Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Jamestown Ironmen
When: Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m. & Saturday, March 30 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena, Jamestown, NY
By Suzanne Grove
This weekend promises to be a thrilling, if not nerve-wracking, finish to the Johnstown Tomahawks inaugural regular season in the NAHL. The two-game series in Jamestown, NY against the division-rival Ironmen could ultimately determine whether or not the War Memorial Arena in Johnstown will see any Playoff action.
Last weekend, the Tomahawks clinched a 2013 Robertson Cup Playoff spot. Now, the team will fight to ensure home-ice advantage in the North Division Play-In Series – the first step on the way to the Robertson Cup for any club in the division. The North Division is the only one with this format due to the fact that it includes eight teams; every other division includes six or less.
The first and second place teams in the division – the Soo Eagles and Jamestown Ironmen, respectively, – automatically receive a bye into the division semi-finals. Meanwhile, the third place team will face the sixth place team and the fourth place team will face the fifth place team in a best-of-three series to determine who moves on to the division semi-finals.
The Tomahawks currently sit in fifth place with 64 points. Port Huron is in fourth place with the same number of points and four more games in the win column. Both teams are scheduled to play two games this weekend. A possible four points are on the line for each team.
Johnstown and Port Huron already know they will face each other for the Play-In Series. But, the question of who will have home-ice advantage remains unanswered.
By the final whistle of both games on Saturday night, the standings will be set and the Tomahawks will either be in fourth of fifth place. The NAHL regulations read as follows:
“If the Clubs facing each other in a play in series are separated by a distance greater than 300 miles, then the top seeded Club shall host games 1 and 2, and the lower seeded club shall host game 3 (if necessary).”
Of course, there is also the chance the two teams will be tied in the standings by the end of Saturday night, at which point NAHL Rule and Regulation 13.1 will be applied to determine the final order of finish. The first clause of this tie-breaking policy states that the tie shall be broken by determining which team has the “most wins during the regular season.” Right now, Port Huron has 30 wins while Johnstown has 26. Therefore, if the two clubs finish the season with the same amount of points, Port Huron will automatically gain fourth place and have home-ice advantage.
Right now, the possibility exists that the War Memorial will host two games or none at all. It all depends on this weekend. And if the Tomahawks land in fifth, it all depends on whether they can win one game in Port Huron and bring a Game 3 back to home ice.
For more information on how the playoffs work, click here: http://robertsoncup.com/format/
A look at the stats and the Tomahawks past performance against the Ironmen, their opponent this weekend, may provide some insight into what the outcome will be. But, with sports in general, and the game of hockey in particular, everyone knows that anything can happen – it’s part of what makes the game spectacular.
- The Tomahawks are currently 26-20-12 this season. They carry a road record of 13-9-6 into Jamestown. The Hawks are 3-2-0 in their last five games.
- The Ironmen are 36-18-4 while going 19-7-2 at home and 3-2-0 in their last five.
Past results vs. the Ironmen?
The Tomahawks have won four of six.
11/23/12 Johnstown 5 at Jamestown 3
11/24/12 Johnstown 3 at Jamestown 2
12/14/12 Jamestown 0 at Johnstown 5
12/15/12 Jamestown 1 at Johnstown 0
03/08/13 Jamestown 1 at Johnstown 3
03/09/13 Jamestown 3 at Johnstown 2
- Johnstown has 18 goals and 191 shots against the Ironmen while they have 10 goals and 170 shots against us.
- On the power play, they are 8-for-31. They have scored two goals on 19 chances.
- Three Tomahawks players lead the team in scoring against the Ironmen: Brandon Reinholz (4-2-6); Casey Nelson (1-5-6); Cody Gylling (1-5-6).
- Chris Truehl has gone 3-1-0 and Colin Brennan has gone 1-1-0.
Johnstown Notes: The Tomahawks still have more OT losses than anyone in the league with 12 . . . The Hawks also lead the division in penalty minutes (1298) . . . Power play is 55-for-296 (18.6%) and penalty kill is 226 of 268 (84.3%) . . . Johnstown has more PP opportunities than any team in the league and the second-most power-play goals . . .Casey Nelson is among the top ten in league defensive point leaders (10-22-32). He also leads all d-men in shots with 189. Cody Gylling leads the team in points (16-28-44) and Mitch Kontny leads in goals (21-19-40).
Jamestown Notes: PP: 35-for-217 (16.1%) . . . PK: 178-for-216 (82.4%) . . . Luc Gerdes leads in points for them (27-21-48)