The Maryland Black Bears returned to Piney Orchard Ice Arena, the usual home rink for Maryland, for the first time in 350 days. The Black Bears looked to snap a four game losing streak after being swept by the Maine Nordiques and Johnstown Tomahawks the last two weekends. And in a rematch against the Tomahawks, it was Johnstown beating Maryland in a hard fought contest 5-3.
The scoring started less than three minutes into the game when Black Bears’ forward Branden Piku got the puck on a turnover and scored on the breakaway using his backhand to make it 1-0. Just over a minute later, Tomahawks’ forward Reed Stark tied the game 1-1 on a Maryland turnover. Johnstown then took a lead on a rebound goal late in the first by TJ Koufis to make it 2-1.
Maryland tied it early in the second on a rebound goal by forward Brad McNeil to make it 2-2. Then while shorthanded, Black Bears’ forward Connor Cole got a breakaway and converted to give Maryland a 3-2 lead. The Tomahawks were able to tie the game late in the second when a puck bounced off of the shoulder of forward Anthony Mastromonica to make it 3-3.
Johnstown took the lead in the third on a wrist shot goal by forward William Persson. Forward Brendan Clarke finished the scoring off with an empty net goal to make the final score 5-3.
Maryland and Johnstown rematch Sunday afternoon with puck drop set for noon at Piney Orchard Ice Arena. The game can be streamed on HockeyTV.