BROWN BEARS (7-21-2) at TOMAHAWKS (21-7-2)
Location: Cambria County War Memorial | Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Faceoff: Tonight (7:30 p.m.), Saturday (7:00 p.m.), Sunday (3:00 p.m.)
THE JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS
The team celebrated the New Year in style with a two-game sweep of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs last weekend at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
The successful weekend pushed Johnstown’s winning streak to eight games, which is its longest winning streak of the season.
Going up against the defending Robertson Cup champions, Johnstown rose to the occasion with a 5-1 victory Friday, Dec. 30.
After surrendering the first goal early in the first period of the contest to the Ice Dogs, the Tomahawks would rattle off three unanswered late in the period.
Chris Trouba would start the scoring for the Tomahawks as he rifled a wrist over the glove of Ice Dogs netminder Josh Sarlo. For Trouba, the goal was his first in the NAHL.
Logan Stork and Donovan Ott rounded out the scoring in the first period with goals 30 seconds apart late in the frame.
At 3:05 of the second period, the Tomahawks increased their lead to 4-1 when Ott fired home his second of the game and 16th of the season. Nick Bruce and Dalton Hunter assisted on the goal.
Hunter set the final score at 5-1 with an empty-net goal at 15:56 of the third period. The goal was Hunter’s 19th of the season, which is tied for tops in the league.
Saturday, the team celebrated its traditional New Year’s Eve hockey game with a sellout crowd of 3,733 fans. And the Tomahawks sent the crowd home happy with a 3-0 shutout of the Ice Dogs.
Slovakian forward Samuel Solensky started the scoring for Johnstown after he finished a great pass from Roman Kraemer at 2:38 of the first period. Brandon Young picked up the secondary helper on the goal.
From there, it would be a struggle for Johnstown to connect offensively as Fairbanks tightened up on defense.
However, Ott would break through the stifling Ice Dogs defense with a wraparound goal at 16:52 and an empty-net goal at 18:15 of the third period.
In net during the sweep was Drew Hotte and his combined 58-save performance earned his Bauer East Division Star of the Week honors for the week ending January 1, 2017.
KENAI RIVER BROWN BEARS
A much-improved Kenai River Brown Bears squad visits the War Memorial after stumbling with a sweep at the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last weekend.
The Brown Bears fell to the Knights in game one of their series 7-4 after surrendering four goals to Knights forward Paul Maust in the defeat.
Luke Radetic, Ethan Stewart and Evan Butcher (2) notched goals for Jeff Worlton’s squad.
In game two, the Brown Bears defense had a good showing put the team ultimately fell to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3-1 at the Revolution Ice Centre.
Anthony Tzveyn registered the only goal for Kenai River in the loss.