CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Paced by seven different goal scorers, the Binghamton Senators beat the Charlotte Checkers, 7-4, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the win, Binghamton takes a 1-0 lead in a best-of-seven series which will continue with Game 2 in Charlotte tomorrow night.
By stopping 27-of-28 shots, Barry Brust was the winning goaltender after he took over for Robin Lehner at the start of the second period. Lehner allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first period.
The Checkers got two power-play goals, the first-career playoff strikes from Riley Nash and Brad Herauf, and tallies from Zac Dalpe and Oskar Osala, but fell for the first time in a series opener in the 2010-11 playoffs. Justin Pogge came into the game in the second period and relieved Murphy, who allowed five goals.
The Senators took a 1-0 lead, 1:37 into the first period, when AHL MVP Corey Locke scored his first goal of the playoffs by cashing in off a rebound from the bottom of the left faceoff circle.
Although Herauf tied the game 29 seconds later, Binghamton regained its one-goal edge when Daugavins scored off an odd-man rush with Jim O’Brien at 2:42.
Six minutes later, Binghamton went ahead, 3-1, when Benoit scored a shorthanded goal. However, Dalpe brought Charlotte back to within one by scoring into the lower-left corner with a wrist shot from the high slot.
Despite a power-play goal by Butler that restored the Senators’ two-goal advantage, the Checkers scored a power-play goal of their own and climbed back to within one when Nash slid in the rebound of a shot by Drayson Bowman.
Continuing the trend of back-and-forth scoring, Wick made the score 5-3 Senators and chased Mike Murphy from Charlotte’s crease by tallying with 8:29 left in the second period.
Early in the third period, two Senators penalties 33 seconds apart gave the Checkers a 5-on-3 power play on which Osala scored to pull his team back to within one goal.
Unable to climb back and score the equalizer, however, Charlotte allowed goals to Condra and Potulny in the final 10 minutes and lost 7-4.
The Checkers will look to rebound tomorrow when they host the Senators for Game 2 at Time Warner Cable Arena. The first 2,000 fans will receive a free Checkers rally towel. Game 2 will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable digital channel 520.