BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT) – The Binghamton Black Bears closed out a memorable inaugural season, but fell short in the FPHL Playoffs.
Following a fourth place finish in the regular season, the Black Bears delivered a playoff run for Binghamton hockey fans to remember. The team clinched a playoff spot and brought playoff hockey back to Binghamton’s Visions Veterans Memorial Arena for the first time in nearly a decade.
For the Black Bears, their season came to a close following a phenomenal series in the FPHL Quarterfinals against Danbury.
Game one was the first playoff hockey game in Binghamton in eight years and it was a classic. The Black Bears found themselves down 4-2 heading into the third period, but charged back with two quick goals to force overtime. In the extra period, forward Tyson Kirkby scored the game winner to add to his goal and assist from earlier in the game.
The Black Bears hit the road for game two in an attempt to sweep the series. Binghamton was tied or held the lead for the three periods with help from Tyler Gjurich. Gjurich posted a hat trick in the game, but Danbury stormed back and tied the game with twelve seconds remaining in the third period. The Hat Tricks would end up on top, following a game winning goal from Nicola Levesque in the extra period.
The final game of the series did not see overtime, but was nearly just as competitive as the first two games. Danbury stormed out to a 3-0 advantage early in the game, but the Black Bears would start a late game charge. Tyson Kirkby, Corey Sherman, and Ty Gjurich helped the Black Bears to bring the game within one in the third. Danbury held off the late push, then Tom Mele scored an empty net goal to clinch the game 5-3 and the series 2-1 for the Hat Tricks. Danbury will move on to the semifinals against Columbus.
As for the Black Bears, confidence will likely remain high due to the success that the team found in year one. The Black Bears saw outstanding performances in the post-season from players like Gjurich and Kirkby. In addition, the team added several honors in the regular season.
Black Bears forward Nikita Ivashkin earned the FPHL Rookie of the Year award, Forward of the Year, and earned a selection to the FPHL young stars team. Ivashkin has notched 55 goals and 42 assists through 55 games this season.
Ivashkin’s teammates Kyle Powell, Owen Liskiewicz, and Tyler Gjurich earned awards for the Black Bears. Powell took home the honor for the league’s top defenseman and was selected to the All-Star first team. Liskiewicz was selected to the young stars team for his work in net and Gjurich earned a spot on the FPHL All-Star second team.
In addition to the players, Binghamton’s man on the mic, Rob Lippolis earned FPHL Broadcaster of the Year.