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River Rats Out-Muscle Binghamton 4-1

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The River Rats put an emphatic end to their two-game losing streak tonight at the former Knickerbocker Arena.

Albany scored three times on the power play, twice with a two-man advantage, and even without injured enforcer Trevor Gillies stood up to a physical Binghamton team to gain two very important points in the East Division standings.

Michael Ryan scored twice, Ryan Weston and Bryan Rodney added goals, and Justin Peters made 30 saves for the Rats (18-21-3-2). In the fifth meeting this season between the two teams, this was the first victory by either one on home ice.

Ryan and Weston scored eight seconds apart early in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. It was one second off the Rats franchise record for two fastest goals, both by Jim Dowd, on Feb. 27, 1994.

Josh Hennessy had the lone goal for Binghamton, which got 26 saves from goalie Jeff Glass. The Senators had won four of five coming in, and fell into a fourth-place tie with Philadelphia, a 2-1 winner over Manchester tonight.

Albany is now 11 points behind the Sens and Phantoms for the final East playoff spot. With Norfolk's regulation loss at home, the Rats also moved out of the division cellar.

Binghamton 0 1 0

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Boy really amazed by the team tonight. Thought they played a very good allaround game. The third period a period in which has for the most part be a disaster for us this season was by far and away our best third period of the year tonight. Scored 3 goals in the first 5:06 of the third. They came out with lots and lots of fire in that third period tonight. Really great to see. Finally gave Peters some support tonight. Very nice to see.

What a difference a day, and some line shuffling, makes! Boy oh boy. I have to agree. Far and away the best hockey I've seen at the TU this season. It started with Joe Jensen agitating a Binghamton player (Bois?) and the Sens spent the rest of the night looking for fights and not for the puck. The only issue that i had with the game was that the 2nd period Peters was getting knocked all over the place. I can only assume that he let them have it in the intermission because he wasn't touched in the third, that I recall. Stellar effort by all involved!! :D:D:D:D:D

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What a difference a day, and some line shuffling, makes! Boy oh boy. I have to agree. Far and away the best hockey I've seen at the TU this season. It started with Joe Jensen agitating a Binghamton player (Bois?) and the Sens spent the rest of the night looking for fights and not for the puck. The only issue that i had with the game was that the 2nd period Peters was getting knocked all over the place. I can only assume that he let them have it in the intermission because he wasn't touched in the third, that I recall. Stellar effort by all involved!! :D:D:D:D:D
Very true.

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All the bag skating, lineup juggling and locker room shuffling paid off for River Rats head coach Jeff Daniels. Looking to stir up his team after a pair of listless losses, the rookie bench boss got his desired result.

Albany was energetic, physical and opportunistic tonight in a 4-1 win over Binghamton. With the victory, and Norfolk's regulation loss, the Rats (18-21-3-2) left the Admirals in the East Division cellar. They also moved to within 11 points of the fourth and final playoff spot, now co-held by the Senators and Philadelphia, a winner over Manchester tonight.

"I was real happy with the way we bounced back after the last two games," Daniels said. "They showed there's a lot of pride in that locker room and they showed they cared. They just beared down for 60 minutes with a lot of hard work. It wasn't easy. It was a good win for us."

Herauf, generously listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, took on Binghamton heavyweight Jeremy Yablonski (6-1, 235) -- one of the AHL's best and most respected fighters -- just 2:25 into the game. Then, with 10.1 seconds left, Mike Angelidis (6-1, 200) challenged Sens defenseman Matt Carkner (6-4, 226).

"It's not so much if you win or lose, it's just showing up," Daniels said. "Those two guys did that tonight. The guys on the bench see that, and they get excited. I guess we kind of built off that momentum."

Michael Ryan, who led the offense with a pair of power-play goals, was named the game's first star, but would have gladly handed the honor off.

"Guys like Mike Angelidis and Brad Herauf are the ones that showed right from the first minute that we were ready to play," he said. "Those two guys deserve more credit than anyone else on this team right now. They stood up and fought two pretty tough guys, and got us going."

********************

His fight was Herauf's third since joining the Rats on Dec. 27 from ECHL Florida, and first three weeks. He missed four games with an injury Jan. 9-16.

"It's my job to fight here," he said. "After the last game, we didn't play with much energy and that's my fault. That's my job for this team."

