The Johnstown Tomahawks defeated the Maryland Black Bears Saturday night by a final score of 5-3.
The game began with a scramble to win the opening draw until the Tomahawks gain possession to start the game. The Black Bears broke the ice as Branden Piku cut off Johnstown’s David Paluch’s pass and ripped one behind Josh Graziano in net for the Tomahawks, getting the first goal only 2:13 into the game. It would only take the Reed Stark and the Tomahawks 64 seconds to find the back of the net also, making it a 1-all game in a similar fashion as Piku. Both teams brought their A-game in the 1st period, playing hard on every shift. The Tomahawks had two power play opportunities in the opening period, but the score remained tied at 1. As the period wound down, it looked as though both team were going to head into the intermission with a tie, until TJ Koufis ripped one behind Maryland goaltender Hannes Kollen to give the Tomahawks a 2-1 lead to start the 2nd period.
It didn’t take long for the Black Bears to get on the board again as the 2nd period began, as Brad McNeil scored his 17th goal of the season which tied the game back up at 2. Seconds later, Maryland’s Aiden Bruich was sent to the penalty box for an extended period as he received a double-minor for high-sticking as he caught Johnstown’s Alex Gritz up high. A little over a minute into the penalty time, Maryland stole the puck off Johnstown, going up the ice and getting the go-ahead goal to regain the lead at 3-2 for the Black Bears, getting a short-handed goal. Time would go on and Maryland would kill off their penalty with no damage done. After an exciting open to the period, things were silent for awhile until about ten minutes later when Koufis shot the puck and it bounced off Anthony Mastromonica’s shoulder into the net behind Kollen, giving Mastromonica his eight goal of the season and tying the game back up for the Hawks. Right after Mastromonica’s goal, the Tomahawks had another big scoring opportunity. Kollen made the save and the extra-curriculars that have become familiar between these two teams began. The ruckus would end with a ten-minute misconduct going to Bryan Huggins for Maryland and Jared Gerger for Johnstown, and also a two-minute roughing minor for Gerger, leaving the Black Bears with a power play after all was said and done. Johnstown would kill off the penalty and head into the intermission with both sides tied at three goals each.
In the 3rd period, both sides were more focused on getting the winning goal they both knew they needed. As time went on in the period and time dwindled down emotions and frustration began to set in as the score remain tied at 3. With 6:53 left in regulation, William Persson scored a sniper on a two-on-one rush giving the Tomahawks the lead late in the game, scoring his second goal of the season since joining the Hawks just last weekend. Maryland pulled goaltender Kollen with exactly two minutes to go in regulation and it only took 14 seconds for Brendan Clark to get the puck in the net to score the fifth and final goal of the game, sending the Tomahawks off into the night with a 5-3 win over the Black Bears.
Both squads are back at it again tomorrow for an early game as the Hawks and Black Bears face off for game two in Maryland at 12 PM. Catch the game on HockeyTV and follow along on social media.