Binghamton Senators: 2011 AHL Calder Cup Champions

Binghamton Senators finished 5th in the AHL East Division with 92 points. Under the old rules they wouldn’t have even made it into the playoffs but with overall points being counted to cause a possible division crossover, the B-Sens did just that earning 92 points in the East ahead of fourth place Atlantic Division Worcester Sharks 85 points and 3rd place Connecticut Whale with 88.

From there they knocked off the 2nd best team in the Atlantic, Manchester Monarchs in 7 with 4 ot wins from a 3-1 series deficit to boot.

Then it was onto the 1st place Atlantic Division Portland Pirates, who are seemingly as stacked, if not more than the Senators. They beat them in 6 games and raised their road win streak to 7 games.

In the Eastern Conference Finals they met what looked like it would be their toughest opponent, Charlotte Checkers, who did away with Hershey Bears first and then Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (the best regular season record in the AHL, 117 points). The B-Sens ditched them in 4 straight, while increasing their road victories’ streak to 9-0.

To win the team’s 1st hockey championship for the city of Binghamton, the team brought into the league as the minor league affiliate of Ottawa in 2002, the Senators, which had seen the Broome Dusters, Whalers, Rangers, Ice Men play before them, needed to get past a similar glory story of the Western Conference, Houston Aeros. They wanted their first title since they won it in 2003, the first year of the Senators. Meanwhile, Binghamton hadn’t even seen playoff action since 2006.

The little team that could did it in 6 games, the last one played in enemy territory in front of 10,000+ haters.

Early insiders had it pegged as soon as the AHL postseason started: on paper, Binghamton looks scary. They boasted a lineup that had 15 players with 232 games of NHL experience with Ottawa in the 2010/2011 season.

The question was, could they gel to win a championship? The beginnings of that seemed to happen in game 6 of the first round vs. Manchester, where they escaped with a 2-1 win in 2ot to send the series to a game 7 the next night.

From there, games continued to get scary but the team never looked back and always looked forward to the next game until the 16th win.

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