Herauf had no qualms about going up against the bigger, more experienced and far more colorful Jablonski, easily recognizable by his Mohawk haircut.

"I was thinking about it all day long," he said. "I kind of knew before the game that it was going to happen, or at least I was going to ask him. Jeremy Yablonski is always more than happy to oblige."

Yablonski had a clear advantage during the bout, but Herauf held his own, boosted his stock with his teammates, and helped his own confidence.

"Jeremy's a respectable guy. He's legitimate. He's one of the top three heavyweights in this league. I'm trying to make a name for myself here. I might as well try it against the big guys.

"My original plan didn't go as planned. I didn't know he was left-handed, but it worked out. I have no broken bones, and my hands are all right, so it's all good. A little rugburn, that's about it."

Herauf said Yablonski -- as often happens in the trade between veterans and up-and-comers -- gave his young opponent some encouragement afterward.

"He said, 'Good job, I respect that kind of thing.' That's pretty much it," Herauf said. "We're both from Saskatchewan, so we know what it's about. No hard feelings. You just go out there and try to do your job."

********************

On the Angelidis-Carkner bout, the Rats somehow managed to wind up killing a penalty, even though Carkner reached around linesman Justin Prusak and popped Angelidis with a right after the fight was broken up.

Carkner got a misconduct for persisting in a fight in addition to his fighting major, but Angelidis was also slapped with a cross-checking minor by referee Ghislain Hebert.

"It was weird how I got the cross-check when he cross-checked me twice," Angelidis said. "I wouldn't have fought him if I wasn't getting cross-checked. He's a tough guy."

Like Daniels, Angelidis was proud of how the Rats responded from a pair of poor efforts, both against division teams.

"We needed this big-time. It was a huge win," Angelidis said. "The coaches have been on us, and the guys responded well. The biggest challenge will be responding back tomorrow. We can't just do it one night. It would be nice to get that win tomorrow and go into the all-star break."

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The game's turning point came when Ryan and Weston scored eight seconds apart early in the third period to make it a 3-1 game. It was a tick off the franchise record for fastest back-to-back goals, both scored by Jim Dowd, on Feb. 27, 1994 in Albany's first season.

"I thought the big goal was the Westy goal," Daniels said. "Right off the faceoff going down the wing, just throw the puck at the net and it finds a way to go in. It was a big goal for us. It kind of deflates (their) bench a little bit."

It was the third goal of the season for Weston, who skated into a pass from Dwight Helminen in the right circle and as he began skating around the net with a defenseman on his hip, just whipped a shot on goal that somehow squeezed by Sens netminder Jeff Glass.

"Dewey made a good play," Weston said. "He just kind of chipped it off the wall there and I had some speed coming from center ice and just threw it at the net. I guess I got lucky. It kind of surprised him a little bit. It was a timely goal, for sure. Coach keeps saying just throw the puck on net and good things will happen. We got fortunate there."

********************

Daniels went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen tonight, making rookie center Harrison Reed a healthy scratch. Daniels hinted he is likely to do the same for tonight's home match with Rochester.

"I'll check injury-wise," he said. "I think we may have one question mark. There's no ice tomorrow (for the morning skate) so we'll just meet in the morning and kind of see where the guys are at. I'm most likely leaning toward 11 and 7 again. It gives a chance for Petro (Jakub Petruzalek) and Rhino (Michael Ryan) to get more ice time, and I feel they're more effective when they're on the ice more."

Ryan (2g, 1a) and Petruzalek (0g, 3a) both had three points tonight.

********************

The other notable change was behind closed doors. After the players had left the arena following Wednesday's loss, Daniels ordered the staff to move people around in the dressing room to new stalls, including -- and perhaps especially -- the veterans.

With Toby Keith at the former Knickerbocker Arena Thursday night, players got their first glimpse at the change-up this morning.

"It was a little bit confusing, but we understand the reason behind it," alternate captain Pat Dwyer said. "I think it's a good idea."

There was no word on whether players got road maps to their new locations.

"There were a lot of switches. You look around and say, 'Oh, there I am,' " Angelidis said. "We were a little surprised. It's good, though, getting to see different guys. You don't get to talk to all the guys all the time."

http://dailygazette.com/weblogs/janack/200...n/23/rats-sena/

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