Game Recaps 10/14/23


Black Bears Secure 1st Victory of the Season over Elmira

by Brooks Hill

Binghamton, NY - The Binghamton Black Bears defeated the Elmira River Sharks in the first game of the FPHL season. Connor Smith tallied four points, two goals and two assists earning the first star on opening night. 

Two different squads from a season ago, Elmira and Binghamton battled for the first goal until Connor Smith broke the ice at the 13:44 mark. A high wrist-shot bet the goaltender and erupted the arena with the first goal of the season. Smith’s college linemate, Brenden Stanko, would goon to add the second goal of the period just a few minutes later. Binghamton skated into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage after one period. 

Period two saw both teams light the lamp, as the ‘Sharks and Black Bears combined for five goals between the two sides. Kona Jackson was able to cut the lead to one, but a quick response from Smith gave Binghamton their two-goal cushion back. Austin Thompson scored his first of the season, followed by Dustin Jesseau following suit. Binghamton’s lead grew to 5- 1, but Jackson responded with his second the game before the final horn of the period. Binghamton was still leading 5-2 after 40 minutes. 

Brandon Lucchesi grabbed the first goal seven minutes into the final period. Again, the Black Bears had a response adding another goal 30 seconds later. Thomas Wray scored his first professional goal and Tyson Kirkby tallied his first goal as captain to complete the night. Binghamton defeats Elmira 7-3. 

River Sharks Fall to Binghamton, 7-3

by Jon Kliment

Binghamton, NY - The River Sharks opened up their season on the road against the Binghamton Black Bears at the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night. With this being the first of 13 matchups this season both teams were expect to come out hungry.   


However it was an onslaught from the home team and saw a number of huge saves, but the Black Bears were able to hit the scoreboard first as Connor Smith broke into the zone on the near side and rocketed one over the glove side of netminder Spencer Kozlowski to give Binghamton the 1-0 lead. After successfully killing another penalty the River Sharks looked to rush up the ice, but Binghamton was able to keep control in the zone and work the puck to Brenden Stanko to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead after one period.   


The River Sharks came out for the second and aimed to battle back. The first goal in history came of a set faceoff play as Kona Jackson received a face-off back and fired it past Nolan Egbert for the first goal to cut the lead to 2-1. Binghamton didn’t back off however scoring  the next three as Smith got his second, Austin Thompson, and Dustin Jesseau both added their first of the season.  The River Sharks came up with one more before the period concluded though as Jackson netted his second of the evening on a pass from Ricards Jelenskis to make it 5-2.   


Elmira came out hungry in the third, but couldn’t find the back of the net until 13:52 of the final frame when Lucchesi fired a rebound into an open cage cutting the deficit to 5-3. Binghamton responded again just 24 seconds later as Thomas Wray made it 6-3 and a late Tyson Kirkby goal finished off the season opener 7-3.   


Kozlowski stopped 54 of 61 in the loss. 

The River Sharks open up their home schedule Saturday October 21st at 6:07pm. 



by Doug Lattuca

Danbury, CT - The Hat Tricks topped the Wolves 5-2 tonight in the Home Opener to split the opening weekend series with Watertown.

Watertown overcame two two goal deficits on Friday night to best Danbury 6-5 in the season opener. Tonight, the Hat Tricks lost a two goal lead early in the third period, but managed to rattle off three consecutive scores in a 1:32 span to seal the victory.

Following the 2023-24 team introduction, Championship banner unveiling, and ring ceremony, the Hat Tricks wasted no time getting on the board. Captain Jonny Ruiz wristed a shot towards goal and forward Nick DiNicola swatted a rebound out of the air and in to the back of the net just 12 seconds in to erupt an already amped Danbury Arena crowd. 1-0 Hat Tricks.

Later in the period, forward Brandon Stojcevski did his best DiNicola impression and baseball batted a rebound at waist-high level past the Watertown goalie Josh Rosenzweig to make it 2-0 at 13:30 of the opening frame.

The second period didn't see a score until the final minute when Tate Leeson fired one home for Watertown at 19:37. The forward came into the game tied for the team lead in points with five (2g, 3a). Despite the lack of scoring in the middle frame, there were plenty of fights to go around. Three fights broke out in the middle frame, all won by the Hat Tricks. First, Johnny Bonta took down Chris Borgan, then Daniel Amesbury got the best of Joshua Tomasi, and finally Alex Soucy pummeled Trevor Lord to ignite the Danbury faithful.

29 seconds into the final period, Leeson struck gold again - building off his late second period tally - to tie the game at 2. 

With all the momentum in Watertown's favor, Captain Ruiz stole it back for the Hat Tricks with a one-time bullet inside the right post at 6:32 to give Danbury a 3-2 lead. 23 seconds later, d-man Michal Sivek picked up his first goal as a Hat Trick to re-gain the two score advantage.

The Hat Tricks weren't done as forward Jacob Ratcliffe got on the score sheet at 8:04 to push the lead to 5-2. Hat Tricks goalie Frankie McClendon shut the door on any other Wolves scoring chances to preserve Danbury's first win of the season. The Hat Tricks improve to 1-1 on the young campaign while the Wolves fall to 1-1.

The Hat Tricks host the Black Bears Friday, Oct. 20 in the first game of a home-and-home series with Binghamton.