GAME PREVIEW: Nov. 3 & 4 Vs. Springfield Jr. Blues

The first 1,000 fans to enter Saturday's game will receive one Tomahawks logo hat per person.

Gates open at 5:45 p.m. for Season Ticket Holders and 6:00 p.m. for the general public.

 

GAME PREVIEW
Springfield Jr. Blues vs. Johnstown Tomahawks

 

When:  Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena

 

By Suzanne Grove

 

THE SERIES

Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon will mark the first two of four meetings between Johnstown and Springfield for the 2012-2013 NAHL season.

 

Saturday’s game will be the Jr. Blues’ 17th game and seventh away game. The Tomahawks will play their 18th game and ninth home game.

 

The next meeting between the two clubs will not come until Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 in Springfield, Ill.

 

THE TOMAHAWKS (7-5-5)

The Tomahawks are tied for fifth place in the North Division with 19 points coming into the weekend, two points ahead of the Jr. Blues. The team will look to improve upon its impressive home record of 5-2-1.

 

Johnstown split two road games with the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in their first meeting of the season, earning three of four points last weekend and improving their road record to 2-3-4. The Tomahawks lost 5-4 in overtime on Saturday and won 6-2 on Sunday after a tremendous effort from Jordan Watt, captain Mitch Kontny, and Brandon Reinholz, who had the game-winning goal.

 

On Saturday, Johnstown fell to Kalamazoo after a dramatic third period rally that pushed the teams into overtime. The Tomahawks scored three power-play goals in the span of 2:06 to erase a 4-1 deficit and forge a 4-4 tie.

 

Starting goaltender Bodhi Engum was sent to the bench in favor of Collin Brennan after Kalamazoo notched power-play goals 27 seconds apart in a second period that featured four Jr. K-Wings goals. But the Tomahawks offense surged in the third period with Cody Gylling, Brandon Reinholz and Mike Sandor each beating the Kalamazoo netminder to add to the Reinholz goal that opened the scoring at 2:07 of the first. Reinholz and Kontny both lead the team in goals with seven, and Reinholz has nine points (2-7-9) in his last 10 games. 

 

On Sunday, the Tomahawks avenged the previous day’s loss with their 6-2 win. Watt scored goals 1:48 apart late in the first period to erase an early deficit, and Kontny scored twice in the third period to complete a run of four unanswered goals by Johnstown.

 

Cody Gylling, Casey Nelson, and Jesse Kessler each had two assists for Johnstown, while goaltender Chris Truehl made 41 saves in his first start since October 13.

Gylling continues to lead his team in points with 15 (5-10-15). Defenseman Kessler is second with 11 (4-7-11). Kessler has six points in his last five games and is currently tied with four other players in the league for fourth place in points by a defenseman.

 

The team is enjoying a stretch of four straight home games, with its next two matchups against Kalamazoo on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10. Both games begin at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

THE Jr. BLUES (6-8-2)

The Jr. Blues enter the weekend after sweeping the Janesville Jets at home last weekend: They dominated in a 5-3 win on Friday and won again by a two-goal margin, 3-1, on Saturday. However, they currently hold a road record of 1-4-1 and are seventh in the North Division with 14 points, two places beneath the Tomahawks.

 

On Friday evening, Nate Chasteen (4-8-12) and James McGing (4-6-10) each had two goals to help the Jr. Blues blast past Janesville. Goaltender Matt Leon, who was playing in his eighth game of the season, stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

 

On Saturday, the Jr. Blues scored three unanswered goals to help them to their 3-1 win. Mike Fazio (4-8-12) notched two goals. He has gone 3-4-7 in his last five games for Springfield.

 

Springfield had a poor start to the season, going 2-6-2 in its first 10 games. But, the team is familiar with such starts; in 2011-2012, the Jr. Blues won only one of their first seven games. But, the team proved capable of turning around its season, losing only seven games in regulation from January through March. They would ultimately beat the Janesville Jets to earn a spot in the Midwest Divisional Finals, but fell to the St. Louis Bandits in four games.

 

The organization changed ownership over the off-season, a move that led to a change in coaching as well. This serves as Head Coach and General Manager Tony Zasowski’s first season with the team. He attended the University of Notre Dame before playing professionally with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL and going on to coach in the USHL, ECHL, and NAHL.

 

The team’s next games come on Nov. 9 and 10 at home against the Sault Ste. Marie Eagles.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Johnstown

Brandon Reinholz: The 6-1, 180-pound St. Cloud, MN native has been a difference-maker for the Tomahawks lately. He has 10 points (7-3-10) on the season and is +4. He has earned points in three of his last five games and, along with Kontny, leads his team in goals with seven.

 

Springfield

Brett Skibba:The Verona, WI native leads the team in points with 16 (11-5-16). He also leads both the team and the league in shots with 78. He has earned four points in his last five games. Skibba is playing in his second season with the Jr. Blues and is on pace to far surpass his stats from 2011-2012: He had 17 points (6-11-17) in 57 games.

 

STAT PACK

·      The Tomahawks are currently tied for fifth place in the North Division with 19 points. They are five points behind Jamestown’s leading 24 points.

·      Johnstown has scored 18 goals on 96 power-play chances (18.8%) and has gone 66-for-81 on the penalty kill (81.5%).

·      The Tomahawks lead the league in power-play opportunities with 96.

·      Casey Nelson continues to lead his team in shots with 53. He also leads the entire league in shots by a defenseman.

·      The Tomahawks have the most major (17) and minor (114) penalties in the league.

·      Johnstown is currently tied for first place with three other teams for the most power-play goals at 18.

·      Springfield has gone 12-for-63 on the power play (19.1%) and 55-for-65 on the penalty kill (84.6%).

 

 

NOTES

  • Springfield’s Fazio was named the North Division Star of the Week on Monday, October 29. His two assists on last Friday night and three-point game on Saturday (2-1-3) helped him to earn the honor.
  • The Jr. Blues’ Alex Baskakov, who was born in Ufa, Russia, played his high school hockey with Canon McMillan, located in South Western PA. The 6-0, 190-pound defenseman has contributed six points (1-5-6) this season.
  • The Tomahawks will give out hats to the first 1,000 fans at Saturday night’s game.