The Johnstown Tomahawks were defeated by the Maryland Black Bears Friday night in Johnstown, as Maryland evened up the series at one game each.
Penalties came early in Saturday night’s game two matchup as Dusty Geregach was sent off just 1:16 into the game for tripping. 40 seconds later Aden Bruich was also sent off for boarding. Neither side scored on the advantage, but about a minute after the two penalties were cleared, Grady Friedman got Maryland on the board first 4:43 into the game, giving the Black Bears their first lead of the series against the Tomahawks. 40 more seconds later, Daniel Tkac and Hunter McCoy received coincidental hooking minors. With the ice opened up a little bit, Conor Cole extended the lead to 2 for the Black Bears. Max Smolinski was not expressed his unhappiness and was sent to the box for boarding. The Tomahawks killed off the penalty and then with the midway point in the period approaching, the Tomahawks got a power play and a chance to get on the board. Defenseman Dusty Geregach ripped a shot from the blue line and going through all the traffic in front of the net, Geregach’s shot ended up behind Maryland goaltender Hans Kollen, making it a 2-1 game, still in favor of Maryland. Shortly after, the feud between Smolinski and Cole continued as the two were both sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct minors. After those penalties passed and the game was back to full strength, Jude Kurtas and Josh Nixon both scored for Maryland less than 60 seconds apart to extend their lead to 4-1 to end the opening frame.
The 2nd period opened with a change in net for the Tomahawks as Sam Evola got his first taste of playoff action, replacing Graziano. 1:44 in, Reed Stark netted his second goal of the playoffs on the power play which carried over from the 1st to make it 4-2. 3 minutes later, Jay Ahearn scored his third goal of the playoffs to make it a one-goal game early in the 2nd period as the Tomahawks looked to work their way back into the game. Things took a turn as the period went on with rough-play and penalties coming in. No more goals were scored in the period though until Kevin Scott regained the two-goal lead for Maryland with 4:20 remaining in the 2nd period. The stage was set for the 3rd period as both teams came back out to the ice prepared for battle with the crucial game two win on the line with the Tomahawks up 1-0 in the best of five series.
8 minutes into the 3rd period, Sam Evola was everywhere making saves left and right while he was without his stick, working hard to keep the score close. Just as Bryan Huggins penalty was expiring for Maryland, Stark found the back of the net again making it a one goal game yet again with just under 9 minutes to go in the game. In a last ditch effort, the Tomahawks pulled goaltender Sam Evola for an extra-attacker in an attempt to tie the game up, but would not succeed, giving Maryland the 6-4 victory Saturday night, tying up the series at 1.
Game 3 of the series will be Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30 at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Maryland. The Tomahawks will be hosting a watch party at 1ST SUMMIT ARENA, with details coming in the next few days.