BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira River Sharks fell in Binghamton to mark their regular season opener.
The Elmira River Sharks fell to the Binghamton Black Bears, on Saturday. The road game marked the beginning of a new era in Elmira hockey. Binghamton earned the win 7-3, over Elmira’s newest team. Although the River Sharks are the most recent iteration of Elmira hockey, Saturday’s game marked an important anniversary. On October 14th, 2000, the Elmira Jackals opened their first ever season in the UHL at Broome County Arena. Elmira’s first ever professional hockey team fell to the B.C. Icemen in the game 4-1, but helped lay the foundation for 23 years of hockey in the Twin Tiers. 23 years to the date of the Jackals first game, the River Sharks played their first regular season game in the same arena.
Saturday’s game saw the Black Bears jump out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period on goals from Connor Smith and Brenden Stanko. In the 2nd, the River Sharks netted the franchise’s first regular season goal, with Santino Foti assisting Kona Jackson. Binghamton would thwart the River Shark response with 3 goals, taking a 5-1 lead near the end of the period. Elmira’s Jackson scored once again, with 2 minutes left in the frame to cut the Binghamton lead to 3.
Late in the 3rd, Elmira struck again. Brandon Lucchesi scored for the River Sharks, cutting the deficit to just 2. Minutes later, the Black Bears buried Elmira’s hopes for the win with goals from Thomas Wray and newly minted captain Tyson Kirkby.
Despite the loss, Elmira saw impressive performances from 2 of their new players. Kona Jackson earned the 2nd star of the game, netting 2 goals. Jackson is an Alberta, Canada native and last played for the Bonnyville Pontiacs in the NCHL-AB. The River Sharks also found success between the pipes. Goaltender Spencer Kozlowski made several impressive saves early on, including a sprawling stick save to keep the game scoreless. Kozlowski recorded 54 saves on 61 shots in the game. Kozlowski spent last season with the Delaware Thunder, where he made 607 saves in 16 games played.
The River Sharks will look for their first win on Friday night in Watertown. Elmira will take on the Wolves for their 2nd game of the season at 7:30 p.m.