Tomahawks force Game 5 in wild playoff Thursday
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 4: Johnstown 4 @ Maryland 2 (Series tied, 2-2) - The Johnstown Tomahawks defeated the Maryland Black Bears in the do-or-die game four, forcing a game five Saturday night in Johnstown. After a scoreless 1st period, Jay Ahearn got the Tomahawks on the board just 1:25 into the 2nd period. Later in the period, Max Neill received a pass from Anthony Mastromonica and shoved the puck into the back of the net right by Maryland goaltender Hannes Kollen to give the Tomahawks a 2-0 lead. Halfway through the 3rd period, Maryland’s Josh Nixon found the back of the net, getting them on the board to make it a one-goal game. Five and a half minutes later, Ahearn showed great patience, playing around Kollen to find the open spot and put the puck in the back of the net, regaining the two-goal lead with 2:47 to go. When Maryland pulled their netminder for the extra attacker, Dylan Finlay solved Sam Evola with 60 seconds to go in regulation, making it 3-2 still in favor of Johnstown. As the final minute of the game continued on and Maryland pulled their netminder again, Anthony Mastromonica scored on the empty net with 0.1 remaining on the clock, giving the Tomahawks a 4-2 win in Maryland Thursday night. Evola made 26 saves in the win, while Kollen made 45 saves in the loss.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Aberdeen 2 @ Minot 3 (2OT) (Aberdeen leads series, 2-1) – Minot goalie Keenan Rancier made a career-high 69 saves to lead the Minotauros to a 3-2 win in double overtime in a must-win Game 3 for the Minotauros. After a scoreless 1st period, Aberdeen took a 1-0 lead thanks to a 2nd period power play goal from Jake Goldowski. Minot mounted a furious comeback in the 3rd period, scoring back-to-back goals from Logan Anderson and Brett Roloson to take a 2-1 lead midway through the period. The Wings tied the game at 2-2 late in the period as Will Arquiett netted the equalizer. After almost two scoreless overtimes, the Minotauros found the game-winner on a rebound goal from Cade Stibbe. Wings goalie Jake Sibell made 48 saves in the loss.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Shreveport 3 @ Amarillo 2 (OT) (Shreveport leads series, 2-1) – Garrett Steele scored twice and Cole Hudson made 33 saves to lift the Mudbugs to a 3-2 overtime win in Game 3 of their best of five series against Amarillo on Thursday. The Mudbugs were first out of the game with a goal from Steele in the 1st period. The Bulls tied the game early in the 2nd period as Ryan Coughlin scored his first goal of the series. The Mudbugs would regain the lead later in the 2nd period thanks to Steele’s second goal of the game. Late in the 3rd period, the Bulls found the equalizer with just :21 seconds remaining in regulation as Harrison Scott scored. In the overtime, the Mudbugs capitalized on a turnover at the Bulls blueline, which saw Dawson Sciarrino skate in alone to beat Bulls goalie Andrew Takacs for the game-winner and series lead. Takacs would end up making 38 saves in the loss.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Maine 3 @ New Jersey 2 (Maine leads series, 2-1) – The Maine Nordiques scored twice in the 3rd period to come from behind to edge the Titans in Game 3 of their East Division Semi-Final series, 3-2. The Titans were first on the board as late in the 1st period, Joshua Rule scored the game’s opening goal. In the 2nd period, Maine tied the game at 1-1 as Reese Farrell netted his first of the season. The lead was short-lived as Evan Werner scored for the Titans two minutes later to give the home side the lead back at 2-1. Early in the 3rd period, the Nordiques took their first lead thanks to a goal from Tristan Fasig, which tied the game at 2-2, and then the game-winner from defenseman Luke Antonacci, who scored on the power play for his first goal of the series. Nordiques goalie Tyriq Outen made 24 saves in the win, while Titans goalie Christian Stoever made 37 saves in the loss.