Game Recaps 12/23/23


Black Bears Barrage Leads To Weekend Sweep 

by Cole Parenti

Binghamton, NY - The Binghamton Black Bears and Watertown Wolves met at the Visions Veteran Memorial Arena for the third time in one week. The Black Bears finished the three-game sweep as they beat the Wolves 9 to 1.


The first period saw goaltending steal the show as both were sharp out of the gate. Samuel LiVecchi stopped all 10 shots he faced for Binghamton while Watertown’s goaltender, Eloi Bouchard, made 14 of the 15 saves asked of him. Special teams also had their time to shine as Binghamton killed two penalties and Watertown killed one. The first period seemed destined to go scoreless until Connor Smith sidestepped a hit and deposited the game’s first goal at 17:27 into the frame.


The Black Bears offense would erupt in the second period as they found twine four times. Andrew Logar started the barrage as he scored his second in as many nights on the powerplay. Next came the captain Tyson Kirkby as he cleaned up his own rebound in the slot. Then Daniel Stone would score on a heads-up play as the puck hit off his helmet and into the net. Chiwetin Blacksmith would respond for Watertown as he converted on his third goal of the weekend. With time running out the captain found the back of the net once again with a beautiful backhander. Kirkby would send the Black Bears to the locker room with a 5 to 1 lead.


Owen Liskiewicz would take over in net for Watertown and the familiar face was greeted rather rudely. Jesse Anderson beat his former teammate with a seeing-eye shot right over Liskiewicz’s shoulder. Then Donald Olivieri would join in on the party as he beat the Watertown netminder at 15:25. Jestin Somero would be the next Black Bear to find twine when he scored on the powerplay. The ninth and final goal would come from Connor Smith as he found the puck in the pads of Liskiewicz and scored.


The Black Bears improve to 5-1-0-0 against Watertown, win their 9th straight at home, and continue to grow their lead in the Empire division. Samuel LiVecchi finished with 25 saves on 26 shots while the Watertown tandem of Eloi Bouchard and Owen Liskiewicz stopped 52 of the 61 shots they saw. 


2023-24 Prorated Season Tickets are still on sale! Call the Black Bears office at 607-722-7367 or stop into the third-floor hockey offices of Visions Veterans Memorial Arena. Save up to 30% on tickets and receive over $200 in benefits.

Stay current with the latest team news by visiting and by following the Black Bears all year long on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok @BlackBearsFPHL 



Motor City Rockers Sweep RiverSharks With 9-1 win


by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - The Motor City Rockers earned its first home series win with a dominating 9-1 win over the depleted Elimra RiverSharks on Saturday night. 

Motor City claimed the season series with a 5-0-1 record in six match-ups. 

The Rockers jumped out to an early three goal lead thanks to its efficient power play unit. 

2:08 into the first period Roman Gaudet fed the puck to Derek Makimaa. Makimaa then worked it around to the point and on the stick of Josh Colten who fired a blast for his second power play goal of the weekend and a 1-0 lead. 

Three minutes later another Elmira infraction put Motor City up an extra attacker and TJ Sneath took advantage of the opportunity. Jameson Milam fed the puck to Nick Magill-Diaz near the endline. Magill-Diaz found Sneath camped in between the hashes for his first power play goal of the season and a 2-0 lead. 

A similar play developed four minutes later as Motor City capitalized on another power play as Sneath finished a centering pass in the slot for his second of the night and a 3-0 lead.

The RiverSharks offense didn’t stay dormant, however, as Larri Vartiainen earned his first goal of the season, when he finished a one timer from Brandon Contratto that cut into the Rocker lead 3-1 with 2:06 to play in the first.

Nick Magill-Diaz was able to add his name to the goal side of the scoresheet at the 11:31 mark of the second period when he followed up on a loose puck that lay in the far side circle after a flurry of saves by Sammy Bernard. Magill-Diaz fired the puck past Bernard for his second goal of the weekend and a 4-1 lead. 

