Eight different Johnstown Tomahawks scored goals on Friday night at 1st Summit Arena.
The first-place ‘Hawks scored a pair 31 seconds apart and later found the net twice in a span of 1 minute, 21 seconds. Another goal came with only 31.7 seconds remaining in the period.
At the other end, Johnstown goaltender Carter McPhail stoped 22 of 24 shots on goal by the Maryland Black Bears.
The combination led to the Tomahawks’ 8-2 victory in front of 2,678 fans.
“Couldn’t really ask for a better start, getting some momentum early and putting them back on their heels,” said forward Cameron Hebert, who opened the scoring 1:26 into the game and added three assists for a four-point night. “It gets all the guys fired up right at the beginning.”
Hebert converted a power play at 1:26 for his 20th goal of the season, and Joe Kile added his sixth at 1:57.
Maryland’s Bobby Batten scored on the power play at 6:54 of the first to briefly cut the deficit to one.
But the ‘Hawks netted power-play goals by Carson Briere and Chris Trouba to open the margin. Then, Pavel Kharin scored with 31.7 seconds remaining to make it 5-1 after the first period.
Briere’s goal was his 29th of the season and 21st on the man advantage.
“We talked before the game how we wanted to make sure we got out to a fast start,” Johnstown coach Mike Letizia said. “It was good to see our power play chip in on that early one. Joey (Kile) buried one right after that, we got a couple more PP goals and Pavel (Kharin) got that one late in the period.”
The second period started in similar fashion, as Roman Kraemer scored at 1:04 and Samuel Solensky potted his 23rd goal at 2:25.
“This team has a lot of depth. Almost every one of our forwards and defenseman has the ability to score. It showed with eight goals and no repeats,” Kraemer said. “Those little spurts we have really deflate the other team and takes all their momentum away.”
Johnstown’s Oliver Benwell pushed the advantage to 8-1 at 5:03.
The Black Bears’ Jonathan Young scored a goal at 16:14 of the second to make it 8-2 through 40 minutes.
A scoreless third period still produced plenty of action, as the teams combined for nine penalties for 18 minutes. There were a few hard hits and tempers flared, especially after McPhail was taken out behind the net. Moments later, the fiery goalie picked up a Maryland stick and broke it, which resulted in a penalty to set up a 4-on-4.
“We understand the situations of the games and what the game probably is going to play out like,” Letizia said. “We had to stay disciplined ourselves but also make sure if they gave us the power plays we’d make them count.
“A tough game. When you get in those circumstances sometimes you get sloppy and get away from your game. I thought at times we did that. We have to make sure we don’t do that.”
The teams will play again at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday at 1st Summit Arena.
“Hopefully we’ll play the same style we did tonight but maybe get a better third out of everybody,” Kraemer said.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @masty81.