Jamestown Ironmen vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
March 8th and 9th, 2013
War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove
Contributions and Editing by Ed Sheets
This weekend the Tomahawks once again face a division rival as they host the Jamestown Ironmen after two back-to-back weekend series against West Division teams (The Fresno Monsters and Wenatchee Wild) in February. Friday and Saturday mark Johnstown’s final two home games of the regular season and the team’s sixth and seventh homes games in less than a month’s time.
After both Fresno and Wenatchee swept the Hawks, stopping them from earning a possible eight points during those four games, Johnstown is determined to earn four points on the weekend for the first time at home since they swept the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings on Nov. 9 and 10.
The Tomahawks have a strong record against the Ironmen, going 3-1-0 in four meetings and sweeping them during their first games in Jamestown on Nov. 23 and 24. Truehl was in net both nights, only allowing 5 goals on 70 shots. Brennan was between the pipes for the most recent games in Johnstown on Dec. 14 and 15, stopping all 19 shots he faced for the win on Friday and allowing only one goal on Saturday for the loss.
Johnstown has consistently outshot Jamestown in three of their four games and has outscored the Ironmen, 13-6. The Tomahawks have also proved more successful on the power play, earning eight goals on 24 chances. Jamestown only capitalized on one of 11 opportunities. Cody Gylling and defenseman Casey Nelson lead their team in points against the Ironmen, both tallying six points (1-5-6) in four games. Brandon Reinholz has the most goals with four (4-1-5) in four games. Meanwhile, Dylan Zink has the most for the opposition, going 1-2-3 in the four games against Johnstown.
Mitch Kontny, Jeff Bergh, Connor Wright, Jesse Kessler, Jordan Watt, and Andrew McDonald also have goals against the Ironmen this season. Wright has the most penalty minutes against them and Nelson has the most shots with 22.
If there was any doubt that Johnstown and Jamestown are fierce North-Division rivals, that was erased on Dec. 14, as both teams got physical in a game that included several scrums and two fights. When the dust settled, Brennan recorded the shutout and McDonald provided a goal and an assist as the Tomahawks picked up a dominating 5-0 victory in front of 3,388 at the War Memorial. Johnstown made good use of the power play, converting two of nine opportunities while stopping Jamestown on all three of its chances. Jamestown’s Matt Lanzillotti hit McDonald in front of the penalty boxes at 6:39 of the second period igniting a fight between Wright and Luc Gerdes near Jamestown’s blue line. This would be the first in a string of altercations between the two clubs. Kessler and Elliot Tisdale made contact at 10:21 before getting together and dropping the gloves near center ice. The following night the two teams went over 48 minutes without a goal, but Nicholas Sierra poked a shot past Brennan in the third period to give Jamestown a 1-0 win in front of a sellout crowd. Both goaltenders were strong with Reid Mimmack stopping all 37 shots for his second shutout of the season, just one night after giving up five goals in a 5-0 Tomahawks’ victory. Colin Brennan stopped 30 of 31 shots in the loss, snapping his four-game winning streak. Sierra’s goal snapped Brennan’s streak of 127 minutes without allowing a goal.
Friday marks Johnstown’s 55th game overall and 29th home game while Jamestown will play their 53rd game and 27th road game. The two clubs will face each other once more during the regular season in Jamestown on March 29 and 30, the Tomahawks final games of the regular season.
THE TOMAHAWKS (23-19-12)
The Tomahawks are fighting to create an even more memorable first season in the NAHL by making a run for the 2013 Robertson Cup. The team has yet to clinch a spot in the playoffs and every game counts with a precious two points on the line. The Tomahawks are currently in fourth place in the North Division, where they have remained for most of the season. They have 58 points, 12 points behind third-place Jamestown and only six points ahead of fifth place Port Huron, which did not play last weekend. Johnstown has only four games remaining after this weekend – all of which are on the road. Port Huron will play eight more times before the final whistle of the 2012-2013 season.
The Tomahawks have a current home record of 12-10-6. They have gone 1-2-2 in their last five games and 3-5-2 in their last 10 at the War Memorial.
Last weekend, the Tomahawks emerged with two points while playing in Springfield, IL against the Jr. Blues. The Hawks earned a 4-2 victory on Friday night, during which Kontny scored the game-winning goal at 8:50 of the second period. Watt, Cody Boyd, and JB Baker also scored for Johnstown. Brennan stopped 21 of 23 shots on the night. The Tomahawks went two-for-five on the power play and stopped all five of Springfield’s five chances with the man advantage.
The following night, the Tomahawks lost, 3-2. The Jr. Blues had a 3-0 lead by the middle of the second period on a goal at 13:11. Watt and Kontny tried to earn the comeback with goals a little less than two minutes apart in the third, but it wasn’t enough. Brennan stopped 22 of 25 before being replaced by Truehl, who stopped all 13 shots he faced. The Tomahawks were outshot, 38-25.
With 32 points (10-22-32), Nelson is tied with Zink of Jamestown at fifth in the league for points among defenseman. Nelson also leads the entire league in shots by defenseman with 189 – 41 more than Amarillo’s John Rey, who comes in second . . . Gylling continues to lead his team in points with 44 (16-28-44) and Kontny leads the team in goals with 21 (21-18-39).
The Tomahawks are 19-14-9 against teams in their own division.
Special Teams: The Tomahawks are 53-for-278 on the power play this season (19.1%) for third place in the league and first in the division. They have created more power-play opportunities than anyone else in the league and are second in PP goals. Meanwhile, the team is 211-for-250 (84.4%) on the penalty kill.
THE IRONMEN (33-15-4)
The Ironmen are looking to move up in the North Division standings as the end of the season approaches. They currently sit in third place in the division, one point behind Kalamazoo and five points behind division leading Soo. After missing the playoffs in their inaugural season in Jamestown, the Ironmen have already punched their ticket to the playoffs and are looking for a first round bye. Following this weekend’s games, the Ironmen will travel to Kalamazoo before closing out the regular season with home games against Michigan and the Tomahawks.
The Ironmen have been successful away from home with a 15-9-2 road record this season, including going 6-4-0 in their last 10 road games. Overall they have won four of their last five games.
The Tomahawks will see an unfamiliar presence in the Jamestown net, as goaltenders Blake Wojtala and Joe Ballmer were not with the Ironmen during the first four meetings this season. Both have been effective for the Ironmen with Wojtala going 3-2-0 as a member of the Ironmen and 6-9-1 overall. Ballmer is 5-1-0 for Jamestown this season.
The Ironmen traveled to Flint, MI last weekend splitting a weekend series with the Michigan Warriors. Jamestown’s Tyler Dunagan scored the game-winning goal with 1:38 remaining in the third period, giving the Ironmen a 4-3 win Friday night. Zink added a goal and an assist in the win, while Ballmer stopped 29 of 32 shots, picking up the win – his fourth straight.
The following night, Jamestown struck first, but Michigan scored three unanswered goals in a 2:05 stretch of the second period to defeat the Ironmen, 3-1. The lone Jamestown goal came from Victor Johansson at 12:28 of the second period. Wojtala took the loss, stopping 22 of 25 shots.
Luc Gerdes leads the team in goals (24), points (44) and power-play goals (8). His eight game-winning goals are tied with Soo’s Eric Rivard for the league lead. He has scored one goal in four games this season against the Tomahawks.
The Ironmen are 32-for-194 on the power play this season (16.5%) for tenth in the league and fourth in the division. Their 194 power-play opportunities are the third lowest in the league, with only Fresno and Michigan having fewer. The team is 162-for-199 (81.4%) on the penalty kill.