The Johnstown Tomahawks begin the quest for the Robertson Cup Thursday night, as they travel to New Jersey for the opening game of the best-of-five series against the Titans. The Tomahawks and Titans battled 16 times this season, with the Titans holding a 10-6 advantage in the season series.
This will be the third time in team history that the Tomahawks have reached the Robertson Cup playoffs, with the team taking on the Port Huron Fighting Falcons in the first two appearances. The Tomahawks are 1-3-2 all-time in the post season, including a shutout victory at the War Memorial during the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
The Tomahawks enter the postseason on a two-game winning streak, after sweeping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on home ice to close out the regular-season. The Tomahawks overcame a 3-1 deficit in the second period to defeat the Knights 4-3 on April 1. Alex Alger scored the game-winning goal as part of a hat trick.
In the regular season finale, the Tomahawks jumped out to a 5-0 lead, thanks to two goals by Alger and goals by Luke Picek, Andrew Romano and Luke Lynch. The Knights tallied some power-play goals, but the Tomahawks were able to hold on for a 6-3 victory.
New Jersey closed out their season series with a weekend split of the Aston Rebels. In the first game of the weekend, the Titans took a 2-1 lead in the second period, thanks to a pair of Brad Becker goals. The Rebels regained the lead with a pair of second period goals, before Anthony Cusanelli tied the game with 38 seconds left in the period.
Aston responded with three third period goals to take the victory and the East Division regular season title. Jack Berry stopped 27 of 32 shots in the loss for the Titans.
The series shifted to New Jersey for the regular season finale, and for the second straight game the Titans took a 2-1 lead in the second period, as Brad Becker scored at 11:22 and Raymond Brice scored at 17:01.
The Titans closed out their scoring in the third period, as Joseph Schuler scored a power-play goal at 6:12. The Rebels pulled back within one, but New Jersey was able to close the door and earn a 4-3 victory. Spencer Wright earned the win, stopping 19 of 22 shots.
Andrew Romano has 13 points (three goals, ten assists) against New Jersey, while Casey Linkenheld and Filips Buncis each have six goals against them. Alex Alger has also provided 10 assists against the Titans this season. Between the pipes, Andrew Lindgren leads the way with three wins against New Jersey.
Bruno Birzitis leads the Titans with 18 points (eight goals, ten assists) against Johnstown, while Raymond Brice has nine goals against the Tomahawks. Goaltender Jack Berry is 5-2 with a .914 save percentage against Johnstown this season.
Game two of the series will be played Friday night in New Jersey, before shifting to Johnstown for game three next Friday night (April 22) at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, game four would be played in Johnstown Saturday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. A deciding fifth game would be played Monday April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Middletown, N.J.
Tickets for game three here at the War Memorial are on sale now! To purchase your tickets, stop by the War Memorial Box Office, visit www.johnstowntomahawks.com, or call 1-800-745-3000.
- The Tomahawks are 20-1-2 when leading after the second period.
- New Jersey is 26-4-2 when scoring first this season.
- Johnstown has outscored its opponents 71-65 in the third period this season.
- Tomahawks forward Luke Lynch has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last nine games.
- New Jersey is 7-3-0 in one-goal games at home this season. Johnstown is 6-1-3 in one-goal games on the road this season.
- Johnstown finished the season tied for second in the league with 11 shorthanded goals.