by Josh Starr

DANBURY, CT – Nicola Levesque scored 3:48 into overtime on Tuesday night as the Danbury Hat Tricks defeated the Binghamton Black Bears 5-4 and forced a decisive Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Trailing by a goal in the final minute of regulation, the Hat Tricks mounted constant pressure on the Binghamton net. After a slew of shots, Steve Mele scored with 13.1 seconds left to tie the game at 4 and force overtime. It was Mele’s third of the playoffs.

The tying goal came after Danbury erased a two-goal Binghamton lead to tie the game at three early in the third. Tobias Odjick scored in his first professional playoff game to tie the contest at three, but Binghamton answered at 9:01 with Tyler Gjurich’s third of the game.

Throughout regulation, Danbury was 0-7 on the power play. That changed in overtime when Levesque tipped Garrett Gallagher’s shot past Owen Liskiewicz to win the game for the Hat Tricks.

Binghamton held the lead for most of regulation with two power-play goals by Gjurich, but the Hat Tricks controlled a lot of the game in the Binghamton zone. Danbury recorded 17 shots in each of the second and third periods. Mele’s tying goal was the 17th shot of the third.

Pete Di Salvo made 20 saves in the Danbury net to record the first playoff win in franchise history.

The winner-take-all Game 3 will start on Wednesday night at 7:30 in Danbury Arena. Tickets are available here and fans should select Game B tickets for Wednesday’s Game 3. The contest will also be available on the Hat Tricks YouTube channel.