Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Janesville Jets
Feb. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. CST
Janesville Ice Arena, Janesville, Wis.
By Suzanne Grove
Johnstown and Janesville may be in the same division, but they’re far from familiar with each other. The two clubs have only played one weekend series in Johnstown that occurred over four months ago when the Tomahawks swept the Jets with two victories during the first weekend in October.
Friday and Saturday evening’s games will be a new challenge for Johnstown’s goaltenders. Neither Chris Truehl nor Colin Brennan have faced the Jets. Former Tomahawk Bodhi Engum, who was officially released from the roster in January, was between the pipes for both wins.
Captain Mitch Kontny has the most points against the Jets, scoring 3 goals and earning four points in two games (3-1-4). The Tomahawks outshot the Jets 84-28 during the games on Oct. 6 and 7.
On Oct. 6, Johnstown took advantage of the power play going 3-for-8 with two first-period power play goals and was also successful on the penalty kill, going 6-for-7. The following night Mitch Kontny notched his second early goal of the series, and the team dominated the Jets in shots, 46-17, for the 4-1 win. Kontny scored just 19 seconds into the first period, only three seconds longer than it took him to score the night before in a 5-3 win over the Jets.
Perhaps the goal to victory for the Tomahawks this upcoming weekend will be to take the lead by the conclusion of the first period. The Tomahawks are 11-2-3 when leading after the first, while the Jets are 1-11-3 when trailing after the first.
Friday marks Johnstown’s 47th game and 23rd road game. The Jets will play their 44th game and 23rd home game. The two teams will not meet again during the regular season.
THE TOMAHAWKS (21-16-9)
The Tomahawks continue to sit in fourth place in the North Division with 51 points, 13 points behind the division leading Eagles . . . The Hawks will enter the weekend looking to improve upon their recent inability to create a streak of wins. The team has gone 4-4-0 in its past eight games and has not won more than two consecutive games since victories over Fresno and Jamestown, Dec. 7 – Dec. 14 . . . The Tomahawks hold a road record of 9-8-5.
Johnstown continues to rack up the penalty minutes and has proven to be a physical team, unafraid to back down from its opponents. They have the most penalty minutes in the division with 1014 . . . Despite being in fourth place, the Tomahawks are second in the division in goals with 145, two behind division-leading Soo. With 27 points (9-18-27), Casey Nelson is tied for fifth in the league for points among defenseman. Cody Gylling leads his team in points with 38 (15-23-38) and Kontny leads the team in goals with 18 (18-15-23). Truehl has played in seven of Johnstown’s last eight games and has a record of 12-8-4 with a save percentage of .914 and GAA of 2.72.
Last weekend, the Tomahawks went 1-2-0 against Port Huron and Soo. On Jan. 31 the Tomahawks forged an early 3-0 lead and stay ahead throughout two Port Huron power-play goals to earn a 3-2 victory. After entering the weekend with only one against the Fighting Falcons, Johnstown improved its record against them to 2-3-2. The next night, despite carrying a 3-1 lead into the midway mark of the game, the Tomahawks allowed the Port Huron goals in the second period, losing 5-4. Johnstown concluded the weekend with a 5-4 loss to Soo. With Truehl pulled to give the Tomahawks the man-advantage, Gylling’s goal with 13 seconds left to play was not enough to help the team power past the Eagles. In a game that was eerily similar to Friday night’s loss to Port Huron, Johnstown dropped a 3-1 lead that was established late in the second period on a Cobi Smith-Mass penalty shot.
Special Teams:The Tomahawks are 44-for-239 on the power play this season (18.41%) for fifth place in the league and first in the division. Their penalty kill is slightly less effective, stopping 179 of 214 (83.64%).
Johnstown will next play four games in two weeks at home against the Wenatchee Wild on Feb. 15 and 16 and the Fresno Monsters on Feb. 22 and 23.
The Jets are currently second-to-last place in the North Division with 40 points . . . They have struggled lately, losing seven of their last eight games, two of which ended in shootout losses. Most recently, Janesville was swept by Kalamazoo during a weekend series on Jan. 25 and 26.
Jason Ford leads his team in points with 28 (14-14-28) . . . Todd Koritzinsky is hot right now with eight points in his last five games (3-5-8) . . . Ruslan Pedan has the most points at home this season (5-8-13) . . . The Jets come in second in the division underneath the Tomahawks for penalty minutes with 951.
Special Teams:The Jets are 25-for-193 on the power play (12.95%) and have gone 201-for-230 (87.39%) on the penalty kill. The only team in the division with a worse power-play percentage is Michigan.
The Jets will play its next two games against Kalamazoo.
NOTES: On Feb. 5 the Tomahawksacquired forward Matt Williams from the Coulee Region Chill. The Rochester Hills, Mi. native will wear number 11 for the Tomahawks. In 41 games with Coulee this season, Williams had 10 assists and 18 points (8-10-18).