TOMAHAWKS (11-1-1) at REBELS (13-2-0)
Location: IceWorks Skating Complex Aston, Pennsylvania
Faceoff: Tonight (7 p.m.) Saturday (7 p.m.)
THE JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS
The Tomahawks are coming off a two-game sweep of the Northeast Generals which saw Johnstown score a combined 12 goals in two victories. The team has won five consecutive games going into this weekend’s series with the Aston Rebels.
Dalton Hunter leads the way for Johnstown. His impressive start, along with linemates Filips Buncis and Donovan Ott, have been key factors into the Tomahawks’ 11-1-1 record to begin the season. Hunter, a Greensburg native, has tallied 10 goals and seven assists in 13 games played, including two goals against the Generals last weekend.
The Tomahawks have five players averaging a point per game. Hunter, Buncis, Ott, Hayden Rowan and Samuel Solensky are all point-per-game players.
Speaking of Rowan, the Pemberville, Ohio, native is enjoying a six-game point streak (two goals and eight assists). Rowan was a Tomahawks draft pick in 2016 has proven to be a vital part of the second of the team.
This will be the first meeting of the season between Johnstown and Aston. The Tomahawks have an all-time record of 6-9-1 against the Rebels with the last victory coming on March 25, 2016 ina 4-0 win in Aston.
Donovan Ott is tied for the NAHL lead in power play goals with six on the season.
Ott and Hunter are tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with three a piece.
THE ASTON REBELS
Aston are riding a six-game winning streak and averaged 4 goals per game during that span. Led in scoring by ’97-born forward Andrew Bellant with 18 points (11 goals and seven assists), the Rebels raced out of the gate to a league-best 13-2-0 record. The Rebels have the highest goal for in the league (63) and the fewest goals allowed (26).
The Rebels represented the East Division at the 2016 Robertson Cup Tournament in Edina, Minn., but were swept by the eventual champions, the Fairbanks IceDogs.
There are a few returning Rebels that Tomahawks fans will be familiar with including captain Dom Garcia, Latvian defender Gvido Jansons, Russian forward Evgeny Yakovlev and defenseman Brennan Kapcheck to name a few.
Jansons has picked up where he left off last season as he has been an offensive producer for the Rebels back-end with five goals and eight assists. Kapcheck is the second-leading scorer among Rebels defensemen with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists).
Much like the high-scoring Tomahawks, Aston endured some roster turnover after the 2015-16 season. However, several newcomers have been instrumental in the Rebels success including Gianluca Esteves,a Winnipeg native, who is the fourth leading scorer for Aston (five goals, 10 assists) and goaltender Mareks Mitens, who has earned a 9-2-0 record in 11 games played for Aston.
Bellant is the second-leading scorer in the NAHL with 18 points.
The Rebels own the the third-best power play in the league, clicking at 30 percent.
Additionally, Aston’s fifth ranked penalty kill is clicking at 86 percent.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
How To Watch: HockeyTV
Fans can follow the Tomahawks social media accounts for updated action throughout the weekend.