Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings
Saturday, October 27 3:30 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium Complex
Sunday, October 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET at Wings West Arena
By Suzanne Grove
Saturday and Sunday afternoon will mark the first two of eight meetings between Johnstown and Kalamazoo for the 2012-2013 NAHL season.
Saturday’s game will be the Jr. K-Wings’ 15th game and eighth home game. The Tomahawks will play their 17th game and 8th road game.
The next meeting between the two clubs will come on Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10 in Johnstown at 7:00 p.m. ET.
THE TOMAHAWKS (6-5-4)
Johnstown split two home games with Sault Ste. Marie last weekend, winning 3-2 in a shootout on Friday evening and losing 4-0 on Saturday. The Tomahawks are tied for fifth place in the North Division with 16 points coming into the weekend, one point behind Kalamazoo.
Mitch Kontny scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period on Friday before scoring the game-winning goal in the shootout to give the Tomahawks the win. The team received strong goaltending from Collin Brennan in his second appearance of the season after being acquired from Janesville on September 29.
Saturday’s loss gave the Tomahawks a home record of 5-2-1. Soo Eagles goaltender Tyler Marble shut out Johnstown while Michael Covach got the hat trick, leading to the 4-0 decision.
After combining for three penalties in Friday night’s game, both teams received a combined 39 penalties totaling 182 minutes on Saturday. Soo went 2-for-8 on the power play while Johnstown went 0-for-10.
The Tomahawks last road game came on Sunday, October 14 at Michigan in a 4-2 win over the Warriors. Brennan stopped 27 of 29 shots in his first appearance in a Tomahawks uniform and Jesse Kessler and Jordan Watt contributed two power-play goals each for the win. This came after the team dropped two games to Soo on Friday (4-5) and Saturday (1-4). Their road record entering the weekend stands at 1-3-3.
Cody Gylling leads the team in points with 12 (4-8-12). Kessler is second with nine (4-5-9).
The team’s next set of games comes at home on Saturday, November 3 (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday, November 4 (1:00 p.m.) vs. the Springfield Jr. Blues for the first time this season.
THE Jr. K-WINGS(8-5-1)
The Jr. K-Wings enter the weekend looking to improve upon their home record of 5-2-0. They are currently fourth in the North Division with 17 points.
Last weekend, the visiting Jamestown Ironmen swept Kalamazoo. On Friday, the K-Wings played in their first overtime game of the season in a 2-1 loss. They were able to kill all three of their penalties, but also went 0-for-3 on the power play. On Saturday, they fell 7-3 and were outshot, 48-23. They were able to convert one power-play opportunity and killed off all but one of the Ironmen’s five man-advantages.
Goaltender Alex Okicki was pulled midway through the second period and replaced with backup Nicholas Stuart, who is from Aston, PA.
Kalamazoo won its first four games of the season, but has gone 2-2-1 in its last five games. The K-Wings have notched at least five goals in six of their last 14 games, five of which were six-goal games.
Luc Bobby leads his team in points with 17. He is tied for sixth in the league in points and tied for fourth in goals with 10. Robbie Payne, Kyle Gattelaro, and Josh Dangel are all tied in second on the team with 13 points. Gattelaro leads his team in shots with 53, placing him third in the league.
The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings return to the NAHL for their second season after an 18-year absence, having played from 1989-1994. The team won two Robertson Cup Championships during that timeframe (1991 and 1993). They are one of seven teams in the NAHL two win the Cup more than once. The team also had three NHL draftees in its first six seasons.
Marc Fakler enters his second season as head coach and general manager. He previously helped former NAHL team Compuware to win the Cup in 2001, but has served as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level for the past eight seasons. Fakler spent two of those seasons at Robert Morris University.
Last season, the K-Wings earned the number two seed in the playoffs and beat Traverse City in just four games in the North Semi-Finals. However, the team was not able to advance further, losing to Port Huron in the North Finals.
Kalamazoo will stay at home for its next two-game series against Port Huron on November 3 and 4.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Andrew McDonald: In one of its latest transactions, Johnstown acquired forward McDonald, a New Brighton, MN native, from Fresno for Brandon Brossoit. He played nine games with the Monsters, notching one goal and four assists.
Luc Bobby: The 6-3, 208-pound forward from Oswego, IL leads his team in points with 17 (10-7-17). He is also a +8 on the season and has 32 shots. He has had a strong start to the 2012-2013 season. He has already met his point total from last season. In 53 games with the now-defunct St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL, he tallied nine goals and eight assists. He will look to improve his record this weekend and continue to make a difference for his team.
· The Tomahawks are currently tied for fifth place in the North Division with 16 points. They are six points behind Jamestown’s leading 22 points.
· Johnstown has scored 14 goals on 86 power-play chances (16.3%) and gone 63-for-75 on the penalty kill (84.0%).
· The Tomahawks lead the league in power-play opportunities with 86.
· Casey Nelson continues to lead his team in sh
ots with 46. He also leads the entire league in shots by a defenseman.
· The Tomahawks have the most major (17) and minor (108) penalties in the league.
· Johnstown is currently tied for second place with four other teams for the most power-play goals at 14.
· Kalamazoo has gone 8-for-54 on the power play (14.8%) and 44-for-48 on the penalty kill (91.7 %).
· K-Wings goaltender Okicki has gone 5-4-1 with a GAA of 3.09 and save percentage of .898 while Stuart has gone 3-1-0 with a GAA of 3.24 and save percentage of .879.
- In addition to the Andrew McDonald trade, the Tomahawks recently released Bobby Tritschler, Codey Hansen, and Brandon Platt.
- After playing on pink ice at the War Memorial Arena for Pink at the Rink, the Tomahawks will play on orange ice for Halloween at Wings Stadium on Saturday.
- Saturday will be a busy day in the NAHL. There are 11 other games in addition to the Tomahawks and K-Wings matchup. But the two teams will be the only ones playing on Sunday.
- Mike Knuble, who played for the Washington Capitals last season, won a Robertson Cup Championship with the K-Wings in 1991. The Canadian right-winger, who is currently a free agent, was then taken by The Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the University of Michigan from 1991-1995 before entering the NHL.