The Binghamton Senators are one win away from an AHL championship.
Zack Smith scored twice and Robin Lehner made 41 saves as Binghamton moved to within one victory of the Calder Cup with a 4-2 win against the Houston Aeros in Game 5 of the AHL Finals on Saturday night.
Attendance for the Senators' final home game of the 2010-11 season was 4,727 – above capacity at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The scoring opened at 9:19 of the first period during 4-on-4 situation, as Andre Benoit collected the puck, moved down low and hit Corey Locke with a perfect back-door pass.
It was the fourth time in five games of the series that the Senators scored first.
Houston's fourth line got the Aeros on the board at 11:08 when Jean-Michel Daoust knocked the puck past Lehner to tie the score at 1-1. It ended Lehner's shutout streak at 97 minutes and 9 seconds.
The Senators went back in front just 69 seconds later, however, as Erik Condra blocked a Houston shot, took off on a breakaway and scored his first goal of the series and fifth of the playoffs.
As the opening frame wound down, Lehner made a sprawling pad save on Jarod Palmer, but moments later Daoust parked himself on the doorstep and tipped home a pass from Marco Scandella, tying the game with 6.3 seconds remaining before intermission.
Houston controlled play for much of the second period, which was scoreless until Zack Smith banged home a bouncing puck during a power play with 8.5 seconds left in the frame. The Senators took a 3-2 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes despite being outshot by a 29-19 margin.
The Aeros continued to press looking for the tie in the third period, but the Senators got some much-needed breathing room when Smith netted his second of the night with just 4:04 to play.
Houston finished the night with a 43-27 edge in shots. The Senators were 1-for-4 on the power play; the Aeros were 0-for-4.
Both teams played most of the game with just five defensemen, as Houston lost Jared Spurgeon and Binghamton lost Jared Cowen early on.
The Senators take a 3-2 series lead back to Houston, with two chances at Toyota Center to capture the city of Binghamton's first championship. Game 6 is set for Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. ET.