The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

September 12, 2013

Gylling's return boosts Tomahawks

JOHNSTOWN — Only days before the home opener, the Johnstown Tomahawks received a huge boost to the franchise’s second North American Hockey League season.

Last year’s leading scorer Cody Gylling returned to the Tomahawks following his recent release from the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League.

The Force had selected Gylling in the sixth round of the league’s 2013 draft after his breakthrough season with the Tomahawks in 2012-13. Johnstown retained his NAHL rights.

“I’m excited to come back. I had a great time in Johnstown my first year and really enjoyed it,” Gylling said Thursday night. “It was a great experience. It was pretty easy to come back here. I’m excited for the upcoming season.”

Gylling had a team-high 45 points, with 16 goals and 29 assists as the Tomahawks won over Johnstown hockey fans during a 27-21-4-8 season.

Coach Jason Spence’s team will begin its second season against Port Huron at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. The ‘Hawks and Fighting Falcons will meet again at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the War Memorial.

“Cody’s going to be a big part of the team,” said Spence prior to Thursday’s second Tomahawks home opening dinner event at the Boulevard Grill in Southmont. “He’s a natural scorer. He can really shoot the puck. He complements the linemates really well, and he’s really smart.

“He’s going to be chomping at the bit because we have unfinished business this year.”

The Tomahawks had 27 players and will need to reach the league limit of 25 by Saturday.

Gylling will reunite with a strong nucleus of returning players such as forwards Brandon Reinholz, Zach Wallace, Jordan Watt, JB Baker and Jaycob McCombs. Also back are defensemen Cody Bentzel, Mitch Hall, Jesse Kessler and Dakoda Menslage.

“We’re really close. It was really nice seeing everyone again,” said Gylling, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound forward. “We were a really close group last year. it’s nice coming in and seeing some old faces and the new faces too. It seems like we already have a pretty tight group.”

Among the additions is experienced goaltender Alex Okicki, who had 18 wins and a 2.74 goals against average last season playing with the former Kalamazoo team in the NAHL.

“That’s big,” Gylling said. “We had a key departure of (last season’s goaltender) Chris Truehl to Air Force. It was cool picking (Okicki) up. Alex had a great year last year. It’s going to be better playing when he’s on our side.”

Other new players are: Defensemen Brady Bender, Shane Cuckovich, Trevor Heuser, Ryan Bittner and Alex Jaeckle; forwards Matthew Meier, Eric Tien, Joe Drabin, Collin Finkhouse, Griffin Leach, Tyler Basham, Connor Gilmartin, Trevor Recktenwald and Shane Bednard; and goaltenders Brett young and Colin DeAugustine.

Gylling hopes his second stay with the Tomahawks eventually will lead him back to the USHL, which is considered a step above the NAHL, a Tier II Junior A league.

“Cody was in Fargo, and they said he had what it takes but he was a little inconsistent at that level,” Spence said. “This experience will be good for him and hopefully he gets back up there. The most important thing for guys like Cody is the showcase that is coming up (Sept. 18) when 300 scouts will be looking at him and the others. It’s a big deal.”

If he’s not in Fargo, Gylling couldn’t think of a better place to be than in Johnstown.

“It was a combination of the town welcoming the team, we had great support of the team, and we had a good team last year,” Gylling said when asked what made the Tomahawks’ debut season so special. “Obviously we would have liked to go a little further in the playoffs. I really enjoyed the company of the guys. It was a pretty memorable year.”

Notes: The Tomahawks’ second HockeyFest will be held on Napoleon Street in front of the War Memorial beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended the pregame event, which included a number of activities, food and beverage options and entertainment. ... Bill Guerin will have a tough act to follow. The former Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup-winning forward will drop the ceremonial first puck on Saturday. Last season, Penguins owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux dropped the first puck in front of a sellout crowd. ... Tickets remain available for Saturday and Sunday’s games. ... Last season, the Tomahawks attracted 75,830 fans in 30 home dates for an average of 2,527, fifth-best in the NAHL. The Tomahawks had 11 crowds of 3,000 or more at the War Memorial ... The Tomahawks were named NAHL Organization of the Year in 2012-13.

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide