MIDDLETOWN, NJ – A hat trick from Casey Linkenheld catapulted the Johnstown Tomahawks to a game one 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Titans Thursday night at Middletown Ice World.
Johnstown captured the 1-0 lead early in the first period when Niko Coffman finished an end-to-end rush by scoring glove side on Titans netminder Jack Berry.
The Titans tied the game late in the stanza when Adam Hascic played a puck off the body of Coffman behind Tomahawks goalies Andrew Lindgren.
In the second period, the Tomahawks took the 2-1 lead when Andrew Romano forced a turnover and sent a wrist shot past Berry from the top of the circle. The goal came unassisted.
On the power play, the Tomahawks increased their lead to 3-1 after a Casey Linkenheld goal.
Linkenheld scored again with less than two minutes to play in the second period when he forced another turnover a found space behind Berry for a 4-1 Tomahawks lead.
The Titans went to work in the third period utilizing a goal from Raymond Brice which was unassisted.
New Jersey cut the lead to 4-3 with a power play goal from Andrew Durham. The goal was assisted by Darren Brady and Dan Weaver.
Linkenheld completed the hat trick with less than eight minutes to go and set the final at 5-3.
The Tomahawks return to Middletown Ice World for game two Friday, April 15 at 8:00 p.m. Game three of the series will take place at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m.