Tomahawks Sweep First-Place Ironmen, Win Fourth Straight
JAMESTOWN, NY – After struggling away from the War Memorial early in the season, the Johnstown Tomahawks are turning into road warriors – thanks to Brandon Reinholz and a surging power play.
Reinholz scored his third goal of the weekend, and eighth in seven road games this season, and set up captain Mitch Kontny’s game-winner on the power play early in the third period Saturday night as the Tomahawks pushed their road unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) with a 3-2 victory over the first-place Ironmen at Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
Johnstown, which has won a season-high four straight games, converted two of five power-play chances Saturday to complete a weekend sweep that started with four power-play goals in a 5-3 win Friday night. The third-place Tomahawks are now just six points behind first-place Jamestown in the North Division.
Goaltender Chris Truehl, who has committed to continue his career at Air Force next season, stopped 35 shots while making his fifth start in seven games. His play was especially critical in the opening period, when he stopped all 17 Jamestown shots on his way to yet another solid performance.
Johnstown (11-6-6) took a 2-1 lead into the third period and then extended it at 5:55 just eight seconds after Mitch Hall was called for cross-checking. Kontny won the draw back to Casey Nelson, and his shot bounced to Reinholz at the bottom of the right circle. Reinholz circled behind the net, then fed Kontny in the slot for his 11th goal, extending his scoring streak to eight games (6-4-10).
The Johnstown power play, ranked fifth in the NAHL coming into the game, is now 15-for-42 (35.7 percent) in the last eight games and 29-for-128 (22.6 percent) on the season.
The Ironmen (16-6-2) pulled back within 3-2 at 9:42 of the third when a Luc Gerdes shot found its way past Truehl just nine seconds after Gerdes finished serving a hooking minor. But that was as close as the Ironmen would get on their way to a third straight loss.
Jamestown played a strong opening period, outshooting the Tomahawks, 17-6 – the most shots allowed by Johnstown in the opening period this season. The Ironmen got seven of those shots during a pair of power plays, but Truehl was perfect in goal for Johnstown, which has allowed only 13 first-period goals in 23 games this season.
The second period told a different story for Johnstown. After Dylan Zink took a slashing penalty at the end of the first period and Elliot Tisdale followed with a high-sticking minor at 1:44 of the second, the Tomahawks had a two-man advantage for 16 seconds. Their power play needed only 11 seconds to produce the game’s first goal.
Nelson fed the puck from the top of the right circle to Cody Gylling at the goal line extended to the left of goaltender Tim Shaughnessy. Gylling looked his options over and then fired a shot past Shaughnessy on the short side for his sixth goal of the season. The assist extended Nelson’s scoring streak to five games (2-3-5) and, at that point, gave Johnstown five power-play goals in eight chances for the weekend.
Johnstown limited Jamestown to just one shot in the first 13 minutes of the second period, and the Tomahawks then built their lead to 2-0 at 15:11 when the rebound of a Jake Fairchild shot bounced to Reinholz at the bottom of the left wing circle and Reinholz fired it past Shaughnessy for his 11th goal of the season.
Jamestown cut the lead in half just 1:45 later at 16:56 when Victor Johansson beat Truehl from the right circle off a two-on-one pass from Ross Pavek. The Tomahawks then killed a slashing minor to Andrew McDonald to stop the Ironmen’s momentum and take their 2-1 lead into the third period.
Johnstown, two games into a stretch of six consecutive road games, will play in Wenatchee, Wash., next Friday and Saturday.
STAT PACK: Only Bismarck (11) and Soo (12) have allowed fewer first-period goals than Johnstown. . . Fairchild has points in three straight games (1-2-3). . . The Tomahawks played with just 19 skaters as defenseman Jesse Kessler missed his first game of the season. . . Kontny’s eight-game scoring streak matches the longest current streak in the NAHL, and only five players have had longer streaks this season. . . Heading into Saturday’s late action, only Amarillo (five) had a longer current win streak than Johnstown. . . Only four NAHL teams have fewer regulation losses than the Tomahawks (six).