Port Huron Fighting Falcons vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
When: Friday, Jan. 11 & Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, PA
By Suzanne Grove and Ed Sheets
Friday and Saturday will mark the fifth and sixth meetings between the Tomahawks and Port Huron Fighting Falcons for the 2012-2013 NAHL season. The two teams most recently played on Dec. 21-22 in Michigan, where the Tomahawks split two games with their North Division rivals. Prior to those games, Johnstown was swept by Port Huron on Sept. 8-9 when the Tomahawks opened their season on the road.
On Dec. 21 the Tomahawks scored two power-play goals three minutes apart in the second period and Mike Sandor broke a tie with 4:25 to play as Johnstown beat Port Huron, 3-2. Sandor scored the game-winning goal, his first since Oct. 27 at Kalamazoo, unassisted in a highlight-reel play. Near the Port Huron blue line, Sandor swatted the puck out of the air, toe-dragged around a defenseman, and put the puck past Port Huron goaltender Max Milosek. The win marked the Tomahawks third-straight road victory and gave them an 8-1-1 record in their past 10 games.
On Dec. 22 goals 1:18 apart by Johnstown’s Jaycob McCombs and Jeff Bergh forged a 3-3 tie with less than three minutes to play, but defenseman Alex Archibald’s goal with 1:45 left gave Port Huron a 4-3 victory over the Tomahawks. The loss snapped a three-game road winning streak for the Tomahawks and gave them an 8-5-4 record on the road. McCombs scored twice for Johnstown, which entered the game with the second-best power play in the league (21.6 percent) but failed to convert either of its two man-advantages. The Tomahawks allowed two power-play goals and were outshot, 39-29. McCombs brought the Tomahawks within one on his second goal of the night and sixth of the season at 15:51, and Bergh’s eighth goal of the season tied the game, 3-3, at 17:09. But Archibald, who earlier set up two goals, got the game-winner at 18:15 – his fourth goal of the season.
This Sunday Johnstown will play its 37th game of the season and its 17th home game while Port Huron will play its 38th game and 16th road game. The two teams will face each other once more before the end of the regular season on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in Johnstown.
THE TOMAHAWKS (17-11-8)
The Tomahawks are currently in fourth place in the North Division with 42 points coming into the three-game weekend series, 11 points behind the division-leading Sault Ste. Marie Eagles. The Tomahawks currently sit eight points ahead of sixth place Point Huron.
The Tomahawks return home to the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where they have had success this season. The Tomahawks are 9-4-3 at home this season, including a 5-3-2 record in their last ten home games.
The Michigan Warriors swept the Tomahawks in last weekend’s series in Flint, Mi. The Tomahawks fell 4-2 on Jan. 4, 2-1 in a shootout on Jan. 5, and 8-1 on Jan. 6.
On Jan.4. the Tomahawks got goals from Brandon Reinholz and Mitch Kontny, but Michigan scored three unanswered goals in the third period, including the game winner from AJ Marcinek on a shorthanded goal with 1:05 remaining to defeat the Tomahawks 4-2. Jaycob McCombs and JB Baker added two assists in the loss.
On Jan. 5, Johnstown and Michigan traded second period goals, before Michigan outscored Johnstown 3-2 in the shootout to defeat the Tomahawks 2-1. Andrew McDonald opened the scoring with a goal at 4:24. The goal would be matched by Michigan’s Jake Hopfner with 40 seconds remaining in the period.
On Jan. 6, The Tomahawks fell 8-1 with the lone goal coming from Cody Boyd with 29 seconds remaining in the game. The Warriors had four players with a goal and assist in the game and Corey Schueneman added two goals. The Tomahawks outshot the Warriors in the game 36-30.
This weekend’s three game series will conclude on Sunday afternoon against Soo. The Tomahawks will then welcome Michigan back to the War Memorial on Jan. 18 and 19. This will be the first meeting between the two teams in Johnstown since the home-opener weekend Sept. 29 and 30, which the two teams split.
THE FIGHTING FALCONS(16-19-2)
The Fighting Falcons head into Wednesday night’s game against Kalamazoo on a six-game losing streak. Their last win came on December 22nd at home against Johnstown, and they currently have a road record of 5-9-1.
Port Huron was swept by Janesville when the team lost on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Springfield also won two games against the Fighting Falcons on Jan. 4 and 5.
On Jan. 4, Springfield scored three goals in the second period including goals by Ryan Atkinson and Brett Skibba just 45 seconds apart to defeat Port Huron 4-0.
On Jan. 5, Port Huron jumped out to a 3-1 lead thanks to goals by Dunk Abbott, Easton Powers, and Rick DeRosa. Springfield answered with three unanswered goals including the game-winner from Micah Ranum just 1:08 into the third period to defeat Port Huron 4-3 to sweep the weekend series.
After the two games in Johnstown, the Fighting Falcons travel to Jamestown for a game Sunday night at 5 P.M. They return home to take on Kalamazoo Jan. 23.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jordan Watt:The Orange, CA native has produced for the Tomahawks in his last 10 games, scoring four goals and adding two assists. In 32 games this season he has 19 points (12-7-19). He is tied for the team lead with two game-winning goals and is third on the team in goals scored.
Ian Miller:The Fraser, Mi. native enters Wednesday’s game against Kalamazoo leading the team in points with 24 (10-14-24) and is tied for the team lead with five power play goals. In four games against Johnstown, he has three points (1-2-3) and a power play goal.
· Johnstown’s PP has gone 36-for-190 (18.95 percent, fourth in the league and first in the division) on the season while the PK has gone 140-for-167 (83.3 percent).
· Port Huron’s PP is 21-for-154 (13.6 percent) and its PK is 115-for-145 (79.3 percent).
· The Tomahawks have the second-most power-play goals in the NAHL with 36.
· The Tomahawks are 13-1-2 when leading after two periods while the Fighting Falcons are 9-1-1.
· The Tomahawks have outscored opponents in the first period by a margin of 32-21.
· The Tomahawks are fifth in the league with an average attendance of 2,313.
· Andrew McDonald leads the league with a .276 shooting percentage.
· Port Huron is third in the league with four short-handed goals on the road.
· The Tomahawks have the most power-play opportunities in the league with 190.
· On Wednesday, January 8th, the Tomahawks acquired defenseman Mitch Hall from the Jamestown Ironmen in exchange for a future draft pick. The St. Cloud, MN native had a +6 rating in 22 games with the Ironmen.