The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breaking News

Mike Mastovich

April 3, 2010

Mike Mastovich: 10 Defining moments in Chiefs history

JOHNSTOWN — 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.

As “Slap Shot” sports writer Dickie Dunn would say, “A Sad Commentary.”

While I might not be in Dickie Dunn’s league, my 19 seasons as beat writer have provided me with plenty of material: Great performances and individual milestones; tales of struggling teams that seemed to encounter one inexplicable misfortune after another; an arena roof and a couple concrete walls nearly collapsing under the weight of snow and ice; and, of course, a puck flying into the press box.

It’s difficult to condense 22 seasons – with 19 of those coming during my time on the beat. But my top 10 defining Chiefs moments follow.

1. Game 7 Riley Cup final, April 12, 1989. The Chiefs had swept through their first-round series against Knoxville and took a 2-0 series lead over Carolina in the final.

But the T-Birds won three straight until coach Steve Carlson’s team won Game 6 on the road to force a decisive seventh game at the War Memorial.

Carolina had three players suspended after Game 6 and the Winston-Salem team had only 13 skaters. Chiefs fans began lining up before midnight to purchase tickets.

When the box office opened at 10 a.m., two lines stretched out of the lobby and down the sidewalk. The game sold out in a record four hours, five minutes. The stars seemed aligned for a Chiefs championship performance in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 4,146.

But the undermanned Thunderbirds built a two-goal advantage and then held off multiple Chiefs comebacks.

There were ties at 2, 3 and 4 before the T-Birds reeled off three straight third-period goals in a 7-4 victory over the Chiefs. Future Chiefs coach Scott Allen had a second-period goal for Carolina.

“We pulled in the night before on the bus and there were people sleeping outside the War Memorial waiting for tickets,” Allen recalled. “We came in for the morning skate and the line was out the door and along the sidewalk. People were greeting us with the one-finger salute. We actually were enjoying the atmosphere.”

Even in defeat, the Chiefs were the toast of the town. A parade honoring the Chiefs rolled through town and more than 1,000 people attended a rally at Central Park, holding signs that proclaimed, “We’re Still No. 1” and “Thank You Chiefs.”

Many in that crowd probably figured the Chiefs would “Get ’em next year” or at least sometime in the future. But the elusive championship never materialized.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Mike Mastovich
  • Mastovich, Mike Mike Mastovich | Juniors bring fresh flavor to 61st Amateur

    The Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions has attracted some of the best young golfers in the game during the past six decades.
    Tiger Woods was a teenager when he played the Sunnehanna Country Club course.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mastovich, Mike MIKE MASTOVICH| Simon aiming for second life

    Geroy Simon never allowed obstacles or naysayers’ opinions to deter him throughout a career as the most prolific receiver in the history of the Canadian Football League.
    So, when Geroy says the primary goal in his post-playing career is to become a general manager, it probably isn’t wise to bet against the Greater Johnstown High School graduate.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike color.JPG MIKE MASTOVICH| Huskies hot again this season

    Cosie Aliquo heard people talking about how talented his Bishop Carroll boys’ basketball team is this season.
    He’s read the preseason news clippings and certainly noticed that the Huskies were ranked third in the state in one Class A preseason poll.

    December 14, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike MIKE MASTOVICH| Shaffer revitalizes Richland's passing game

    Two years ago, Brandon Bailey saw potential in a tall, strong-armed quarterback looking to establish himself in the Richland High program.
    Matt Shaffer was a sophomore splitting the quarterback duties with classmate Nico Pecora back then.

    November 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike MIKE MASTOVICH | Berlin's Fochtman rushing into lead

    Braden Fochtman always seems to be in a rush on the football field.
    How else do you explain his area-best 1,042 rushing yards through five weeks of the scholastic season?
    But the Berlin Brothersvalley sophomore back actually has been a much more patient runner this season, and that’s made a significant difference to the undefeated Mountaineers’ success.

    October 3, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike color.JPG MIKE MASTOVICH| Experienced players valuable for Meyersdale

    Gavin Berkley will make his 34th career start when undefeated Meyersdale hosts once-beaten Portage on Friday night.
    The Red Raiders senior two-way standout has experienced plenty of highs and lows during the past three-plus seasons.

    September 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike MIKE MASTOVICH| Rule waiver soothes concerns

    Dean Albany felt a sense of baseball relief late Wednesday night.
    For days, even weeks, the Youse’s Maryland Orioles of Baltimore GM had pondered the possibility of life without the the AAABA Tournament this summer and perhaps beyond.

    July 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike.JPG MIKE MASTOVICH| Hot times for two AAABA League teams

    Two AAABA League franchises have heated up as the temperatures soared this month.
    The Berkley Hills Renegades beat First Commonwealth 11-1 on Wednesday, the defending champs’ seventh consecutive victory.
    Manager Larry McCabe’s team has won 11 of its past 12 games and now has a 22-12 record, good for second place and 31⁄2 games behind league-leading Delweld.

    July 17, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike MIKE MASTOVICH| Shirley lifting Renegades

    Jason Shirley provides the Berkley Hills Renegades with offensive punch and speed on the base paths, a combination that will be important if the defending champions are to challenge for a spot atop the AAABA League standings.
    Shirley is batting a league-high .458 (22-for-48) through 22 games. The Youngstown State University product also has eight stolen bases in nine attempts.

    July 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • mastovich, mike MIKE MASTOVICH | Mazey scholarship continues legacy

    Forrest Mazey was a fixture at Point Stadium and baseball diamonds throughout the region.

    July 3, 2013 1 Photo


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