Janesville Jets vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
When: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove
The Tomahawks will face the division-rival Janesville Jets Saturday night for the first time in the 2012-13 season. Johnstown and Janesville will faceoff again Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. The Tomahawks will only face the Jets two more times during the regular season in two weekend games at Janesville in mid-February.
Both Johnstown and Janesville are playing their ninth game of the season.
THE TOMAHAWKS (2-3-3)
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Tomahawks and greater Johnstown community officially welcomed hockey back to the city in grand fashion when the team played their inaugural home game at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena against the Michigan Warriors. NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld was on hand to welcome the team, along with Mario Lemieux, who dropped the ceremonial puck in a pre-game celebration that included flaming blue lines, showers of fireworks cascading from the ceiling, and fire blasts that accompanied each player’s first entrance onto the War Memorial ice in front of almost 4,000 screaming fans.
The game would end in a shootout with Johnstown falling to Michigan, 3-2. The Tomahawks showed discipline, staying composed and only allowing the Warriors two power-play chances, which the Tomahawks successfully killed. Johnstown also failed to convert any of its three power-play opportunities.
On Sunday, Johnstown got its revenge, winning 4-2 in regulation and notching its first win on home ice. The two teams set the tone for the afternoon when Cobi Smith-Mass dropped the gloves with Michigan’s A.J. Marcinek just seconds after the first puck drop. Smith-Mass was injured in the fight, dislocating his shoulder. The Tomahawks received goals from Brandon Reinholz, Codey Hansen, and Jesse Kessler, who netted the game-winning goal at 14:56 of the third. A strong performance by Bodhi Engum also bolstered the team, which outshot Michigan, 39-22.
Sunday marked the sixth game in which the Tomahawks kept their opponent off the board in the first period; Johnstown has scored the first goal of the game in seven of its nine games this season.
The Tomahawks enter the weekend sixth in the North Division.
Johnstown has consistently looked strong on the penalty kill, going 34-for-40 (85.0 %). However, the team’s power play continues to struggle, going 6-for-46 (13.0 %).
THE JETS (4-2-2)
The Jets enter the week ahead of Johnstown and in fourth place in the North Division. Last weekend they split two games with Kenai River at home, winning the first, 3-2, and losing the second, 4-3. Both games ended in a shootout. Janesville has the youngest team in the league, with 17 players who have no previous NAHL experience.
The team came into the league four years ago and had been under the direction of Head Coach Dane Litke until this past off-season, when Joe Dibble took over the role. In 2011-2012, the team went 4-0 at the NAHL Showcase and went on to a 10-0-1 start. They later went on a nine-game win streak that lasted for over a month beginning in mid-December. Despite only winning three of its last 11 regular-season games, the Jets finished second in the MidWest Division. However, the Jets lost the decisive Game 5 in a first-round series against the Springfield Jr. Blues. Janesville has yet to win a playoff series.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kristaps Bazevics: Bazevics, a native of Riga, Latvia, did not dress for the Tomahawks first two home games after a two-game suspension following a scrum in the final minutes of the team’s last game of the NAHL Showcase against Corpus Christi. A total of 20 penalties were handed out to both teams at the 17:44 mark of that game. Despite playing only five games, Bazevics is currently tied with Cody Gylling as the team leader in points (3-2-5). He also ranks seventh in the league in points by a defenseman.
Austin Veith: Veith, a native of Wisconsin, leads the team in points with 10 in eight games.
- · Leading the team in points with five each are Gylling and Bazevics, who has only played five games going into Saturday’s matchup.
- · Bazevics and Kessler are tied for second place for NAHL goals by a defenseman with three.
- · Alternate Captain Jordan Watt leads the team in shots with 24. Casey Nelson is second with 23.
- · The Tomahawks lead the North Division in penalty minutes with 217 going into the weekend.
- · Janesville’s goaltender Brock Kautz has played in six of the team’s last eight games and currently holds a 4-1-1 record with a GAA of 1.95 and save percentage of .934.
- · Jaycob McCombs has finished serving his two-game suspension from the game against Corpus Christi on Sept. 15.
- · On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Tomahawks released Payton Ruter, Nathan Morris, and goaltender Matthew McLaughlin. They acquired Janesville goaltender Collin Brennan in a trade for a draft pick. The New Jersey native played one game this season for Janesville.