Black Bears earn point in front of sellout crowd

by Brooks Hill

BINGHAMTON - The Black Bears fell in the shootout on Friday night by a final score of 5-4.  Binghamton scored twice in the final four minutes to force overtime and remain unbeaten in regulation.

Carolina was able to score first on Friday night.  Dawson Baker made the most of a broken play in the Black Bears' zone, silencing the capacity crowd early.  Binghamton failed to convert on their first man-advantage, and Carolina did the same on their second.  The Black Bears took back-to-back penalties and Roman Kraemer extended the Thunderbirds lead to 2-0.  Dustin Jesseau led a final push in the period for the Black Bears, but Mario Cavaliere made the saves to keep the two-goal cushion heading into the locker room. 

Binghamton received the message during the break and came on firing in the middle period.  Tyson Kirkby scored to take the donut off the board, and Nikita Ivashkin would follow the captain up and tie the game at 2-2.  Carolina allowed a power play goal for the first time this season.  The Thunderbirds did rally late in the period, killing off another power play, Jacob Schnapp was able to score with six seconds left to put Carolina back on top 3-2. 

The third period saw the first 10 minutes of period play out as if both teams were afraid of making a mistake.  Carolina reclaimed a two-goal lead as Schnapp scored with under five minutes remaining. 

Binghamton received a power play late, and with the goalie pulled, Gavin Yates scored his first of the season, giving the Black Bears hope.

An inch turned into a mile, as Connor Smith scored with the net empty again.  This time it was the Black Bears scoring in the dying seconds, tying the game at 4-4.

Overtime ensued and neither team was able to score.  The action did not stop for four minutes and 30 seconds.  Nothing came of it, so the teams entered the shootout.  Reigning-MVP Gus Ford was the only player to score in the contest, and Carolina skated away with the extra point, Thunderbirds win 5-4.

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