by Rob Lippolis

BINGHAMTON – Tyson Kirkby scored 5:19 into the first overtime as the Binghamton Black Bears defeated the Danbury Hat Tricks, 5-4, to take a 1-0 series lead. 

Steve Mele scored 6:09 into the game to give Danbury a 1-0 lead. Dustin Jesseau sent a pass to the front of the net and Mele tapped it in for the lead. Jesseau and Adam Dauda collected the assists on Mele’s first of the playoffs. 

Danbury scored shorthanded to take a 2-0 lead. Goaltender Joe Sheppard gave up the puck in the crease and Jonny Ruiz tapped it in for his first of the playoffs. The goal was unassisted and came at 12:45 of the first frame for a two-goal lead. 

Tyson Kirkby got the Black Bears on the board at 14:06 of the first period on the power play. Kirkby took the puck and slid it by the leg pad of goaltender Peter Di Salvo to get Binghamton on the board, trailing 2-1. Assists were credited to Cam Yarwood and Kyle Powell. 

Steve Mele scored his second goal of the period late in the first to give Danbury a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Adam Dauda and Dustin Jesseau collected the helpers, and the goal came with 1:02 left in the first. The Hat Tricks took the two-goal lead into the intermission.

Early in the second period, Colan Fitzgerald took a pass from Tyler Gjurich and slid it around the right pad of Peter Di Salvo to pull Binghamton within one. The goal was Fitzgerald’s first of the playoffs with assists from Gjurich and Tyson Kirkby and Binghamton trailed 3-2.

Shortly after, Adam Dauda tapped in an easy goal to give Danbury another two-goal lead heading into the third period. Steve Mele and Aaron Atwell were given the assists and the Black Bears trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes of play. Danbury also held a 21-20 shot advantage after two periods. 

Colan Fitzgerald and Gavin Yates scored two quick goals to start the third period and eventually force overtime. 

In overtime, Tyson Kirkby fired in a rebound goal for his second of the night and the Black Bears took game one in overtime, 5-4. Joe Sheppard stopped 30 of 34 shots in the win.

The Black Bears head to Danbury Tuesday night for Game 2 of the FPHL Quarterfinals. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Fans can listen on Fox Sports 1430AM Binghamton. 

Stay current with the latest team news by visiting, by calling 607-722-7367, or visiting the front office on the third floor of the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena. Follow the Black Bears all year long on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.