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Tomahawks Score Six Straight for Come-From-Behind Victory on Sunday Night - Drop OT Game on Monday

Written by: David Nicoletti





The Johnstown Tomahawks were back on the ice for some regular season action for the first time since March 7th, 2020. Funny thing about that date, they were playing the Maryland Black Bears at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena where they defeated the Black Bears 1-0. Just like that game, the Tomahawks picked up a victory, but it took a hell of a comeback to do so. After a weekend split exhibition series against the U.S. National Under-17 Team, the Tomahawks were coming into their ninth season hungry. Roster full of guys who definitely know how to play the game. Some, including Jon Kohan (Owner/Writer of Hawks-Daily) and I have said this could be one of the best teams that head coach Mike Letizia and his staff have put together. But on Sunday night, the team looked anything but that, at least for the first twenty-two minutes of the game. Things got off to a weird start, right after warmups, as both teams went to their respective benches and not to their locker rooms. As the zamboni cleaned the ice both teams sat waiting patiently to play, most likely as this isn't the Black Bears regular home ice rink and locker rooms might not have been available. The Tomahawks came out in their alternate red jerseys for Sunday’s contest. Starting the night with the line of Reed Stark, Alex Gritz, and Drew Murphy up front with Billy Simms and Caden Lewandowski behind on defense, while Ryan Ullan got the start between the pipes. Maryland came out with their new yellow jerseys with Maryland flag stripes for the contest. The Black Bears started their forward line of Andrew Remer, Hunter McCoy, and Aden Bruich with Brendan Hill and Thomas Jarman on defense and former WHL goaltender Isaiah DiLaura got the nod as starting goalie for the contest. The puck dropped at 7:02 PM as Maryland won the opening faceoff. The Johnstown Tomahawks 2020-21 season was underway in Odenton, Maryland. Both teams got started off with some physical hockey from the beginning, but with only a minute and forty-nine seconds into the game, Johnstown Tomahawks forward Jay Ahearn got the team its first goal of the season with the first shot on net for the Tomahawks. Assists went to John Gelatt and Dominic Schimizzi Ten seconds later however, the Tomahawks would be asset with the first penalty of the night, as forward Reed Stark received two minutes for cross checking. Maryland would take advantage of the man advantage and scored a powerplay goal at the 3:14 mark of the first period. Forward Daniel Colabufo scored the goal unassisted to tie the game up 1-1 for the Black Bears. Maryland would then go on to be assessed two penalties within the next few minutes. The first at the 4:55 mark of the first with Luke Mountain being issued a slashing call. The second at the 9:43 mark as Jack Hillman was called for cross checking.  However the Tomahawks second power play of the night would be cut short as the Hawks received a penalty for too many men on the ice at the 10:37 mark of the first. Mikol Sartor would be the one who would serve the two many men penalty.  Maryland would take advantage again as forward Reid Leibold scored the power play goal with the assist to Aidan McDowell and Thomas Jarman. It would become a 2-1 Black Bears lead. Following the goal another penalty would be given to the Tomahawks at the 14:02 mark of the first period. Anthony Mastromonica would be given two minutes for hooking as Maryland would go on their third power play of the game. Shortly after the penalty was called, Tomahawks forward Brendan Clark was given a penalty shot as he was hooked up by Maryland's Reid Leibold while on a breakaway. However, he would come up unsuccessful in his attempted penalty shot. Before the period came to a close, Maryland defenseman Aidan McDowell scored a goal for the Black Bears at the 18:40 mark of the first. The assist went to Logan Kittleson. It was now 3-1 Black Bears. But it wasn’t over yet, Reid Leibold scored his second goal of the game unassisted off a turnover for the Black Bears at the 19:35 mark of the period. It was now a 4-1 game for Maryland.  