In an epic first-round playoff series, Nelson’s Geoff Kinrade played a starring role in the Binghamton Senators’ unlikely advancement to the second round.
Coming into the American Hockey League playoffs, the Ottawa Senators’ minor league affiliate was clearly the underdog over the powerful Manchester Monarchs who farm for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Monarchs built a 3-1 series lead heading into last Wednesday’s game in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Kinrade — who is in his second season as a Senators defenceman — had one assist in the Baby Sens 5-4 overtime win that sent the series to Game 6 in Binghamton, New York. It was the Senators’ second overtime win of the season and a sign of more to come.
Game 6 was a goaltenders’ duel between Binghamton’s Robin Lehner and Manchester’s Martin Jones. The teams were tied 1-1 after regulation and headed into the fourth overtime of the series.
Midway through the second overtime period, Kinrade harnessed the puck in his own zone and rushed up the ice. The speedy d-man ripped a low shot from the middle of the circle that Jones saved. Kinrade circled the net where a juicy rebound sat outside the post and he stuffed it away for the dramatic winner.
With the Senators down to four defencemen heading into overtime, Kinrade told the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin that the goal was a tremendous relief.
“That game was just lagging on,” Kinrade said after the game. “We’re short on the back end, and I just didn’t want to keep going out on the ice anymore. I was getting really tired. No, it was a huge win, obviously. We live to die another day, and hopefully it’s not for quite some time yet.”
In Game 7 on Saturday night, the Senators kept the momentum rolling by scoring the first three goals of the winner-take-all game. But the Monarchs came back to take a 5-4 lead by late in the third period. With less than two minutes left in regulation, Erik Condra scored to force the fifth overtime game of the series.
Ryan Potulny scored three minutes into the extra frame to clinch the series for Binghamton.
The Senators now face the Portland (Maine) Pirates in the Atlantic Division Finals. Game 1 goes tonight in the east coast city.
Kinrade had one goal and three assists in the first round series.