The NAHL North Division has been tight all season.
The Michigan Warriors made it just a bit more interesting on Friday night.
Michigan used Jon Farkas’ third-period goal and a strong performance by netminder Trevor Gorsuch to edge the Johnstown Tomahawks 2-1 at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
The Warriors moved into a tie for second place in the North Division with the Tomahawks.
“It’s definitely a must,” Johnstown coach Jason Spence said of tonight’s 7 p.m. rematch between the teams at the War Memorial. “This was a game that we had to win, and obviously (tonight) is just that much more important now.”
A crowd of 2,724 watched as the Tomahawks outshot the Warriors 29-23 but couldn’t finish good scoring opportunities or convert any of Johnstown’s four power-play opportunities.
The Tomahawks weren’t whistled for any penalties, a rarity at any level of hockey.
“We came out well and then it looked like we didn’t have enough jump,” Spence said. “We were slower on the decision making. I don’t know what the chances were for one team or the other, but we have to be better.
“We have to play 60 minutes. We can’t play hard for spots of the game.”
The Warriors snapped a rough stretch against Johnstown.
The Tomahawks had won four of the first six meetings in the season series, including a two-game sweep on Dec. 30 and New Year’s Eve at the War Memorial.
Spence’s team was 4-1-1 all time at home against the Warriors prior to Friday.
“When both these teams play, both teams are pretty close matched up, and you know it’s going to be a good, tight-checking hockey game,” Michigan coach Moe Mantha said.
Five of the teams’ seven games against each other have been decided by one goal.
Johnstown’s Josh Bowes put the home team in front with his fourth goal at 4:21 of the first. Tyler Basham assisted.
But Michigan’s Joshua Shellman tied it at 17:12 of the opening period. There were no first-period penalties.
Neither team scored in the second.
Farkas has a knack for finding the net against Johnstown. He proved as much 2:23 into the third period, as he snapped a shot that went into the top corner of the cage for the eventual game-winner.
“(Farkas) was just above the goal line when he shot the puck,” Spence said. “I don’t know if it handcuffed Alex Okicki, but it just went in the top right-hand corner.”
Farkas has four goals in seven games against the Tomahawks.
“He’s a power forward that likes going into the corners and likes going to the net,” Mantha said. “He’s got a quick, sneaky shot. That goal he got was a good timed goal for us, just going down the wing and just firing it.”
Both coaches pointed to Michigan’s penalty kill unit as a key to the outcome.
“When we had our feet moving, we were OK,” Spence said of the power play. “But it’s a credit to their penalty kill. They pressured us very hard. The puck wasn’t really settling for us. We weren’t making enough hockey plays.”
Mantha said the Warriors put in extra time and saw the benefits.
“We had two weeks when we didn’t play, and we had a bye weekend,” Mantha said. “We spent a good eight days working on our special teams. We’ve settled things down and have more structure.”
Notes: Tomahawks goaltender Okicki stopped 21 of 23 shots. Michigan’s Gorsuch had 28 saves. … Mantha said he hoped to get an autographed Jason Spence bobblehead after Friday’s special promotional giveaway. … The Tomahawks are 12-7-1 at home. Michigan is 7-7-5 on the road.
The NAHL North Division has been tight all season.
- Local Sports
McCutchen homers three times in loss to Twins
Andrew McCutchen homered, doubled and singled Friday for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
McCutchen went 3 for 3, scored twice and drove in two runs. The reigning NL MVP is 8 for 11 in four games this spring.
Richland wrestler reaches PIAA title match
Nico Pecora gave the area its second state finalist at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships tonight.
Bedford wrestler reaches state championship match
Bedford will have a state finalist for the second consecutive season, but it will not be the same one.
- Quartet of area wrestlers move on to PIAA semifinals
Four local wrestlers have chance for PIAA gold
Four local wrestlers will compete tonight for a spot in the state finals at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Moving on up | Nine grapplers advance to AA quarterfinals
Bedford’s Garrett Thomas said he wasn’t nervous at all.
United’s Tyler Oliver admitted that he was, even if he told his coaches that he wasn’t.
And Richland’s Nico Pecora said the pressure is on his family members, not him.
Nervous or not, those three, who were making their state tournament debuts, and six other local wrestlers won their first match at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships on Thursday morning to qualify for today’s quarterfinal round.
Day 1 gives ups and downs for region
There was plenty of talk about roller coasters on Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center, but it had nothing to do with the thrill rides across the parking lot at Hersheypark.
It was all about the ups and downs of the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Berlin boys wary of Trojans’ size, athleticism
On the same night last week that Berlin Brothersvalley was winning its first District 5-A title since 2007, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic was losing to eventual champion Lincoln Park in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
The Mountaineers (23-2), one of three area boys district champions set to begin opening-round action in the PIAA playoffs tonight, and Trojans (15-10) will square off this evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center, site of Berlin’s 65-51 district championship win over Forbes Road.
Tomahawks return home to face Jets
Johnstown Tomahawks coach Jason Spence knows numbers can be deceiving.
For instance, the Tomahawks’ Matt Meier had two goals and three points on Saturday night. Goaltender Brett Young made 41 saves.
Those statistics are impressive for 60 minutes of work. Both players had solid efforts, especially during a road game. On paper, the numbers looked good enough for a victory.
Danel helping Falcons to Division III tournament
When Chelsea Danel was a senior at North Star, the Cougars were able to win a District 5-AA basketball title.
Now Danel, a senior at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, is a key contributor on a Falcons’ hoops squad which upset top-seeded Lebanon Valley 53-47 in the Commonwealth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the ninth title for the Falcons in 13 appearances.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- McCutchen homers three times in loss to Twins