The third period netted five more goals for Motor City as the Rockers slammed the door on any chance of an Elmira comeback. 

Mike Winn earned his second of the season when he put in a rebound for a 5-1 lead 2:38 into the final frame. A minute later, Cade Lambdin earned his first of the season on a deflection off a Magill-Diaz shot from the point for a 6-1 lead.

That chased starter Samm Bernard out of the net, as he was replaced by Joe Ackley.

Sneath finished off his first career hat-trick when he fired the puck from the high slot for a 7-1 lead, which corrected a disallowed goal in the first period where he would have earned his hat-trick. The goal was waved off due to it being kicked into the net.

Lambdin added his second of the night with 2:52 to play while Scott Coash added his second of the weekend with a goal a minute later.

Ricky Gonzalez stopped 27-of-28 shots tonight as he was looking to rebuild lost confidence in which he allowed 14 goals in his last three appearances on 101 shots. 

The Rockers will now take a quick break for the Christmas holiday before regrouping to play Port Huron on Friday and Saturday at McMorran Place and Sunday at Big Boy Arena in the I-94 Rivalry before the new year. 

River Sharks Fall in Series Finale, 9-1

by Jon Kliment

Fraser, MI Elmira came into Saturday night after their 3-game winning streak was snapped the night before with an 8-4 defeat at the hands of the Motor City Rockers. Despite losing several players to injury after Friday night the River Sharks found players to take over and hoped to find a way back into the win column on Saturday .

Saturday kicked off very similarly to Friday night as Motor City saw five consecutive power play opportunities and were able to score on 3 of them. Josh Colten found the back of the net once and TJ Sneath came up with a pair to give Elmira a hill to climb out of, but after a fight off the faceoff by newcomer Jesse Swanson, Brandon Contratto broke in on a 2 on 1 off a turnover at the blue line and with a quick dish to Larri Vartiainen the River Sharks shrunk the gap to 3-1 after one period of play. 

 The Rockers continued to find ways to beat Sammy Bernard as Nicholas Magill-Diaz scored at 11:31 of the second period. Swanson took on Tristan Wells who was ejected from the Friday night game in an effort to get the Sharks back into it. A late power play meant for the second night in a row Elmira would start the third period on the man advantage.

Though it seemed close entering the third Winn and Lambdin both scored early to put the game handly out of reach and remove Sammy Bernard from the game in favor of Joseph Ackley making his first appearence. However the goalie swap didn't change momentum as Sneath, Lambdin, and Coash all scored against Ackley to make it 9-1. 

Bernard stopped 33 of 39 in the loss while Ackley stopped 6 of 9. 

The River Sharks head home December 29th against the Binghamton Black Bears at 7:05pm. Get your tickets online at or by calling the box office at 607-734-PUCK! #FeartheFin




by Doug Lattuca

Danbury, CT - The Hat Tricks gave their fans an early Christmas present Saturday night with a 4-3 overtime win over the Prowlers to secure the weekend sweep. Forward Jacob Ratcliffe fired a slapshot into the back of the net to give the Hat Tricks the win at 2:33 of OT. With the victory, the Hat Tricks have now won six straight games against the Prowlers dating back to last season and nine straight in Danbury. 

The two sides were not feeling very festive early on. Two seconds in, defensemen Zachary Pamaylaon and Adam Heinzl dropped the gloves. This all stemmed from an incident from last season involving Heinzl crossing-checking Hat Tricks’ enforcer Daniel Amesbury in the back of the head.

At 7:30 in the first period, the Hat Tricks were set up on the man advantage when Port Huron defenseman Frank Schumacher was sent to the box for crossing checking. D-man Jarod Yau took advantage, in his second game wearing the “A”, firing a wrist shot from the blue line off the post and in to give the Hat Tricks a 1-0 lead. The scoring did not stop there. After some impressive puck handling from Pamaylaon, the defensemen found Ratcliffe who snapped one past Port Huron goalie Makar Sokolov to extend the lead to 2-0. 

