by Rob Lippolis
WATERTOWN – The Binghamton Black Bears fell on the road to the Watertown Wolves on Thursday night, 6-4.
Watertown took an early 1-0 lead after the linesman blocked a clearing attempt in the defensive zone. Johnny Bonta was given the puck just inside the blue line and beat goaltender Joe Sheppard for his second of the year. The goal was assisted by Colin Chmelka and came just 5:41 into regulation.
Justin MacDonald gave the Wolves a two-goal lead later in the first. The puck bounced right to MacDonald at the top of the crease, and he lifted a shot by the left arm of Sheppard for a 2-0 lead. MacDonald’s goal was assisted by Alexander Jmaeff and Lane King and came 16:16 into the game.
Colan Fitzgerald scored his first pro goal to get the Black Bears on the board late in the first. Fitzgerald picked up the puck on the right side, skated to the canter hash marks, and lifted a wrister over the shoulder of Wolves’ goaltender Breandan Colgan with 2:20 remaining. The lone assist was credited to Gavin Abbott and Binghamton trailed 2-1 after one period.
MacDonald scored again in the second period as he fired a wrister into the net from the hash marks for a 3-1 lead. MacDonald’s second of the game came at 9:22 of the second frame from Jmaeff and King and Watertown took a 3-1 lead into the third period.
Bonta gave the Wolves a 4-1 lead just 38 seconds into the third period. Cole McKechney helped set up his second of the night.
Josh Newberg and Nikita Ivashkin score back-to-back goals to pull the Black Bears within one in the third. Newberg brought the deficit to 4-2 at 6:01 with assists from Ivashkin and Egor Nosov. Ivashkin’s goal made it a one-goal game, 4-3, with the lone assist going to Erik Oganezov at 9:38 of the third.
Colin Chmelka and Bonta score again during the third for a 6-3 lead. Bret Parker put one in late for Binghamton in the 6-4 loss.
The Black Bears return home December 27 against Delaware at 7 p.m., December 29 against Danbury at 7 p.m. and New Year’s Eve against Watertown at 6 p.m.