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Kinrade's minutes continue to grow as B-Sens progress down AHL Calder Cup playoff trail

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
May 11th, 2011

By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports

During the summer it’s not an unlikely sight to see Geoff Kinrade sweating through his workout routine at a fitness center near you.

Kinrade’s like a machine as he works every muscle in his body into chisel-like form.

That’s been music to the ear of Binghamton Senators’ coach Kurt Kleinendorst.

Since the start of the AHL Calder Cup playoffs the B-Sens skipper has seen the injury bug take a man-sized chomp out of the blueline core.

Thanks to Kinrade, and teammate Andre Benoit, Binghamton has been able to keep the opposition forwards off balance as the club knocked off a pair of Eastern Conference heavyweights in top seed Portland Pirates and second place Manchester Monarchs.

“It feels good to be one of the go to guys and I play much better when I have this type of role,” Kinrade told The Nelson Daily Tuesday on the eve of the opening of the Eastern Conference Final against the Charlotte Checkers.

Game one goes Thursday in Charlotte.

“Yes, our blueline is hurting, but there have been a number of guys stepping up and playing more minutes including myself,” adds Kinrade, in his second season with the AHL franchise. “We’ve been very solid on defense throughout the playoffs and it’s definitely helped us move forward.”

After looking anything like a Eastern Conference Finalist in game five of the series against Portland, losing by a 6-2 score to the Pirates that allowed the visitors to make the series 3-2 in Binghamton’s favour heading back to Maine, the B-Sens shut the door in game six.

“It felt like we just forgot (the game five loss at home) ever happened, knowing that we had to take the next game to finish them off,” Kinrade explained.

Of course a goal 25 seconds into game six by Jim O’Brien made those nightmares of game five evaporate faster than water on the ice after a Zamboni cleaning.

The early goal, combined by the bounce-back performance of B-Sens netminder Robin Lehner who was pulled during game five, gave Binghamton all the advantage the team would need.

Zack Smith got the all-important second goal in the middle frame before Kaspars Daugavins, with an assist to Kinrade, scored into an empty net to secure the victory.

“We have shown a lot of resilience throughout the playoffs to bounce back from tough losses, and other difficulties that we’ve seen,” said the 25-year-old Nelson Minor Hockey graduate. “And of course, our goaltending has been solid, which is crucial in a playoff run.”

Like the team has done throughout the playoffs, the B-Sens take to the road for the first two games Thursday and Friday in Charlotte before returning home for three straight in the two-three-two-affair — Tuesday, Wednesday, May 18 and Saturday, May 21.

“They will be the best team we’ve played in the playoffs yet,” Kinrade, with one goal and four assists in the playoffs, admits. “It’s going to be a long series.”

And despite Kleinendorst and the B-Sens getting some of his injured players back into the lineup, don’t expect Kinrade to go anywhere just yet.

Which can be attributed to a little Lady Luck and a solid, intense off-season training schedule.

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