The Maryland Black Bears stormed out to a 6-1 lead over East Division rival Johnstown Tomahawks in the team’s first North American Hockey League game of the 2020-2021 season. However, the tides changed and the lead evaporated, leading to the team dropping its season opener 7-6 in overtime.
After Jay Ahearn put the Tomahawks up 1-0 early in the first period, Maryland responded with six straight goals. The Black Bears’ 2020 first round draft pick forward Daniel Colabufo tied the game up on the power play, ending an 0-50 drought on the man advantage that dated back to last season. Maryland forward Reid Leibold scored on another power play shortly after to make it 2-1 Black Bears. The Black Bears then got a big save from goalie Isaiah DiLaura, who stopped Johnstown forward Brendan Clark on a penalty shot.
Maryland defenseman Aidan McDowell scored later in the period, jumping into the play and sending the puck top right side past Tomahawk’s goalie Ryan Ullan. Reid Leibold capped the first period off by stealing the puck from Johnstown defenseman Ethan Webb and scoring to make it 4-1. This ended the night for Ryan Ullan as back up goalie Sam Evola started the second period.
The Black Bears started off the second period with two shorthanded goals. Reid Liebold completed his hat trick for a 5-1 lead, while Garrett Szydlowski recorded his first goal of the season to make it 6-1 Maryland. Johnstown then turned on the heat and never looked back, starting with a power play goal tipped into the net by Anthony Mastromonica. The Tomahawks recorded two more goals that period by Brendan Clark and Reed Stark to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Johnstown tied the game up in the third period with goals from forwards Anthony Mastromonica and Mikol Sartor. The Black Bears appeared to take the lead back on the power play, but the referees waived the goal off due to a hand pass. The game went into overtime where Tomahawks’ forward John Gelatt scored on a breakaway to secure a 7-6 win for Johnstown.
The Black Bears and Tomahawks conclude its opening week series with a game Monday morning at Ice World in Abingdon, Maryland at 11:30 am ET. The game can be streamed on HockeyTV.