Black Bears Harness Irish Magic, Trounce Tomahawks 6-1

The Maryland Black Bears entered Friday night eying a chance to clinch a playoff spot in the North American Hockey League’s East Division, needing to win two of three games against its weekend opponent, the Johnstown Tomahawks. And thanks to a four-goal second period, the Black Bears got closer to the playoffs with a 6-1.

The Black Bears got the scoring started when forward Christian Catalano ripped a wrist shot past the blocker of Johnstown goaltender Adam Johnson for a 1-0 lead. Maryland doubled the lead when defenseman Luke Van Why hammered home a one-timer on the power play to make it 2-0. The Tomahawks were able to get on the board just 31 seconds later when forward David Matousek slammed a rebound past Black Bears’ goalie William Hakansson to make it 2-1.

The second period saw the tides turn heavily in favor of Maryland, who tallied four goals in the frame. The scoring started with a goal from Black Bears defenseman Caleb Craven who, due to injuries adding up, had to play right wing. Craven got the puck on the near circle and moved the puck to his backhand where he put it under the blocker of Johnson for a 3-1 lead. Maryland added a shorthanded goal a minute and 41 seconds later with Christian Catalano putting home his own rebound for a 4-1 lead. Just over three minutes later, Black Bears forward and captain Brad McNeil scored on a snapshot from the far circle to make it 5-1, leading Johnstown to pull Adam Johnson in favor of goaltender Alec Rajalin-Scharp. Maryland defenseman Sean Kilcullen tapped in a puck back door to make it 6-1 later in the period, a score that would hold up to be final. Hakansson made 24 saves in the win while Maryland Associate Head Coach Kim Weiss, who filled in as Head Coach for Clint Mylymok while he is out with an illness, became the first female acting Head Coach to record a win in the NAHL.

Maryland and Johnstown return to action Saturday evening at Piney Orchard Ice Arena with puck drop scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET. All games can be streamed on HockeyTV.