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Game Preview: Johnstown vs. Aberdeen 9/17/14

Game Preview

Johnstown vs. Aberdeen

Schwan's Super Rink Blaine, MN

5:45 p.m. EST

    The Tomahawks open the 2014 NAHL Showcase against the Aberdeen Wings in Blaine, Minn. The Tomahawks and Wings met in the showcase last season, with the Tomahawks picking up the 3-0 win. The Tomahawks were 2-1-1 in the showcase last season, and are 3-3-2 all-time at the showcase.

The Tomahawks

    The Tomahawks come into the opening showcase game after losing a close contest to the Keystone Ice Miners on Saturday night.

    After the Tomahawks went down 2-0 in the first period, Brady Bender got them on the board with a shot that hit just under the crossbar at 16:21. They tied the game just 40 sec-onds into the second period, as Tanner Barnes shot slid between the post and the skate of goaltender Alex Blankenburg. Trevor Recktenwald gave the Tomahawks the lead less than two minutes later, before Jake Houston made it a 4-2 game at 6:48.

    The Ice Miners came back in the third period to tie the game, before winning it on a goal with 2:33 remaining in regulation. Ryan Bednard stopped 27 shots in his Tomahawks debut.

    Following tonight’s game the Tomahawks play Topeka tomorrow at 11 a.m.

The Wings

    Aberdeen begins its season tonight, and the Wings will be looking take the next step this season. The Wings finished the season with a 38-18-4 record, good for second place in the Central division. The Wings were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Bismarck Bobcats.

    The Wings will have to replace their top four scorers, who combined for 79 goals and 112 assists last season. Kyle Haak returns for the Wings, after scoring 41 points (14G-27A). Goaltender Chad Catt (20-7-1, .926 Save %) returns for the Wings, but the team will have to replace 20-game winner Henry Dill.

    The Wings like the Tomahawks have a new head coach, as Francis Anzalone takes the reigns this season. Anzalone was an associate head coach for the Wings last season.

    Aberdeen takes on Michigan tomorrow morning at 11:15 a.m.

North Division

    All six north division teams are in action this evening, battling teams from the Central and South Divisions. Michigan and Springfield will each make their season debuts tonight.

Facts & Notes

  • The Tomahawks will look to win their showcase opener for the first time. The Tomahawks fell to Brookings 4-2 in the 2012 showcase opener and to Amarillo 6-3 last season.
  • Shane Cuckovich and Alex Jaeckle each had two points in last year’s showcase. Cuckovich had two goals, while Jaeckle tallied a goal and assist
  • The Tomahawks lead the league with a 50% power-play percentage.
  • Aberdeen Head Coach Francis Anzalone’s father Frank Anzalone has a connection with Johnstown Hockey. The elder Anzalone coached the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL from 2005 to 2007.
  • Johnstown is 2-1-1 all-time against the central division.
  • 342 scouts from the NHL, NCAA, and junior teams attended the 2013 NAHL Showcase