It was a defensive battle throughout the majority of the second period. However at 17:11 forward Chase Harwell added to the Hat Tricks lead, putting one in from the slot. Harwell had a goal in both games versus Port Huron over the weekend, after going his first seven games without one.


The third period told a different story as Port Huron came out firing. At 10:01, forward Liam Freeborn ended the Prowlers drought, getting one past Hat Tricks goalie Connor McCollum. It was the first goal the Hat Tricks allowed in five and a half periods. A few minutes later, forward Brandon Picard got the Prowlers closer scoring his tenth goal of the season on a five-on-three. The comeback was completed with less than a minute to go when Schumacher redirected a pass into the back of the net.


In the extra period of play, the Hat Tricks went to the power play at 1:37. Moments later Ratcliffe sent the fans home happy, blasting the puck from the far circle into the back of the net and securing the win. 

The Hat Tricks get some much deserved time off for the Christmas holiday. They are back in action Friday Dec. 29 when they travel to Watertown, starting a three-game weekend. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. 


Thunderbirds Net Three in Third, Defeat Columbus, 6-3 

by Brendan Reilly

Winston-Salem, NC - Going to the third period tied at three, the Carolina Thunderbirds exploded across the final 20 minutes, scoring three times, to defeat the Columbus River Dragons, 6-3, Saturday night at the Annex in front of a sold-out crowd.


Columbus (13-2-2) came out firing in the first period outshooting Carolina (16-3-0) 10-0 over the first 10 minutes and breaking through at the 9:01 mark after a Kyle Moore one-timer giving the visitors the 1-0 advantage. Following the goal, the Thunderbirds began to find their footing. Four minutes later, Petr Panacek knotted the game at one with his fifth goal of the season, making it 1-1. The two sides traded goals again across the rest of the first going to the second period tied at two. 


After the intermission at the 3:04 mark, Jacob Schnapp danced his way through the River Dragon’s defense beating Colgan on the back hand giving the Thunderbirds their second lead of the evening. Schnapp’s goal was cancelled out two minutes later with a blast from the point from by Carter Shinkaruk tying the game at three and the two sides went to the final 20 minutes with nothing between them.


Coming out of the locker room, Carolina wasted no time taking the lead back. Jan Salak, who came into the game with six goals over the last four games, snapped one past Colgan giving the Thunderbirds the lead, 4-3. Both sides hit iron across the next 10 minutes, but Gus Ford gave Carolina its biggest lead of the night on a slap shot making it, 5-3. 


Columbus pulled its goalie with over three minutes remaining and Salak finished off the win with an empty netter with 1:54 remaining, closing out the River Dragons, 6-3.


Ford and Salak were named the 1st and 2nd stars of the evenings with a pair of goals while Mario Cavaliere earned 3rd star honors saving 51 out of 54 shots on the night. 


With the win, Carolina moves into first in the Continental division with 44 points while Columbus sits in second with 41. 


Carolina and Columbus continue their four-game set on Friday evening in Columbus. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. from the Columbus Civic Center. 


Thunderbirds Double Up River Dragons, 6-3  

by Tom Callahan

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds scored three unanswered goals in the third period to turn a tie game into a 6-3 victory over the Columbus River Dragons on Saturday night at The Annex.

With the game tied at three following 40 hard-fought minutes, Carolina scored three times in the third period to pull away. Two of those goals came off the stick of Jan Salak including the eventual game-winner just 46 seconds into the frame. Salak would also add an empty net goal to secure the victory with just under two minutes remaining.

Justin MacDonald (8-5-13) and Kyle Moore (2-7-9) scored to extend their personal point scoring streaks to seven games each. Carter Shinkaruk added the other goal for Columus in the loss.

The River Dragons will now break for the Christmas holiday and come back on Friday, December 29 at home against the Thunderbirds. Game time is slated for 7:35 pm. Single game seats are on sale now through the Civic Center Box Office and online at