Soo Eagles vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
When: Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove
Friday and Saturday night will mark the third and fourth meetings between Johnstown and Sault Ste. Marie. The teams met for the first time last weekend in Michigan, where the Eagles swept the Tomahawks in a 5-4 shootout victory Friday and a 4-1 win on Saturday.
Michigan snapped Johnstown’s three-game win streak on Friday night when Swedish forward Robin Hoglund scored two goals in regulation and contributed the only goal of the shootout.
Johnstown goaltender Chris Truehl stopped all 17 shots he faced in regulation and overtime after he replaced starter Bodhi Engum at 13:34 of the second period. Johnstown received goals from Brandon Reinholz, Brandon Brossoit, Codey Hansen, and Ian Spencer, who forced overtime when he scored his first goal of the season on the power play with 10:41 remaining in the third period to make it 4-4. The Tomahawks went 3-for-5 on the power play and were perfect on the penalty kill, going 4-for-4.
On Saturday, Johnstown failed to convert any of its five power-play chances and only scored one goal in the second period when Jordan Watt scored at 1:26. The Eagles outshot the Tomahawks, 47-20, including outshooting them, 26-5, in the second period.
The division rivals play each other four more times this season, with each team playing two home games.
THE TOMAHAWKS (5-4-4)
Johnstown completed its three-game weekend in Flint, MI, beating the Michigan Warriors, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at Perani Arena. Jesse Kessler and Cody Gylling each had three points in the game to help their team to its first road win of the season and move within four points of first place in the NAHL’s North Division.
Goaltender Collin Brennan, a native of Chester, NJ acquired from the Janesville Jets at the end of September, made his debut in a Tomahawks sweater and stood strong between the pipes, stopping 27 of 29 shots.
Gylling’s three assists in last Sunday’s game left him as the team’s leader in scoring with 12 points (4-8-12) coming into this weekend. Brandon Brossoit stood second with 10 points (4-6-10). Three of their four goals this season have come on the power play. Meanwhile, Kessler begins the weekend tied with four other players for fourth place in points by a defenseman with nine.
The Tomahawks enter this weekend series with a strong home record, going 3-0-1 at the War Memorial Arena with three straight victories. They completed a sweep of the Janesville Jets during their last homestand, winning 5-3 on Saturday October, 6 and 4-1 on Sunday, October 7. Johnstown’s roster has proven to have scoring depth; six different players currently lead the team with four goals each.
Johnstown had also scored first in nine of its last 10 games coming into this weekend.
The team’s next set of games comes on Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 in Kalamazoo, MI against the Jr. K-Wings.
The Soo Eagles have earned points in seven consecutive games (6-0-1) after their two wins against the Tomahawks last weekend. The Eagles’ last regulation loss came on September 22 at home against Kalamazoo (4-5). Friday night will mark the first of an eight-game road trip. The team is currently tied with Kalamazoo for second place in the North Division with 16 points.
Soo features two of the top scorers in the NAHL, as both Eric Rivard and Jarod VanWormer were tied with Kenai River’s Matt Seidel for second with 18 points in 13 games coming into this series. Rivard and VanWormer were also first and second on the team, respectively, in shots with 43 and 40. VanWormer had three assists in his last game vs. Johnstown, marking the seventh straight game in which he earned at least one assist, the longest current NAHL streak.
Goaltender Tyler Marble has proven to be excellent for the Eagles this season, going 6-1-1 with a .939 save percentage, the second-highest in the league coming into this series. He had a season-high 57 saves against Johnstown last Friday night.
Soo brings a road record of 2-2-1 into this weekend.
After Saturday’s game, Soo will play a pair of games at Michigan next weekend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cody Gylling: The Chandler, AZ native is one of the youngest members of the team, but leads in points (12) and assists (8). He contributed three assists in Johnstown’s 4-2 victory at Michigan last Sunday. Seven of his 12 points have come in the last five games. He is also +4 on the season.
Sault Ste. Marie
Alexander Taulien: The 6-4, 205-pound forward from Crystal Lake, IL has two goals and five points in his last five games. He is also third in shots (34) and points (10) on his team. He is a veteran presence for the Eagles, having played his prior two seasons for the franchise’s Traverse City North Stars.
· Johnstown has scored 14 goals on 74 power-play chances (18.9%) and gone 55-for-66 on the penalty kill (84.9 %).
· Casey Nelson continues to lead his team and the league in shots among defensemen with 44.
· The Tomahawks have the most minor penalties in the league with 97.
· Johnstown is currently tied with Texas and Kenai River for the most power-play goals at 14.
· Soo has gone 5-for-38 on the power play (13.2%) and 51-for-58 on the penalty kill (85.96 %).
· Rivard and VanWormer earned five of their 18 points in their last two meetings with the Tomahawks.
- This weekend’s games will serve as the Tomahawks seventh and eighth homes games, but only their fifth and sixth games at the War Memorial Arena. The team played two home games in Blaine, MN as part of the NAHL Showcase.