ASTON (40-9-2) at TOMAHAWKS (34-13-4)
Location: Cambria County War Memorial | Johnstown, PA
Game Time: Tonight (7:30 p.m.), Saturday (7:30 p.m.)
With home ice advantage positioning on the line, the Tomahawks ventured to the Garden State to take on the New Jersey Titans in a crucial three-game series in Middletown.
The series commenced on Thursday, March 9 with the Tomahawks falling to the Titans 4-2 in a tightly contested matchup.
New Jersey scored the game’s first goal when Kyler Head deflected a shot behind Hawks goaltender Vinnie Purpura seven minutes into the 1st period.
The Titans gained a 2-0 lead with a Todd Goehring goal two minutes into the second period. Gordie Helmuth increased the lead to 3-0 with a power play goal at 13:13.
Johnstown worked to cut the deficit before the end of the period with a marker from Adam Pilewicz and Donovan Ott.
However, the Titans skated to the win after Dylan Healey scored early in the third period.
Friday night, the Tomahawks got back in the win column with a wild 6-5 shootout win.
Johnstown held the lead four different times however each time the Titans battled back to tie the game before the game went into overtime and a shootout.
The Hawks saw production from Dalton Hunter, Alex Singley, Mitchell Hale, Josh Biasillo and Evan Somoza. Forward Josh Norman and Pilewicz netted the goals in the shootout round for the win.
Johnstown concluded the three-game set with a critical 2-1 victory Saturday, March 11. Nick Bruce and Mitch Hale scored the goals while the Titans added a late period goal from Gordie Helmuth.
THE JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS
Aston and the Tomahawks have endured a classic rivalry throughout the 2016-17 season. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Rebels have gotten the better of this rivalry as the Tomahawks are 1-5-1 against Aston.
The last series between these two teams took pace in Philadelphia where the Rebels swept the Hawks on March 3-4.
On Friday, March 3, the Tomahawks fell behind in the 2nd period when Rebels forward Jensen Zerban scored his ninth of the season.
Johnstown came back to tie the game at 1-1 when Josh Norman’s shot slipped behind Mareks Mitens. However, Aston won the game in overtime 2-1 with an Aaron Maguyon goal.
The next night, Aston flew to a 2-0 lead in the first period with markers from Auggie Moore and Drew Blackmun.
The Tomahawks cut the Rebels lead to 2-1 with 3 minutes remaining in the second period when Filips Buncis fired home a power play goal. Shortly thereafter, Aston regained a two-goal lead with a Ryan Solomon goal.
Buncis scored again with four minutes remaining in the third period but the Rebels hung onto the 3-2 lead.
Player to Watch
Josh Norman provided crucial scoring lately for the Tomahawks and has made appearances on the power play.
The Rebels played just one game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last weekend prior to our matchup. Aston dropped a close shootout contest 3-2.
Aston sits atop the East Division with 82 points and are 8-1-1 in the last 10 games. Aston also gives up the least amount of goals with 91 against.
In net for the Rebels is Mareks Mitens, statistically the best goaltender in the NAHL. With a 28-8-0 record and 11 shut outs on the season, Mitens has been a rock in net for Aston this season.
Aston is led in scoring by Andrew Bellant with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists. Defenseman Gvido Jansons is tops among Rebels defensemen with 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists).
Player to Watch
Dom Garcia has been a thorn in the side of the Tomahawks this season. The captain of the Rebels will see top-line minutes against the Hawks top units.