Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Michigan Warriors
When: Sunday, October 14 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Where: Perani Arena, Flint, MI
By Suzanne Grove
This is the third meeting of the season between Johnstown and Michigan. The Warriors beat the Tomahawks, 3-2, in a shootout in Johnstown’s home opener on Sept. 29 before 3,721 fans at the War Memorial. Jake Hopfner scored twice in regulation for Michigan, including the game-tying goal with 3:09 to play, and Zach Szajner delivered the only goal of the shootout. Johnstown defenseman Cody Bentzel had two assists in the game.
The Tomahawks responded with a 4-2 home win the following night. Jesse Kessler broke a 2-2 tie with 5:04 to play, and Brandon Brossoit added an empty-net goal to start a three-game home win streak for the Tomahawks, who outshot Michigan, 39-22. Johnstown went 0-for-8 on the power play in its previous two games against the Warriors, while Michigan went 0-for-4.
The teams will not meet again until they play three games in three days at Perani Arena Jan. 4-6.
THE TOMAHAWKS (4-4-4)
Johnstown was swept by host Sault Ste. Marie in games Friday and Saturday, falling 5-4 in a shootout Friday and 4-1 Saturday. The Tomahawks scored first for the eighth time in nine games when Jordan Watt got his third goal of the season early in the second period Saturday, but penalty problems led to Soo outshooting Johnstown, 26-5, and scoring twice in the period on the way to the victory.
Chris Truehl stopped 43 shots in goal for Johnstown, which for the game was outshot, 47-20, and went 0-for-5 on the power play. The Tomahawks are 0-3-3 on the road and enter Sunday’s game fifth in the North Division.
Johnstown returns home next weekend to face Sault Ste. Marie on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19 and 20.
THE WARRIORS (2-9-0)
Michigan suffered its fifth straight loss Saturday night, falling 4-2 to Jamestown at home. The Warriors, who sport the NAHL’s second-worst record, have lost eight of their last nine games and have scored just seven goals in their last five games. Their last victory was their 3-2 shootout win at Johnstown Sept. 29.
Saturday night, Connor Lyons and Zach Szajner scored to give the Warriors a 2-0 first-period lead over Jamestown, but the Ironmen scored three goals in the final seven and a half minutes of the game to earn the victory.
After Sunday’s game, Michigan will play a pair of games at Port Huron next weekend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kristaps Bazevics: The Latvian defenseman is due for an offensive breakout. He had three goals and five points in his first five games, but Bazevics has failed to record a point in the last four games. The red-hot Johnstown power play cooled off Saturday night, but from his point position Bazevics could play a role in getting it back on track.
A.J. Marcinek: The 6-0, 172-pound forward from Byron Center, MI has one goal and three points in six games with Michigan since being acquired in a trade with Kalamazoo in late September. He set up a goal in the Warriors’ 4-2 loss to Jamestown Saturday night.
· Johnstown managed only 20 shots in Saturday’s loss to Soo, the Tomahawks’ second-lowest single-game total of the season. They had 18 shots in a 6-5 shootout win over Kenai River Sept. 13.
· Jordan Watt not only scored Johnstown’s lone goal Saturday but also joined Brandon Brossoit with a team-high four shots.
· The 26 shots allowed by the Tomahawks in the second period Saturday are the most allowed by an NAHL team in one period this season.
· Michigan is 0-5-0 on home ice this season.
- Michigan is coached by Moe Mantha, the highest-scoring American-born defenseman in Penguins’ history.
- The Warriors are a young team with eight players born in 1994 and two others born in 1995.
- After this game, Johnstown will have played only four of its first 13 games at the War Memorial, although the Tomahawks were technically the “home” team for two of their four games at the NAHL Showcase last month.