The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 27, 2010

Chiefs break out in third period to snap five-game streak

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Chiefs, their coaches and the team’s fans had experienced third periods such as this often this season.

But this time, Johnstown, rather than the opposition, was doing the scoring, and the five-goal outburst was cause for a celebration among 2,700 fans at Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Friday night.

The Chiefs beat the Toledo Walleye 7-4 on the strength of a pair of power-play goals, a well-placed rebound and two empty-netters during a five-goal third period.

“Unbelievable,” Chiefs coach Neil Smith said. “It was like a juxtaposition, a role reversal. It’s usually us giving them the 5-on-3s and they beat us. It’s bittersweet. You enjoy it so much, and you can’t help but wonder why couldn’t we have put in those kinds of efforts all season? You’ve just got to enjoy it.”

The Chiefs halted a five-game losing streak and won their 10th home game of the season with three contests remaining at the War Memorial until the team moves to Greenville, S.C.

“It was nice for the fans,” Smith said.

“You could really hear them getting excited and being happy. When we went down 3-0 there was that collective sigh in the building, ‘Oh, gosh. Here we go again.’ But it was never negative in the locker room and never negative on the bench. We just kept pushing ahead.”

Toledo scored the game’s first three goals. Mike Hedden and Sal Peralta each converted power plays, and Evan Rankin tallied unassisted against Kris Mayotte at 17:13 of the first.

The Chiefs comeback began 33 seconds later, when Jeff Martens scored.

Forward Dan Collins, back after missing two months due to a broken hand, really put the Chiefs in contention by scoring short-handed 6:26 into the second. Sean Berkstresser assisted on the momentum-swaying goal.

“The biggest spark was Collins and Berkstresser getting that short-handed goal,” Smith said. “All of a sudden everybody went, ‘Maybe we are in this thing.’ ”

Toledo made it 4-2 on Chris Robertson’s power-play goal 4:05 into the third.

But after multiple skirmishes broke out at 4:59, the Chiefs ended up with a two-minute, 5-on-3 advantage.

Fitzpatrick scored at 6:01, with an assist by Collins, who had four points and a plus-4 rating.

“The 5-on-3, we had one before the third period and it didn’t click as well as we wanted it to,” Fitzpatrick said. “We discussed it after the second period and we decided to go back to something original that we did before. It seemed to work.”

Connor Shields converted the second half of the power play 11 seconds later as Troy Schwab and Russ Sinkewich had assists on the game-tying tally.

Collins netted the game-winner with a rebound goal after Berkstresser’s shot clanged off the crossbar at 8:08.

Jim McKenzie and Fitzpatrick each hit the empty net to set the final, with Fitzpatrick scoring his 30th goal of the season.

“It’s like Christmastime when you’re 5 years old,” Collins said. “The feeling of just winning a game for the fans was special because obviously they know we’re leaving and we’d like to win every game in front of them from here on out.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Edwards honored by ECHL

    December 5, 2013

  • Slapshot Cup expands to 18 teams in second year

    The Slapshot Cup Hockey Tournament has expanded for its second year in Johnstown.

    September 28, 2011

  • ZIGGYS.jpg Former players rally to help ‘Ziggy'

    Randy Rowe felt it was so important to wear the specially designed Ziggy’s Fundraiser sweater that he juggled his schedule and planned a 91⁄2-hour drive from Belleville, Ontario, to Richland Township.

    June 3, 2010 1 Photo

  • chiefs_main.jpg Johnstown sufferes an epic loss

    The final seconds ticked down in the Johnstown Chiefs’ ECHL existence on Saturday night, and even though the hometown team trailed by four goals, a standing-room-only crowd began chanting, “Let’s go Chiefs.”
    That chant would be nothing out of the ordinary on most nights. But this game was the last game.
    Twenty-two ECHL seasons and thousands of memories came to a conclusion when the Chiefs dropped a 5-3 contest to Elmira at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

    April 4, 2010 6 Photos

  • chiefs_sorry.JPG Mike Mastovich: ‘A sad night for Johnstown’

    Scott Allen stood on the New York Islanders bench during Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
    Long Island and the NHL is about as far from Johnstown and the ECHL as one gets on a sunny afternoon.

    April 4, 2010 2 Photos

  • chiefs_banner.JPG Joe Gorden: City teams usually on thin ice

    A sellout crowd turned out on Saturday to say goodbye to the ECHL’s
    Johnstown Chiefs in their last game at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. The irony was obvious.

    April 4, 2010 1 Photo

  • Nailers to play 11 games in Johnstown next year

    The thought of loyal Johnstown Chiefs fans rooting for the Wheeling Nailers might have been difficult to grasp a few months ago.
    But next season, Johnstown’s hockey fans have no other choice.

    April 3, 2010

  • CHIEFS_celebration.jpg Mike Mastovich: 10 Defining moments in Chiefs history

    So, this is it.
    Twenty-two ECHL seasons and 1,518 regular-season games.
    It ends tonight at a sold-out Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

    April 3, 2010 3 Photos

  • Chiefs drop final road game

    The Johnstown Chiefs dropped the final road game in team history on Friday night, falling behind early and failing to catch up to the Cincinnati Cyclones in a 5-1 loss in front of more than 10,000 fans at U.S. Bank Arena.

    April 2, 2010

  • Arena confirms: Wheeling Nailers to play some games in Johnstown next year

    April 2, 2010


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads