The Johnstown Tomahawks faced defeat Friday night in Danbury, as the Jr. Hat Tricks won by a final score of 5-1.
The Jr. Hat Tricks got off to a quick start offensively, with two breakaways in the first three minutes of the game. Both were stopped by Tomahawks goaltender, Sam Evola. Both teams were assessed a penalty early in the game. Matt McQuade was called for tripping 3:33 into the game for Johnstown, while Mark D’Agostino was called for high-sticking 6:14 in on Danbury’s side. The Tomahawks were looking to get on the board during the advantage, but instead Danbury’s Luke Wheeler knocked one in to get the game started with a shorthanded goal 7:45 into the game. With just 2:04 remaining in the opening frame, Danbury added on another goal as Jason Kleinhans snuck one past Evola to score his ninth of the season.
The Tomahawks came out for the 2nd period, looking for a breakthrough to get on the board. Johnstown had noticeably more time in the offensive zone during the middle frame and were rewarded for the efforts with two power play opportunities. The first came 8:38 into the period as Andrew Eberling was called for slashing and then another penalty to D’Agostino for hooking. While the Tomahawks did not find the back of the net on either advantage, things were looking better in the offensive zone, along with keeping up defensively, not allowing the Hat Tricks to extend their lead any further. After a lengthy amount of time in the zone, Danbury cleared the puck and went rushing down the ice. The rush was stopped by Smolinski, who was called for holding. The Tomahawks penalty kill unit held off Danbury to end the 2nd period, but the Hat Tricks still had 31 seconds of power play time to start the 3rd period.
The Hawks came out for the 3rd easily killing off the remainder of Smolinski’s penalty and immediately looked to getting on track to get on the board in the final frame. 4:55 into the period, the Tomahawks were called for too many men. Forward Matt McQuade served the penalty for the Hawks. With just 25 seconds remaining on the power play, D’Agostino found the back of the net, extending the lead to three for the Hat Tricks. Just three minutes later, Joshua Burke catches Sam Evola off guard and adds on a fourth goal. In a momentum shift, the Tomahawks get a one-man advantage for the rest of the game as Valentino Passarelli is assessed a five-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct with 4:53 left in regulation. On the advantage, Daniel Tkac finally solved Danbury goaltender Edvard Nordlund, scoring his tenth goal of the season with 3:45 remaining in the final period. Luke Wheeler ended things Friday night with an empty net goal for the Hat Tricks to end the game with a final score of 5-1.
The two teams are back tomorrow from Danbury, Connecticut for the second of three games this weekend. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM and the game will be broadcasted on HockeyTV.