Black Bears Get Three of Four Points in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN, PA–  After a midweek game, the Black Bears went back on the road to Johnstown for the week, taking on the rival Tomahawks. Despite having three games in the past week in the bag, the Black Bears were able to keep their conditioning up and battle back multiple times; but were only able to come out with three of the four possible points on the weekend, splitting the weekend set. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

NOVEMBER 18th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Johnstown (1): Due to internet issues in Johnstown, the HockeyTV feed was not available until the last ten minutes of the game overall. Things got off to an exciting start with Magnus Gadowsky and Will Bowman getting into it 1:13 into the period, which saw Gadowsky get a double minor for roughing and a game misconduct for ripping the helmet off of Bowman during the scrum. Just after the double minor expired, Johnny Ulicny redirected a shot that got behind William Hakansson to give Johnstown the 1-0 lead. Johnstown took offensive control of the game, outshooting the Black Bears 13-7, but only notching one goal in the frame.

The Black Bears got dinged with another penalty, but the penalty kill got offense with that, with Dimitry Kebreau netting his 17th of the season off a pass from Kal Essenmacher to knot the game up at one. That seemed to wake Maryland up, as the offense was in full effect in the middle frame. Luke Van Why get his fourth of the year getting set-up from Brayden Stannard and Gunnar VanDamme to take the lead only 6:22 into the middle stanza. Late in the frame, Branden Piku netting his fifth of the year, inching ever closer to Luke Mountain for all-time franchise leader in points, with Stannard and Trey Scott setting him up to go into the locker room up 3-1. 

Johnstown tried to push to get back to even within one, but Hakansson was stellar in the third, making some key saves– including one that Johnstown definitely thought had went in, but thanks to some crafty stickwork, was kept out of the cage and preserved the 3-1 victory for the Black Bears on Friday night. 

NOVEMBER 19th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Johnstown (4) OT: The offense for Maryland was ready to go in the first period, something that wasn’t there on Friday night. The Black Bears got pucks onto Alec Rajalin-Sharp plenty of time, but only broke through at the 8:39 mark when Birch Gorman registered his first NAHL goal with a point shot whipped through the screens and into the back of the net. While the Black Bears kept the pressure on, Rajalin-Sharp was equal to the task. Moments after the Gorman goal, Johnstown got on the board as Zach Aben scored in front after having multiple whack on goal against William Hakansson to tie the game with 7:03 left in the period. 

Then the HockeyTV system broke down. 

In the second period, the rebound goals from Johnstown happened, as Aben again found a loose puck on the doorstep and put it behind Hakansson for the 2-1 lead. Both sides were getting plenty of pucks on net in the second period, but each side were only able to muster a goal. Maryland’s goal came with under three minutes to play in the period, as captain Brad McNeil evened the score with his fifth of the season. 

The final stanza had Johnstown not get many opportunities overall, but having solid chances; including a couple of odd-man rushes and a breakaway. Hakansson was equal to those chances to keep the game tied up at two. It wasn’t until under five minutes when Johnstown broke the tie again, with Will Lawrence getting his third of the year for the 3-2 Tomahawks lead. With little time left, Maryland called their timeout and pulled Hakansson with 2:23 remaining. Mounting the pressure, Branden Piku potted his sixth of the season with 20 seconds remaining to push the game into overtime, the first overtime game for the Black Bears this season. 

During the overtime, Maryland had two big chances from their big shooters– Dimitry Kebreau and Christian Catalano– but Rajalin-Sharp was able to get pieces of those attempts. The momentum from those saves helped the Tomahawks with David Matousek scoring for Johnstown with 27 seconds left to give the Tomahawks the win, snapping the Black Bears winning streak at seven. 

The Black Bears will get some home cooking this weekend with New Jersey coming to town for the first time since opening weekend. Get your tickets today at to spend your post-shopping days at The Den.

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