BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Binghamton struck for a pair of first-period goals and rode that momentum to a 3-0 win against Houston on Friday at the Broome County Arena, evening the Calder Cup Finals at two victories apiece.
Game 5 is set for Saturday night in Binghamton, and the series is now guaranteed to return to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday.
Cody Bass and AHL regular-season MVP Corey Locke scored the first-period goals for the Senators, who outshot Houston 18-8 in the opening 20 minutes after totaling 29 shots during their 2-1 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday. The Senators limited the Aeros, the AHL farm club of the Minnesota Wild, to just 21 shots against Swedish rookie Robin Lehner.
Bass snapped a six-game points drought at 11:48 with his second goal of the postseason and first since scoring in Game 5 of Binghamton's opening-round series against Manchester on Apr. 20.
Locke, who added an assist, made it 2-0 at 17:10. He now has 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in 14 games since returning to the Sens' lineup after missing the entire first round due to injury.
Binghamton defenseman Derek Smith provided insurance 2:19 into the third period with his first career playoff goal. Smith, who had 10 goals and 54 points in 71 regular-season contests for the Senators, has been limited to just four playoff appearances thus far due to injury.
The Senators prevailed despite another scoreless outing from Ryan Potulny, who still leads the AHL with 25 points (14-11-25) in 21 games this postseason.
Lehner picked up his league-leading third shutout of the playoffs, and the 19-year-old improved to 12-4 (2.12, .938) in 17 appearances this spring. Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 34 of 37 shots.
Binghamton is now 6-1 following a loss this postseason and moved back to .500 on home ice at 5-5.
The Aeros suffered their first shutout of the playoffs and were blanked for the first time since a 3-0 loss at the Texas Stars on March 22.