The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 14, 2013

Tomahawks look to build on first season’s success

JOHNSTOWN — Cambria County War Memorial Arena will rock again tonight.

The boys are back in town.

The Johnstown Tomahawks, Chapter II, begins at 7:30 p.m. against the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.

Actually, the city’s diehard fans can get an early start at 5 p.m. as HockeyFest begins with a number of activities and entertainment on Napoleon Street in front of the arena.

“I expect that the nerves will be there,” said Tomahawks coach Jason Spence, who led Johnstown to a 27-21-4-8 record and playoff berth during its inaugural North American Hockey League season. “It will be an exciting atmosphere with everything going on from Bill Guerin to the crowd and the HockeyFest, everything all wrapped into one.”

Former Penguins Stanley Cup winner Bill Guerin will drop the ceremonial first puck, following the lead of Penguins owner and Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux, who dropped the disc before last year’s home opener.

The Tomahawks quickly became a hit in the arena and throughout the community, attracting 75,830 fans during 30 home dates, an average of 2,527, fifth-best in the NAHL. There were 11 crowds of 3,000 or more fans, including seven sellouts.

“The fans help a great deal,” Spence said. “We have to play the game inside the glass, though. We can’t be starry-eyed looking at all the people.

“The players want to succeed not only for themselves but also for the fans,” added Spence, himself a fan favorite as a rugged forward for the Johnstown Chiefs in the ECHL. “You can’t grip your stick too tight. You’ve got to relax and let it happen.”

General Manager Rick Boyd, Spence and assistant coach Mike Letizia have assembled a solid team for the second season.

Four of last season’s top-six scorers return this year. That foursome accounted for 62 goals and 140 points in 2012-13.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • 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

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo