GAME PREVIEW: Saturday, October 13 vs Soo Eagles

GAME PREVIEW
Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Sault Ste. Marie Eagles

 

When: Saturday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Pullar Stadium, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

By Suzanne Grove

 

THE SERIES

 

The Tomahawks meet the Eagles for the second consecutive night after Soo earned a 5-4 shootout victory at home Friday night in the first game between the teams this season. Robin Hoglund had two goals and the only goal of the shootout to lead Sault Ste. Marie to the victory.

These teams will meet four times in the span of nine days, as the Eagles will travel to Johnstown next weekend for games Friday and Saturday at the War Memorial. The fourth-place Eagles are two points ahead of fifth-place Johnstown in the North Division heading into this game.

 

THE TOMAHAWKS (4-3-4)

Johnstown has points in five straight games (3-0-2) after its three-game winning streak was snapped Friday night in a game that saw the Tomahawks outshoot the Eagles, 61-37. That set a team record for shots on goal and established a season-high for NAHL teams, among which Johnstown is now sixth in shots per game (32.7).

Johnstown went 3-for-5 on the power play in the shootout loss and is an impressive 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) with the extra man over the last three games. The Tomahawks enter this game 11th in the NAHL on the power play (12-for-63, 19.0 percent). Johnstown, 0-2-3 on the road this season, is playing three games in three days for the first time this season. The Tomahawks, who travel to Michigan Sunday, will do so again Jan. 4-6 at Michigan. 

Brandon Brossoit, who scored a power-play goal off a one-on-two rush Friday, has points in four consecutive games (3-4-7) and is the Tomahawks’ leading scorer (4-6-10). Brandon Reinholz has points in four of the past five games (3-3-6), including the Tomahawks’ first goal Friday night. Friday marked the first time in eight games Johnstown failed to score the game’s first goal.

 

THE EAGLES  (6-4-2)

The Soo Eagles have earned points in six consecutive games (5-0-1) after last night’s win, their last regulation loss coming Sept. 22 at home against Kalamazoo (4-5). Sault Ste. Marie, 4-2-1 at home this season, will play its next eight games on the road.

Soo features two of top scorers in the NAHL, as both Eric Rivard and Jarod VanWormer are tied for third with 15 points through 12 games. Rivard has five goals and VanWormer four, VanWormer scoring a second-period goal Friday that staked the Eagles to a 3-1 lead. Rivard has points in nine straight games, matching Topeka’s Sean Gaffney for the NAHL’s longest current points streak. VanWormer has assists in six straight games, currently the league’s longest such streak.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Johnstown

Ian Spencer: The 5-10, 194-pound defenseman from Hawthorne, NJ picked a great time to deliver his first goal of the season Friday night. After the Tomahawks failed to take advantage of a 1:30 two-man advantage in the third period, Spencer delivered a power-play goal from the right circle at 10:41 to tie the game and force overtime. He has points in three of the last four games (1-3-4).

Eagles

 

Robin Hoglund: The 6-1, 180-pound forward from Molndal, Sweden began the season with Fairbanks and has now played four games for Soo. His made his presence felt Friday night with two goals and the lone goal of the shootout to lead the Eagles to victory. He will play next season for Notre Dame.

 

STAT PACK

·      Johnstown’s Casey Nelson had seven shots Friday night and leads all NAHL defensemen in shots on goal (40).

·      Goaltender Chris Truehl has come off the bench twice this season, stopping 36 of 38 shots in those games while helping Johnstown earn three of four possible points. He stopped 17 of 18 shots Friday, allowing only Hoglund’s goal in the sixth round of the shootout.

·       Johnstown leads the NAHL in minor penalties (80).

·      Soo is allowing an average of 37.9 shots per game, most in the NAHL, but is also averaging 33.1 shots per game, second only to Amarillo.

·      Eagles’ goaltender Tyler Marble has a save percentage of .939, second in the NAHL to Topeka’s Mackenzie Sawyer (.940).

 

NOTES

  • Forward Mike Sandor had two shots and was even in his Tomahawks debut Friday.
  • Johnstown plays again on Sunday, traveling nearly 300 miles south to face the Michigan Warriors for the third time this season.
  • Truehl tonight is expected to make his first start since Sept. 29, a 3-2 loss to Michigan in the home opener.
  • Johnstown has converted only one of 13 shootout attempts this season.