Wenatchee Wild vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
Feb. 15 and 16 at 7 p.m.
War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove
Friday and Saturday night will mark the third and fourth meetings between Johnstown and Wenatchee after the two clubs split games in Wenatchee on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Those two games were part of the Tomahawks month-long stretch of away games that saw them become road warriors, going 5-1-0 for 10 points between Nov. 23 and Dec. 8.
Johnstown earned a 4-3 victory against the Wild in overtime during the Tomahawks first visit to Wenatchee. Jordan Watt scored his eighth goal of the season 53 seconds into overtime Friday night. Andrew McDonald scored two goals, including Johnstown's first short-handed goal of the season, to help the Tomahawks to their fifth straight victory and first overtime win. Goaltender Chris Truehl made 34 saves for Johnstown, while Jacob Barber scored all three goals for Wenatchee, which had lost only five games at that point in the season.
The following night, Truehl was back in net, allowing only one goal on 39 shots. That goal by Jono Davis did not come until 12:42 of the third period and was enough to give Wentachee the win, as the Tomahawks were unable to get on the board all night.
Friday marks Johnstown’s 49th game and 25th home game. The Wild will play their 45th game and 19th road game. The two teams will not meet again during the regular season.
THE TOMAHAWKS (22-16-10)
The Tomahawks continue to sit in fourth place in the North Division with 54 points, 12 points behind the division leading Eagles . . . The Hawks will enter the weekend looking to get the sweep at home for the first time since they defeated Kalamazoo in two games on Nov. 9 and 10. The team has earned points in six of its last ten games, going 5-4-1 . . . The Tomahawks hold a home record of 12-8-4.
After losing in the shootout to Janesville Feb. 8, the Tomahawks have now played beyond regulation 14 times this season. Johnstown leads the league in overtime loses with 10 . . . The Tomahawks still have a strong physical presence, proving to play gritty hockey throughout 60 minutes whether at home or on the road. They have the most penalty minutes in the North Division and third most in the league . . .
With 30 points (10-20-30), Casey Nelson is fifth in the league for points among defenseman. He also leads the entire league in shots by defenseman with 169 – 50 more than Amarillo’s John Rey who comes in second. Cody Gylling continues to lead his team in points with 40 (16-24-40) and Kontny leads the team in goals with 18 (18-16-34). Colin Brennan has yet to face the Wild in net. Truehl meanwhile has played in 10 of Johnstown’s last 11 games.
Last weekend, the Tomahawks split two games with the Janesville Jets and emerged with three points after a shootout loss on Feb. 8. During that game, the Tomahawks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after goals by Gylling at 5:00 and Ian Spencer at 9:16 of the first. Janesville scored two in the last five minutes of that period to even game and eventually go up 3-2 at 7:09 of the second period. Jordan Watt tied the game 3-3 just near the midway mark of the second, but neither team would score again in regulation to push the game into overtime and then a shootout. The Tomahawks went 2-for-9 on the power play and stopped all but one of the Jets power-play opportunities. Colin Brennan was in net to stop 20 of 23 shots.
On Feb. 9, Mitch Hall, JB Baker, and Nelson all scored to help the Tomahawks to a 3-1 victory. Johnstown went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill and Truehl was back between the pipes, stopping 32 of 33.
Special Teams: The Tomahawks are 47-for-251 on the power play this season (18.7%) 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 with 47. Meanwhile, the team will look to improve its penalty kill, which is currently 187-for-223 (83.9%).
Johnstown will play at home again next weekend, hosting Fresno on Feb. 22 and 23.
THE WILD (33-7-4)
Wenatchee leads the West Division with 70 points, a full 9 points ahead of second place Fairbanks. Only Amarillo in the South (72) and Austin in the Central (71) have more points this season. The Wild also have the most goals in their division with 151 and allowed the least goals with 98. They have an outstanding record on the road, going 15-2-1. The Tomahawks will look to break Wenatchee’s current win streak of five games that began on Jan. 24 at home against Kenai River. In addition, the Wild hold the longest current road win streak in the league – they have won eight straight since Oct. 12. The team is also 9-2-1 in their past 12 games.
Jono Davis is the team’s point leader with 48 (27-21-48). He has had seven points in his last five games . . . Goaltender Robert Nichols has won 27 games this season (27-6-3) with a GAA of 1.96 (third in the league) and save percentage of .916.
Special Teams:The Wild are are 29-for-192 on the power play (15.1%) and have gone 174-for-196 (88.8%) on the penalty kill for second in the league.
The Wild will stay on the road for two games in Jamestown next weekend.