Round Two Series Preview

by Rob Lippolis

BINGHAMTON- The Binghamton Black Bears are getting ready to take on the Danbury Hat Tricks in the semifinal round of the Commissioner's Cup Playoffs.  This will be the 2nd time in as many years that the two clubs have met each other in the playoffs.  


Danbury took the first three matchups of the season 5-1, 5-4 OT, and 6-2.  Binghamton was only able to manage one point in the first trio of contests.  

Since Coach Sherwood took over, Binghamton has seen better success against the division winners.  The Black Bears were able to go 2-1-0 in the final three battles of the season including a massive 6-2 victory at home and a 4-3 OT win on the road. The one loss under Sherwood came on February 17th as the Hat Tricks were able to deflect a puck in with four seconds remaining in the game.  

A lot has changed since the last time the two teams faced-off with each other.  Fans should expect a tight-checking, physical affair when the semifinal begins Friday night in Binghamton. 


Both teams ran their respective round one opponents out of the building.  Danbury handed Elmira a 7-2 and 7-1 defeat in their two-game sweep .  Binghamton was able to score six goals in both victories over the defending champs, Watertown, 6-2 and 6-1.  While Danbury gave up the first goal early in both games, they surged backed, going on to outscore Elmira 14-3 in their weekend series.    


Coaches at all levels of hockey will tell you that special teams will dictate the outcome of a series.  For Danbury, their special teams have seen great improvement from the regular season finish.  Through the 56-game schedule, Danbury finished ninth in the league with a 16.7% success rate on the power play.  Their penalty kill was dependable at 82.4% , third overall.  Looking at the small sample size, the Hat Tricks were able to kill 100% of the Mammoth power plays, and scored 33% on theirs.  

Binghamton had the best power play all season long,  scoring 69 goals and converting 27% of the time.  They did however, give up 13 short-handed goals, tied for most in the league.  Austin Thompson and Tyler Gjurich, both finished the season with 10 PPG. The Black Bears have also killed off 100% of their penalties so far in the playoffs.   


Coming into the semifinal round, Michael Marchesan leads the Hat Tricks in scoring with 4 goals.  John MacDonald and Lucas DeBenedet bring 4 assists each into the matchup.  Danbury had five different players score a goal in their first round series against Elmira. 

Chad Lopez is heating back up for Binghamton.  Lopez recorded 3 goals in the Watertown matchup last weekend. Defenseman, Colan Fitzgerald, and all-time FPHL goals leader, Tyler Gjurich are tied with 3 assists, leading the Black Bears.  

Both Brian Wilson and Talor Joseph played all of the games in their respective first round series.  Wilson finished with a 2-0-0 record, 1.50 GAA and .940 SV%.  Joseph recorded almost the same stat line, 2-0-0 record, 1.50 GAA and .947 SV%.  Two of the best goaltenders are slated to start against each other on Friday.  


GAME ONE : Friday, April 28th, 7:00P.M. in Binghamton TICKETS

GAME TWO: Saturday, April 29th, 7:00P.M. in Danbury

GAME THREE: (If necessary) Monday, May 1st, 7:00P.M. in Danbury