With just 14 games remaining in the regular season, the Tomahawks make the trip to Alaska, for games against the Kenai River Brown Bears this weekend and the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs next weekend. All three teams are currently in the playoff hunt, and will be looking to solidify their playoff spots during these important games.
The Tomahawks make the trip to Alaska for the first time in team history, after hosting the Brown Bears and Ice Dogs during the week of New Year’s Eve. Prior to those four games, the Tomahawks and Brown Bears met previously at the 2012 NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. The Tomahawks won that game 6-5, the first win in team history.
The Tomahawks split the pair of games with Fairbanks Dec. 30 and 31, with the Ice Dogs taking the first meeting 6-3. The Tomahawks rebounded on New Year’s Eve, winning 3-1 in front of 3,250 on New Year’s Eve. The following weekend, Johnstown swept Kenai River, winning 5-3 on Friday night and 5-2 on Saturday night.
Kenai River is currently not in the postseason, sitting four points behind the Minnesota Magicians for the final Midwest Division playoff spot. The Brown Bears will look for a pair of important wins on home ice, where they have gone 8-16-0 this season.
“We had good success against Kenai River at home back in the early part of 2015, so I expect them to really bring their A game against us in their building. They have a large ice surface so we will need to work our game into the elements that creates, said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
Fairbanks has clinched a postseason berth, and currently sits in second place in the Midwest Division. The Ice Dogs are within striking distance of the first place Minnesota Wilderness, while holding a 14 point lead over third place Coulee Region.
“I expect Fairbanks to be very upbeat and intense for the series especially in their home arena. I have heard it is quite the environment to play in so I am looking forward to it. They are the defending champions so it will be a great road test for our team to succeed in,” said Letizia.
The trip to Alaska presents some challenges, but Letizia hopes that it will bring them success both on and off the ice.
“The boys are excited about the trip as it will be such an intriguing environment to visit, somewhere none of us probably would have ever visited. We are hoping to use the excitement of the road trip and playoff atmosphere we are building around the team to get us extra motivation to overcome any physical restrictions that the dynamic of the trip may present,” said Letizia.
All four games in Alaska can be viewed on www.fasthockey.com, with face-offs set for 11:30 p.m. EST. We will also provide recaps of each game the following day on www.johnstowntomahawks.com and on our official Facebook and Twitter pages.