Six second before the period came to a close, Maryland’s forward Matthew Shanklin would be assessed a high sticking penalty and the Tomahawks would be on the power play for the third time this period. The first period would then come to a close with Maryland on top 4-1 after 20 minutes of play. After Johnstown started the night with Ryan Ullan in net, head coach Mike Letizia would put in Sam Evola to take over between the pipes to start the second period. The second period started with the Tomahawks on the man-advantage. Maryland would socre again however at the 1:04 mark of the second. Reid Leibold scored the hat-trick and short handed goal for Maryland with the assist to Garrett Szydlowski. Maryland wasn’t done, still. Forward Garrett Szydlowski would score another short handed goal 26 seconds later with Reid Leibold on the assist. It was now a 6-1 Maryland Black Bear lead early in the second. Later at the 6:51 mark of the second period, defenseman Aidan McDowell was given a cross checking penalty. The Tomahawks would take advantage on the man up as Anthony Mastromonica scored the power play goal fifty seconds after the penalty was called. The assists were given to Reed Stark and Alex Gritz. It was now a 6-2 game for Maryland following the goal. After a stoppage of play from the net being knocked off its moorings, the Tomahawks would get back on the board once again with a goal from Brendan Clark at the 12:33 mark of the second period. The assists went to Liam Whitehouse and Holt Oliphant. The lead was cut in half as it was now a 6-3 game for the Black Bears following the goal by Clark.  Three minutes and eight second left in the period, a stoppage of play was called because Maryland was called for too many men on the ice. After a couple minutes of the refs talking it over the call was overturned and there was no penalty given out to the Black Bears. Both teams would remain at even strength as a result of the miscommunication. But that miss call wouldn't stop the Tomahawks from getting back on the score sheet. At the 18:45 mark of the second, Reed Stark scored a goal for the Tomahawks as Dusty Geregach and Andrew Murphy were given the assists. After being down 6-1 early in the second, it was now a 6-4 game for the Black Bears as the comeback was on for Johnstown. The second period would then come to a close after the fourth Tomahawks goal. The third period began and the Tomahawks would start their quest of making the comeback happen. They came out storming from the start and everyone on the Hawks were looking for answers. Playing solid hockey from the start and doing whatever they could to get back on the score sheet, they would eventually get their chance.  At the 1:48 mark of the third period, after some confusion if it was a goal or penalty, forward Andrew Remer of Maryland would end up going off for a slashing penalty. The Tomahawks would go back on the power play and take advantage, scoring their second power play goal of the night. Anthony Mastromonica scored his second power play goal of the game at the 3:08 mark of the third period. Andrew Murphy and Reed Stark were given the assists and it was now a one goal game as Maryland led 6-5.  Then at the 7:25 mark of the third period, the Tomahawks would tie the game up as forward Mikol Sartor scored the goal to make it a 6-6 game. Milan Cermak and Brendan Clark were given the assists. Maryland would call a timeout following the game-tying goal made by Johnstown.  After being down 6-1 early in the second, looking like it was game over, the Tomahawks would come back to score five unanswered goals within the next 30 minutes of play and tie it up at six goals a piece. Ladies and gentlemen, we had a brand-new hockey game. You would either have to be at the game or watching the game on Hockey TV to believe it.  After a scrum with Maryland goalie DiLaura at the 11:13 mark of the third period, Holt Oliphant would receive a slashing penalty for the Tomahawks and the Black Bears would be on a crucial 5-on-4 man advantage. The Tomahawks however would stay strong and kill off the penalty. Johnstown goaltender Sam Evola would make an amazing save on the penalty kill. One of the Maryland announcers even called it a 'save of the year'. A goal had to be waived off in the process as Evola was pushed into the net and the puck was in off a hand from a Maryland player. The game would remain tied at 6-6. Johnstown would then get their chance on the power play at the 14:47 mark of the third period. Maryland forward Daniel Colabufo would be called for interference. However, Carson Grainer of the Tomahawks would be assessed a high sticking penalty making it a 4-on-4 at the 16:00 minute mark. Maryland would go on the power play after the 4-on-4 but Johnstown would once again killed off the penalty. The game would remain tied at 6-6 after the end of regulation and we would be going to a five minute 3-on-3 overtime period. Both teams would receive one point on the night but only one team would end up with the extra point.


