The series starts tonight with puck drop at 1st Summit Arena at 8:05 PM at the Maryland Black Bears (9-10-0-2) face rival Johnstown Tomahawks (13-7-0-4). It’s been five weekend series in a row now that the Black Bears have split their weekend series with opponents, and the last time they didn’t… well, it was this same Johnstown team that would defeat Maryland 5-1 and 4-1 back on October 11th and 12th. HOWEVER, the Black Bears, just earlier this month, would defeat the Tomahawks 2-1 in OT at Piney Orchard thanks to a Kyle Oleksiuk game winner.
Standings wise, the Black Bears sit sixth in the East Division with 20 points, but here’s the kicker… the third place Wilkes/Barre/Scranton Knights sit at just 22 points, so a Maryland Win and WBS loss pumps the Bears right up the standings. We know the Black Bears have struggled against Johnstown the past two season, but this weekend, two big wins, four big point, could really help make a statement her before Thanksgiving and put Maryland in a solid spot.
Last series vs Johnstown earlier this month, DeMatha alum Andrew Takacs got both starts in net, going 1-1 on the weekend, and turning away 71 of 75 shots faced on the weekend. Since then, Tackas has started four of the last five, so expect him to get the go this weekend in opne, and potentially both games.
As with every team, you need your stars to shine, and Maryland will need that his weekend from their top guys in Skoog, Stannard, and Sterrett, who are the Black Bears top three scorers. Last game vs New Jersey was the first in five games that Skoog was held without a goal. He also only has one goal in four games vs Johnstown this season. Stannard is coming off a five point weekend so they’ll look to him for a massive contribution if they wanna pull a weekend upset. Lastly, Sterrett has been pointless in his last three, so a couple apples and a tuck here and there would be massive for not only the team, but for Jacksons game and confidence.