The Johnstown Tomahawks ended their season Saturday night as the Maryland Black Bears won game five of the first round series in the Robertson Cup Playoffs by a final score of 4-3.
With 1ST SUMMIT ARENA packed Saturday with both Maryland and Johnstown fans, both sides were ready to go coming out for the 1st period. The game began with Johnstown setting the pace early, winning the opening faceoff. The first 20 minutes of the game came down to defense, with both teams putting their bodies on the line and blocking shots to keep the game scoreless, despite a combined 20 shots in the period. At the 10:49 mark, Jared Gerger was called for cross-checking, giving Maryland a chance to get on the board first. The Tomahawks defense worked hard and successfully killed off the penalty, keeping the game scoreless. Just when it looked like the opening period of the game would end scoreless, Will Margel found the back of the net for Johnstown with 1:39 left, giving the Tomahawks a 1-0 lead to start the 2nd period in the do-or-die game five.
Coming out for the 2nd, Daniel Colabufo solved Tomahawks goaltender Sam Evola, scoring high on his glove side from the opposite side to tie the game up at 1 7:36 in. With the game tied up, things started to heat up a little bit with pushing and shoving coming into play. With just over 10 minutes to go in the period, Jared Gerger and Connor Cole received coincidental minors, giving the teams some 4-on-4 time. While neither side scored on the open ice, shortly after the penalties expired, Reed Stark was hit in the corner and went down for a moment as the play went on to the other end of the ice. As Stark got up and was heading down to get back involved with the play, Ethan Webb found his guy, passed the puck up the ice to Stark and he ripped the shot by Maryland goaltender Michael Morelli to put the Tomahawks back on top 2-1.
7:14 into the final period of the game, Colabufo netted his second goal of the game to tie things back up at 2. As they have throughout the game so far, John Gelatt responded with a power play goal for the Tomahawks as Jack Hillman was in the box for holding, scoring just seven seconds into it. Less than two minutes later, Johnstown got a penalty of their own as Max Smolinski was called for hooking. Maryland won the opening faceoff to begin the power play. Tanner Rowe passed the puck to Dylan Finlay who sent the puck to the net and put it in behind Evola to tie the game right back up, only three seconds into their power play. Just 37 seconds later, Maryland’s Jude Kurtas gave Maryland the lead for the first time in Saturday night’s game with 6:32 remaining in regulation. Within the last two minutes of the game. The Tomahawks sent Evola to the bench for an extra-attacker in a final attempt to tie the game, but were not able to find that response they needed, ending their season with Maryland winning the game 4-3 and winning the series 3-2.
In a season like we have never encountered before, thank you is an understatement. Fans, sponsors, parents, owners, staff, doctors, friends… the list is endless. On behalf of the entire Johnstown Tomahawks organization, we thank you. We will be back next season better than ever and look to get back to having a packed house full of screaming fans.