That team would be YOUR JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS!!!!!!! Forward John Gelatt would score an unassisted breakaway goal to complete the comeback for the Johnstown Tomahawks at the 4:11 mark of overtime. The Tomahawks would come out of game one of the season with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Maryland Black Bears.  Leading point getters throughout the game include Maryland’s Reid Leibold, who ended the game off with four points (three goals, one assist). For Johnstown, Reed Stark ended the night with three points (one goal, two assists). The game lasted about two hours and five minutes and there were 45 people in attendance to watch this amazing hockey game. No three stars were given.


Game #2



Maryland was hungry to get revenge as they skated out in this morning's contest in their yellow jerseys with Maryland flag stripes. The Tomahawks came out in their alternate red jerseys like they did the previous night.  The Tomahawks starting line consists of Jay Ahearn, John Gelatt, and Dominic Schimizzi out front at forward with Ryan Poorman and Liam Whitehouse on defense. Last night's hero in net, Sam Evola, would get the nod to start in goal for the Tomahawks.  For the Maryland Black Bears they would come out with their line of Matthew Shanklin, Shane Albert, and Luke Mountain at forward with Jack Hillman and Aidan McDowell on defense. Maryland this time around would start Michael Morelli in net for Monday’s game. The puck dropped at 11:31 AM and we were underway for game two of this series.  The Tomahawks started the game with a lot of good chances early and eventually it would pay off as they would score the first goal of the game at the 2:38 mark of the first period. Brendan Clark would get his second goal of the season with the assists going to Ryan Poorman and Mikol Sartor. Just like it started last night, it was an early 1-0 game for the Tomahawks.  A whistle was blown at the 4:32 mark of the first as Maryland’s Daniel Colabufo and Johnstown’s Billy Simms collided on the ice in what looked like a knee on knee collision. Both players were slow to get up but Colabufo ended up being ok. However, Billy Simms had to be helped to the bench.  Billy Simms would be given the penalty for tripping after the collision but Mikol Sartor would be the one who would serve it. Forty-two seconds later Holt Oliphant would receive a high sticking penalty and the Black Bears would go on a 5-on-3 powerplay. Johnstown would go on to kill both of those penalties. After the penalty kills that were made by the Tomahawks, John Gelatt would put Johnstown up 2-0 as he scored his second of the season. Jay Ahearn and Dominic Schimizzi would get the assists. The goal was scored at the 7:39 mark of the first period.  At 11:57 of the first, a goal was waved off as Maryland forward Garrett Szydlowski put one past Sam Evola but the whistle blew before the goal. As a result, the goal was waved off and it remained a 2-0 Tomahawks game.


Maryland’s defenseman Cam Gaudette would receive a holding penalty at the 12:56 mark. Tomahawks were on the power play for the first time in the game. However, Maryland would be aggressive short handed and would kill the penalty.  At the 18:08 mark of the first, Brendan Clark would get called for boarding as he collided with Daniel Colabufo. The Maryland defender was slow to get up following the hit made by Clark and Maryland would be back on the power play. But after some aggressive hockey from both teams in the first twenty minutes of play, the first period would end and the Tomahawks would be on top with a 2-0 lead.  The second period would begin and Maryland would remain on the power play for the first eight seconds of the period. Johnstown would go on and kill off the penalty putting both teams back at even strength.  Billy Simms, was wheelchaired out of the arena and went to the hospital for the injury he received in the first period This forced the Tomahawks to play the rest of the game with only five defenders. The Tomahawks would be up on the power play at the 4:28 mark of the second period as Maryland defenseman Aidan McDowell was called for tripping. However Maryland would go on a 2-on-0 shorthanded break-away as forward Hunter McCoy would score the goal at the 5:56 mark of the second. Conor Cole and Thomas Jarman were on the assists. The game was now 2-1 for the Tomahawks. Seconds later, after the goal at 6:29, Maryland forward Garrett Szydlowski would be called for interference putting them back on the penalty kill just one second after they just killed off the tripping penalty. Maryland’s Michael Morelli would make an amazing save on the last second of their penalty kill and the Black Bears would kill it off. Fast forward to the 13:46 mark of the second period. Hawks forward Anthony Mastromonica would go on to score his third goal of the season making it 3-1 Tomahawks. Assists would go to Max Neill and Ryan Poorman After the goal was scored, Johnstown would be back on the power play as defenseman Seth Bergeron for Maryland would be called for hooking at the 14:40 mark of the second period. Maryland would yet again kill off the penalty as there was less than two minutes left to go in the second period.  The second period would come to a close as the score remained 3-1 for the Johnstown Tomahawks after 40 minutes of play. Definitely a solid game for both teams and especially for the Tomahawks. But like we saw during Sunday night's contest, never count out anybody until the final whistle is blown.



