Danbury Drops Heated OT to Binghamton

by Herm Sorcher

Danbury, CT- Saturday night promised a heavy-weight bought between the Empire Division’s leading teams. The Danbury Hat Tricks and Binghamton Black Bears obliged and lit up Danbury with an excellent performance and plenty to discuss after.

Binghamton dictated the pace and rhythm of the game in the early going, landing two quick goals in the first period and a third late in the frame. Chad Lopez went first, driving up the wing and roofing a puck on Brian Wilson at the 3:34 mark of the first period. Austin Thompson followed shortly thereafter, notching the 2-0 goal at the 5:51 mark of the frame.

Danbury upped the offense, peppering Binghamton goalkeeper Riley McVeigh with ten shots in the period, but were unable to crack him. In the last minute of the frame, Binghamton capitalized on a great offensive drive and potted a goal with 16 seconds left thanks to Josh Newberg’s efforts. Danbury argued a penalty on a hit shortly before at the opposite end of the rink was missed and that the goal shouldn’t count, but the officials ruled otherwise and Binghamton took a 3-0 lead into the intermission.

The Hat Trick chipped away at the lead, with Michael Falanga doing the scoring honors on a backhander 2:05 into the second period. Then in the third, Danbury potted two goals late in the frame to tie the game. Dustin Jesseau landed his team leading 22nd goal of the season with 4:16 left in regulation. Evan Lugo notched the equalizer with 2:26 remaining in regulation time and sent the game into overtime.

This was the second OT period between Binghamton and Danbury this season, both held at the Danbury Arena. The first went to Danbury. Saturday night’s went to Binghamton but not without litigation.

At the 2:29 mark of the overtime period, Jake Schultz wired a shot into the net. As he shot the puck, the net came dislodged. Initially, the officials ruled the play as no goal due to the dislodged net. The refs got together to discuss and consult the rulebook and after an elongated discussion and deliberation, much to the consternation of the assembled Danbury fans, the officials overruled their initial call and awarded the Black Bears with the goal and the overtime 4-3 victory.

With the result, Danbury drops their first overtime game at home this season, falling to 22-3-4 on the season. They still gain a point from the game, improving to 65 points in the standings, still good for first place in the Empire Division and trailing only the Columbus River Dragons for first place in the FPHL.

Brian Wilson stopped 23 of 27 shots faced.

Binghamton improves to 20-7-2, moving to 60 points and increasing their lead over third place Elmira to 28 points.

Riley McVeigh stopped 32 of 35 shots faced in the Black Bear net.

The Hat Tricks and Black Bears reconvene for a matchup next weekend in Binghamton. Puck drops at 7PM at Visions Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.