North Division Play-In Series
By Suzanne Grove
Contributions by Travis White
The Johnstown Tomahawks take their first steps on the road to the Robertson Cup Championship on Thursday, April 2 when they visit Port Huron for Game 1 of the North Division Play-In Series. This best-of-three series is unique to the North Division due to its size: The North Division is comprised of eight teams while the rest have six or less. As the fifth seed, the Tomahawks play the fourth seeded Fighting Falcons, who hold home-ice advantage for the first two games of the series.
Official League Playoff Format states the following:
“The Club seeded third in the North Division will compete in a best-of-three series with the sixth seeded Club in the North Division. The Club seeded fourth the North Division will compete in a best-of-three-series against the Club seeded fifth in the North Division. The Clubs seeded one and two in the North Division shall receive a bye into the division semi-finals.”
The first club to win two games will advance to the North Division Semi-Finals.
Kalamazoo (3) and Springfield (6) are the other two teams competing in the North Division Play-In Series. The Soo Eagles and Jamestown Ironmen received byes into the Semi-Finals as the first and second seeds.
Robertson Cup Championship History
The NAHL awards the Robertson Cup to the winner of the league’s playoffs. The Cup is the oldest junior hockey trophy in the United States. It is named in honor of Chuck Robertson, who was a leader in Michigan youth hockey and junior hockey. Robertson was the owner of the Paddock Pools Saints, who enjoyed seven straight NAHL championship victories from 1976-83.
The past three winners?
Texas Tornado (2012)
Fairbanks Ice Dogs (2011)
Bismarck Bobcats (2010)
This year, the NAHL announced the 2013 Robertson Cup Championship Tournament will be held from May 10-13 at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas. For the first time in 10 years, the league itself will host the tournament rather than a member team. It will be the third time in the last 10 years that the Championship will have been held in the Dr. Pepper Arena, which is not only home to the Texas Tornado, but the practice facility and executive offices of the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
Championship Franchise/Player History
Although the franchise has existed since the 1996-97 season when it got its start as the St. Louis Sting, the Tomahawks were given life after the sale of the Alaska Avalanche. That team came into existence in 2006-07 and played for six seasons under that name.
As part of the West Division, the Avalanche made it to the Division Semi-Finals as the third seed against the second seeded Wenatchee Wild. Wenatchee won the series 3-2. Three of the five games were forced into overtime. Seven current Tomahawks were on the roster for the final playoff game last season: Mitch Kontny; Jordan Watt; Connor Wright; Casey Nelson; Jeff Bergh; Cobi Smith-Mass; Jesse Kessler.
Tomahawks vs. Fighting Falcons Play-in Series Matchup
The Tomahawks have struggled against the Fighting Falcons, who are currently coming off an eight-game win streak to end the 2012-2013 regular season. In eight games this season, the Tomahawks have only emerged victorious twice, going 2-4-2 against Port Huron. Those two wins came on Dec. 21 in a 3-2 win in Michigan and on Jan. 31 with a 3-2 win on home ice. The Fighting Falcons proved to excel both at home and on the road, splitting their six victories between the War Memorial Arena and McMorran Place Arena.
They have not played since Feb. 1 when the Tomahawks lost 4-5 at home.
9/8/12: Johnstown 3 at Port Huron 4 OT
9/9/12: Johnstown 2 at Port Huron 4
12/21/12: Johnstown 3 at Port Huron 2
12/22/12: Johnstown 3 at Port Huron 4
1/11/13: Port Huron 3 at Johnstown 2 SO
1/12/13: Port Huron 4 at Johnstown 2
1/31/13: Port Huron 2 at Johnstown 3
2/1/13: Port Huron 5 at Johnstown 4
Regular Season Stats: Johnstown
Last 10 Games: 5-3-2
Last Five Games: 3-2-0
Leading scorer: Cody Gylling (16-29-45)
Leader in Goals: Mitch Kontny with 21 (21-19-40)
Leader in Assists: Cody Gylling with 29
+/- Leader: Zach Wallace +11
PIM Leader: Jake Fairchild with 210
Goaltender Chris Truehl has the most wins with 17.
Hot Streaks (Last Five Games):
Mitch Hall (1-3-4)
Connor Wright (1-3-4)
Brandon Reinholz (2-2-4)
PP – 18.4% (3rd in League)
PK – 84.4% (14th in League)
Advantages – 305 (League Leading)
PP Goals For – 56 (2nd in League)
Regular Season Stats: Port Huron
Last 10 Games: 9-1-0
Last Five Games: 5-0-0
Leading scorer: Rick DeRosa (14-28-42)
Leader in Goals: Brett D’Andrea with 16
Leader in Assists: DeRosa with 28
+/- Leader: DeRosa +15
PIM Leader: Bobby Brown with 103
Goaltender Max Milosek has the most wins with 22.
Hot Streaks (Last 5 Games):
Rick DeRosa (3-3-6)
Easton Powers (4-4-8)
Dan Dupell (2-3-5)
PP – 14.6% (19th in League)
PK – 81.36% (19th in League)
Advantages –254 (13th in League)
PP Goals For – 37 (17th in League)