Photo: Tami Knopsnyder
Jamestown Ironmen vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
When: Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. & Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove
Friday and Saturday will mark the third and fourth meetings between the Tomahawks and Ironmen for the 2012-2013 NAHL season. The North-Division rivals previously played on Nov. 23-24 in Jamestown, where the Tomahawks earned the sweep in their first weekend series of a three-week road trip.
Johnstown capitalized on the power play, scoring four goals with the man-advantage (a season-high) and snapping Jamestown’s nine-game home win streak with a 5-3 victory on Nov. 23. The Tomahawks received two goals from Brandon Reinholz, who helped the Tomahawks get on the board first in the opening period when defenseman Casey Nelson took a slap shot from the left point and Reinholz picked up the rebound. Nelson had a three-point night, later contributing a goal and another assist on Reinholz’s second goal of the game. Captain Mitch Kontny put the team ahead to stay in the second period on a rebound from Cody Gylling, who had three assists. Johnstown also received a goal from Jeff Bergh, who got the game-winner late in the second period when he received a pass from Jake Fairchild and one-timed a shot to make it 4-1. Jamestown, which had the second-best record in the league entering the weekend, scored one power-play goal (Evan Ritt) and put two more (Ross Pavek, Dylan Zink) past Tomahawks goaltender Chris Truehl, who stopped 30 of 33 shots in his 11th appearance of the season.
On Nov. 24 Johnstown completed the sweep, winning 3-2 thanks to another outstanding effort from Reinholz and a surging power play. Reinholz scored his third goal of the weekend and set up Kontny’s game-winner on the power play early in the third period. Truehl was solid again between the pipes, especially in the first period when he stopped 17 Jamestown shots – the most shots allowed by Johnstown in the opening period this season. Gylling tallied the first goal of the game on a two-man advantage and Nelson once again had two assists to help the Tomahawks push their road unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1).
This Friday Johnstown will play its 28th game of the season and its 13th home game while Jamestown will play its 29th game and 15th road game. The two teams will not face each other again until March 8 and 9 at the War Memorial. The Tomahawks finish their regular season in Jamestown with two more games on March 29 and 30.
THE TOMAHAWKS (14-7-6)
The Tomahawks are currently in fourth place in the North Division with 34 points coming into the weekend, five points behind the division-leading Ironmen. Johnstown returns home to the War Memorial for the first time in over a month after completing a stretch of six consecutive road games (5-1-0). After sweeping two teams, including the Fresno Monsters last weekend, and earning 10 points, the Tomahawks have proved themselves as capable road warriors. They have now won seven of their last eight games. They will look to improve upon their already impressive home record of 7-3-2.
On Dec. 7 former Fresno players Andrew McDonald and Zach Wallace combined for five points, helping their current team to a 6-1 victory over the Monsters. With six goals, Johnstown matched its season high, and the team also killed off all six Fresno power plays. McDonald opened up the scoring to help the Tomahawks get on the board first for the 18th time in 26 games. Wallace contributed the secondary assist on McDonald’s goal and later added another assist on a Cody Bentzel goal that made it 5-1. JB Baker increased the lead to 2-0 when he got a loose puck in the neutral zone and scored on a two-on-one break with a wrist shot. The unassisted goal was his first since Oct. 19. Gylling finished the first-period scoring to make it 3-0. While the Monsters dominated the second period, the Tomahawks killed off three Fresno power plays and received strong goaltending from Colin Brennan. Unsatisfied with their two-goal lead heading into the third, the Tomahawks responded with three goals, including a power-play goal to make it 6-1 from Jeff Bergh, who cranked a slap shot from the center point.
On Dec. 8 Jeff Bergh scored the game-winner less than seven minutes into the third period and Brandon Reinholz added a goal and an assist as the Tomahawks picked up the weekend sweep, defeating the Monsters, 4-3. Bergh’s goal was his fourth in his last 10 games. Andrew McDonald provided the assist on Bergh’s goal, giving him four points (1-3-4) on the weekend against his former team. With the win, Johnstown finished with a 3-1 record on its West Coast road. Nelson scored his seventh goal and his fifth power-play goal of the season, giving him the league lead for defensemen. It was also the 31st power-play goal of the season for the team, giving them sole possession of the league lead. Watt’s goal to make it 2-1 gives him four points (2-2-4) in his last five games and Reinholz’s game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the third period was his 12th of the season, tying Kontny for the team lead.
Johnstown will head back out on the road for two games against the Port Huron Fighting Falcons on Dec. 21 and 22 before returning home for games on Dec. 30 and 31 against the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.
THE IRONMEN (18-7-3)
The Ironmen enter the weekend after being swept by Wenatchee, losing 3-0 on Dec. 7 and 5-4 in a shootout on Dec. 8. Jamestown is currently in first place in the North Division with 39 points. They have a road record of 8-4-2 and have gone 4-1-1 in their past six road games.
On Dec. 7 both Jamestown and Wenatchee were held scoreless through two periods, until the Wild came alive and scored three unanswered goals in the third. Jamestown was outshot 39-17.
On Dec. 8, both teams again went scoreless in the first before the Wild notched the first goal of the night. The Ironmen responded with three goals (Sieraa, Zink, Johansson) and took the 3-1 lead into the third. Wenatchee brought the game within one, but Jamestown made it 4-2 on a Nathan Ropelewski goal. The Ironmen would hold the two-goal lead until the Wild scored twice, 12 seconds apart, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Neither team was able to score in the five-minute overtime and headed into an 11-round shootout that would end in Wenatchee earning the extra point.
Jamestown will play its next two games at home against Kalamazoo on Dec. 21 and 22.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brandon Reinholz: The St. Cloud, MN native has made significant contributions to the Tomahawks lately, including getting four goals and six points during the team’s three-week road trip. He has 12 goals and 18 points on the season and is currently tied with captain Mitch Kontny for the team lead in goals. He and Gylling both have 64 shots, trailing only Nelson on the team.
Luc Gerdes: The Eden Prarie, MN native leads his team in goals and points (15-11-26) and has four points in his last five games. He also is third in the league in game-winning goals (five).
- · Johnstown continues to have the most OT losses in the league (six).
- · The Tomahawks leads the North Division in goals with 94 (fourth in the league).
- · The Tomahawks have seven regulation loses this season. Jamestown also has seven and only three teams in the league have less.
- · Johnstown’s PP has gone 31-for-145 (21.4 percent, fourth in the league and second in the division behind Jamestown) on the season while the PK has gone 99-for-118 (83.9 percent).
- · The Tomahawks have sole possession of the most power-play goals in the league with 31.
- · Johnstown has the most power-play opportunities in the league with 145 while Jamestown only has 90, the second-least in the league.
- · Jamestown’s PP is 20-for-90 (22.2 percent) and its PK is 78-for-101 (77.2 percent)
- · The Tomahawks’ Casey Nelson (7-12-19) and the Ironmen’s Dylan Zink (9-10-19) are tied with two other players in fourth place for points by a defenseman.