By JON KOHAN
The Johnstown Tomahawks hosted the Wenatchee Wild on Friday night at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, and though these two teams rarely meet each other, on Friday night they played like longtime rivals.
In the end, the Tomahawks emerged with a 6-4 victory.
Both teams played a very physical game and blood boiled early in the first period. A mini line brawl took place in the first period as Cody Bentzel, Omar Mullan, and Dakota Menslage all received fighting majors at the 12:12 mark of the first period after the teams met up inside the Johnstown crease.
The only goal of the period went to Wenatchee as Mike Coyne was able to beat Johnstown netminder Jake Moore, to give the Wild a 1-0 lead after the first period.
In the second period, the teams exchanged the lead while continuing physical play.
Johnstown tied the game 2:25 into the second period. Joe Drabin scored a breakaway goal, with the assist going to Mitch Hall.
Wenatchee retook the lead at 6:05 when Troy Loggins knocked in a rebound goal, making the score 2-1 Wild.
A few minutes later, Johnstown battled back to tie at 2. Matt Meier took a stretch pass and, once in the zone, fired a shot glove side, beating Gustaf Johansson. The assist went Cody Bentzel.
Again, after Johnstown tied the game, Wenatchee regained the lead. Another rebound shot that kicked out in front of the net saw Tanner Barnes pick up the lose puck and put it in the empty net.
With minutes remaining in the period, Johnstown tied the game yet again.
Brady Bender shot-passed the puck towards Brandon Reinholz, who redirected the pass, from the slot into the net.
The teams went into the second intermission tied at 3.
It was more of the same in the third period, but this time it was Johnstown that took the early lead. Only 30 seconds into the final frame, Shane Bednard made a cross-ice pass to a wide open Trevor Recktenwald, who slapped the puck past Johansson’s blocker side, making it 4-3 Johnstown.
The score remained the same until the 14:34 mark, when Wenatchee was on the power play. After a Alex Jaeckle penalty for hooking, Matthew Nuttle took a shot from the blue line, and found net past Moore’s blocker, tying the game at 4.
Exactly at the 15 minute mark, Johnstown regained the lead after Josh Bowes buried a loose puck that was sitting by the post. It was his first goal of the season and turned out to be the gamewinning goal.
Johnstown added an empty net goal at the end of the game by Shane Bednard, to give Johnstown the win.
The win is Johnstown’s fourth in a row.
Wenatchee outshot Johnstown 40-23.
Both teams faceoff against each other again tonight at 7 p.m.