Casey Linkenheld finished with a hat trick, as the Johnstown Tomahawks defeated the Kenai River Brown Bears 5-3 on Friday night at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena. The win is the Tomahawks second straight and their third in the last four home games.
Linkenheld got Johnstown (15-13-2) on the board, taking pass from Trevor Recktenwald, before scoring a backhanded goal 9:20 into the first period.
Just over a minute later, Tanner Schachle tied the game with a wraparound shot just inside the right post. Evan Butcher earned the assist, taking the initial shot that led to the goal.
Cam Bleck broke the tie, as his shot from inside the right face-off circle found its way between the legs of Kenai River goaltender Evan Hauser at 15:03. Just 27 seconds later, Lynch extended the lead, scoring on an odd-man rush. Andrew Romano and Filips Buncis each earned assists on Bleck’s 12th goal of the season.
Linkenheld picked up his second goal early in the second period, scoring on a pass from Recktenwald 38 seconds into the period. He completed the hat trick 4:28 into the second period. Ian Spencer added the assist on the first Tomahawks hat trick since Jordan Watt had two straight in February 2014.
Kenai River (11-20-2) scored two more to set the final score, as Ben Campbell scored a power-play goal at 9:20 of the second period and Matt Rudin set the final score with 1:20 remaining in the third period.
Jake Gwillim earned the win, stopping 38 of 41 shots, while Evan Hauser stopped 3 of 9 shots in the loss. Alec Derks replaced Hauser prior to the start of the second period. He finished the game, allowing two goals on 19 shots.
The Tomahawks conclude their weekend series against the Brown Bears on Saturday night. Face-off is set for 5 p.m. here at the War Memorial. For more information, visit www.johnstowntomahawks.com or call 814-536-GOAL.