Inside the Black Bears' Best Start in Franchise History
Here's some numbers for you to remember: 21, nine and one. Twenty-one points, nine games and first in the league. Through the infancy of the season, the Black Bears are the best team in the Fed, Fox 40 Sports Director Ian Mills went down to practice to figure out the secret formula.
The Bears are a wagon. Through nine games, they still haven't lost a game in regulation. Oh, and they're doing it with 13 rookies.
"Obviously, it's a learning experience for everyone to play their first pro season, first pro game," said starting goalie Nolan Egbert. "Especially in a building such as this one, with the crowd as passionate as they are."
After losing in the semi-finals last year, Coach Brant Sherwood looked to add younger, hungrier players.
"Um, I guess the plan worked," Sherwood said.
Nine games into the season and at the top of the Empire Division, you could say he was right.
"A lot of younger guys, a lot of new guys that want to prove themselves," said team captain Tyson Kirkby. "And so far everyone's been rolling on all cylinders. You know, we're putting up a lot of goals."
In fact, the team's 41 goals lead the Fed and it isn't just one guy. Nikita Ivashkin and Connor Smith lead the team in goals with seven apiece while five different Black Bears have scored at least five times. Brenden Stanko tops that list, scoring nearly two points a contest.
"We're all gelling right now from first line to second or third pairing one, two and three," Stenko said. "No complaints throughout the systems."
But if there was one complaint, the Bears have allowed nearly three goals a game, which ranks middle of the pack. But the good thing is, Sherwood and the guys know exactly where they need to improve.
"D-Zone," Sherwood said. "So making sure we're working on the D-Zone, always working on special teams, just overall working to get better every single day."
And less than a quarter through the season, they have time to do so.
"It's a work in progress," Egbert said.
And after the franchise's best start, it's easy to see why another.
"Championship here at Bingo," Stenko said.
Is a clear goal ahead.
Binghamton welcomes in Elmira this Friday, looking for their seventh win of the season.