A Night of Firsts in Binghamton
There were many storylines on Saturday night in Binghamton, as the Devils kicked off their 2018-19 season on home ice against the Toronto Marlies:
-The game marked the head coaching debut for Binghamton’s Mark Dennehy;
-Several New Jersey prospects, including forwards Joey Anderson and Marian Studenic, made their professional debuts;
-Veterans Eric Tangradi, John Ramage and Kurtis Gabriel made their Devils debuts;
-The Marlies picked up right where they left off last season, coming to Binghamton after a huge 7-3 win over the Utica Comets on Friday;
-Marlies goaltender Jeff Glass, signed to an AHL contract on Thursday after both Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard were lost to waiver claims, returned to Binghamton for the first time since he left the Ottawa organization following the 2008-09 season. With goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood still traveling with New Jersey, rookie Cam Johnson got the starting nod for Binghamton.
Opening Night Recap
In the opening period, the two teams combined for five goals. Toronto’s Chris Mueller kicked off the scoring 7:19 into the game, his first of the season. Studenic responded with his first professional tally while on a power play to tie the game at one. Less than 30 seconds later, Sam Gagner scored his first AHL goal since the 2015-16 season to give Toronto the one goal lead back. Colton White answered with his first of the season to re-tie the game at two. Nick Lappin scored his first late in the period to give Binghamton their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Gagner came through for the Marlies early in the middle frame, as he picked up his second of the night on a power play to re-tie the game at three. The back and forth scoring continued as Binghamton’s Nathan Bastian netted his first of the season to put the Devils back up by a goal. Blake Speers added a goal late in the second to put Binghamton ahead 5-3 after 40 minutes.
The Devils were not done with the offense in the third. Bastian tallied his second of the night 27 seconds into the final period for a 6-3 advantage. However, the Marlies refused to surrender quietly, cutting the lead to 6-5 with 10:38 remaining in regulation thanks to goals by Trevor Moore (3rd) and Andreas Borgman (1st). Backup Colton Phinney entered the game for about four minutes due to Johnson’s equipment issues. Johnson returned to the ice in time to pick up his first pro point—an assist on an empty net goal by Blake Pietila, with less than a minute remaining to seal a 7-5 Binghamton win.
In addition to his first pro point, Johnson held on for his first pro win, finishing with 29 saves on 34 shots. Brett Seney and Yegor Yakolev each tallied two assists, while Anderson and fellow rookie Yegor Sharangovich earned their first professional points with one helper each.
For the Marlies, Glass finished with 31 saves on 37 shots. Gagner led all Marlies skaters with three points (2 goals, 1 assist), while Mueller and five others had one assist each.
Up next for Toronto: they return home on Monday to take on Cleveland—and raise the Calder Cup banner to the rafters. Then on Saturday and Sunday, they host a two game set against Utica.
Binghamton will host Hartford on Wednesday, then hit the road for a two-game weekend set in Laval against the Rocket on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.