Wild Night in the AHL
The festivities in Binghamton began about midway through the first period after Mark Borowiecki sent a Crunch player tumbling awkwardly into the end boards. Jared Nightingale was first to respond to the scene of the crime and the two had a quick tussle. Both combatants would fight again before the night was through: Nightingale squared off with Hugh Jessiman early in the second, while Borowiecki went after Jean-Philippe Cote in the third.
The pugilistic highlight of the game came midway through the second period when goaltenders Robin Lehner and Riku Helenius squared off at the B-Sens’ blue line. The fight was the end result of a scrum in Binghamton’s goal crease that began after a couple Crunch players crashed Lehner’s net. Lehner was buried under multiple bodies and came up steaming after Richard Panik gave him an extra jab to the melon, prompting the Finnish Helenius to make his way down from the other end of the ice and engage the Swedish Lehner.
The fights weren't the only drama in the game. After being down 5-0 in the second period, Syracuse scored five unanswered goals to tie it up with under four minutes left in regulation. Richard Panik then scored the game-winner in overtime to cap off the amazing comeback by the Crunch.
In Toronto action got underway seven minutes into the game when Gabriel Dumont and Will Acton had a spirited bout. The most entertaining scrap came in the second period when heavyweight Kyle Hagel and physical defenseman Mark Fraser dropped the gloves off a center-ice faceoff. Although both fighters landed good shots, Fraser was able to get Hagel down to the ice twice before it was broken up. Highly-touted prospects Louis Leblanc and Jesse Blacker also engaged one another in an uneventful dustup later in the game.
Pro hockey in Nashville
In Nashville, NHL-deprived fans were treated to professional hockey as the SPHL’s Huntsville Havoc (Alabama) and Knoxville Ice Bears (Tennessee) descended upon the city for a preseason affair. 6000-strong came out to Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators, to witness a Single-A hockey game.
Two more fights took place in the game. Huntsville mainstay Sam Cannata took on Knoxville hopeful Anthony Collins later in the first period and Huntsville youngster Chapen Leblond had a go with the always entertaining Mike Towns in the third.
Former NHLer's new home
Traveling further around the minor league circuits, former Ottawa Senator Francis Lessard made his LNAH debut for the Cornwall River Kings on Saturday night. After spending all of last season in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators, Lessard signed on with Cornwall in September. The River Kings are currently playing their inaugural season in the LNAH and are the first ever Ontario-based team to play in the traditionally-all-Quebec league.
A minor injury prevented him from suiting up for the River Kings’ season-opening game in Sorel, Quebec on Friday, but Lessard was ready to play in time for last night’s home opener. Skating as a defenseman and receiving a regular shift, Lessard dropped the gloves with Trois-Rivieres’ heavyweight Chris Cloutier early in the second period. The fight itself was not spectacular by any means, and in fact it was rather sloppy, but the veteran of 31 NHL regular season fights is now on the FM board in his new-found home. We will add video of the fight in a couple days.
Jean-Philippe Cote vs Mark Borowiecki Oct 20, 2012
Riku Helenius vs Robin Lehner Oct 20, 2012
Mike Angelidis vs David Dziurzynski Oct 20, 2012
Jared Nightingale vs Hugh Jessiman Oct 20, 2012
Jared Nightingale vs Mark Borowiecki Oct 20, 2012
Michael Blunden vs Leo Komarov Oct 20, 2012
Louis Leblanc vs Jesse Blacker Oct 20, 2012
Kyle Hagel vs Mark Fraser Oct 20, 2012
Blake Geoffrion vs Kenny Ryan Oct 20, 2012
Gabriel Dumont vs Will Acton Oct 20, 2012
Chapen Leblond vs Mike Towns Oct 20, 2012
Corey Fulton vs Brad Pawlowski Oct 20, 2012
Brandon Bollig vs Anthony Peluso Oct 19, 2012