The third period was underway and the final twenty minutes of hockey were upon us. Both teams came out playing some solid hockey. Johnstown came out making noise from their bench and getting the whole squad pumped up. But not much action was going on during the first few minutes of the third period as the score would remain 3-1 Tomahawks. Head coach, Mike Letizia would take a timeout for Johnstown at the 7:58 mark of the period.  Maryland forward Aden Bruich would be given a penalty at the 9:29 mark of the period as he went off to the box for tripping. The Tomahawks power play would be cut off short. Thirty seconds later Ryan Poorman was given a penalty for roughing after a push and shove happened between him and Maryland’s Reid Leibold.  Maryland would score on the 4-on-4 as forward Conor Cole scored for the Black Bears to make it a 3-2 game. Assists off the goal went to Aidan McDowell and Hunter McCoy. The goal was scored at the 10:30 mark of the third period. Johnstown would then go on to kill off the penalty. It would be a one goal game with less than seven minutes remaining.   Maryland would pull Morelli with 1:40 remaining in the game making it a 6-on-5 for the Black Bears. Maryland would call a timeout five seconds later as they were looking for a play to tie the game up. Ten seconds later, Maryland would have to go on a penalty kill as defenseman Jack Hillman was called for boarding. Morelli would be pulled once again and it would be 5-on-5 hockey for the rest of the game. Maryland would go on to score a game tying goal with fourteen seconds remaining in the game. After some conversation between the refs if the goal would stand, the goal was good and Hunter McCoy was awarded with his second short handed goal of the game. Assists went to Sean Kilcullen and Conor Cole at the 19:46 mark of the third. Just like that, both teams would once again receive a point and we would be heading into yet another overtime period. Johnstown would start the overtime period 4-on-3 for 30 seconds following the penalty Maryland was assessed. Maryland would kill the penalty and it would be a 4-on-4 until the next whistle was blown with 3:33 remaining to make it a 3-on-3.   Three minutes and five seconds remained and the Tomahawks would be going on the penalty kill. John Gelatt would take a holding penalty to make it a 4-on-3 powerplay for the Black Bears. Maryland would take advantage on the man up as defenseman Thomas Jarman scored at the 2:41 mark of overtime to win the game for the Black Bears. Daniel Colabufo and Aden Bruich were given the assist on the goal and Maryland received the extra point in overtime as they would walk away with a 4-3 win over Johnstown.  Tomahawks defenseman Ryan Poorman would end the game with two assists. Maryland’s Conor Cole (one goal, two assists) and Hunter McCoy (two goals, one assist) ended the day with three points each. The game lasted for two hours and 18 minutes with the game ending at 1:48 PM with a frowd of 46 in attendance. The Three Stars of the game were all from the Maryland Black Bears. Goaltender Michael Morelli at number three, forward Hunter McCoy at number two, and defenseman Thomas Jarman at number one. Definitely an exciting opening weekend to watch no matter if you were rooting for the Tomahawks or the Black Bears. Both teams walk out of the opening weekend series with a 1-0-1 record and three points on the season.


Maryland will travel to Middletown Ice World Arena in Middletown Township, NJ for a two game series this Friday and Saturday against the New Jersey Titans. As for your Tomahawks, they will take the ice this Friday and Saturday for their home opening weekend at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial to take on the Maine Nordiques. Puck drop for Friday’s game will take place at 7:30 PM ET while Saturday’s game will take place at 7 PM ET.  We will have a weekend preview article in a couple days to get you ready for the upcoming weekend series.


See you then!



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