehner has an 8-4-1 record – he has suffered the past two losses – and sports a goals against average of 1.92 and save percentage of .942. Defenceman Mark Borowiecki, who should be in the running for a job with the Ottawa Senators if the lockout ever ends, is out with a strained neck, but is expected to return to the lineup next weekend.
Noesen receives big suspension: The Ontario Hockey League has slapped Plymouth Whalers winger and Senators prospect Stefan Noesen with a 10-game suspension. Noesen received the hefty punishment as a result of a charging incident against Tyler Hore of the Oshawa Generals last Saturday. Noesen left his feet before hitting Hore. While Noesen didn’t hit Hore in the head, Hore did suffer an injury on the play. Noesen, who originally received a five-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct on the play, has 17 goals and nine assists in 26 games.