With 10 regular-season games remaining, and only four of those at home, the fourth-place Johnstown Tomahawks will continue their push to the NAHL playoffs with a pair of games against Fresno.
The North Division Tomahawks are coming off a pair of close home losses to West Division-leading Wenatchee last weekend. Johnstown will host the West’s last-place squad when the Monsters visit tonight and Saturday. Faceoff is 7 p.m.
Johnstown coach Jason Spence won’t overlook the Monsters, despite Fresno’s 12-28-6 record, which includes a Tomahawks sweep in two December games on the West Coast.
“They’re a good team. They have some dangerous guys and some good leaders,” Spence said.
“We have to make sure we don’t leave anybody open. At the same time we have to take our game to them. We cannot be as concerned about what they do as we have to be real concerned about what we do.”
The Tomahawks are 22-18-10 with 54 points, four better than fifth-place Port Huron in the North.
Johnstown hasn’t played a game this week, but Spence and several players still managed to produce during the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich. Spence was a co-coach of the NAHL 18 Selects Team. J.B. Baker played on the squad.
Tomahawks captain Mitch Kontny, Cody Gylling, Andrew McDonald and Casey Nelson each played for Team Great Lakes.
“There is a lot of talent at the Prospects Tournament,” Spence said. “There were six teams and they all played against each other, three games a day. I coached the under-18 team. There was a lot of skill on the ice. Some of the leaders of the league are under 18 years old. J.B. Baker played well and had a goal in (Wednesday’s) game and represented Johnstown very well.”
Spence watched his other players produce points for Great Lakes.
“The Johnstown players showed up real well in the veterans games,” he said. “They played really well. In Tuesday’s game, they were part of every goal. All of them contributed on the score sheet. They did a real stand-up job of representing Johnstown at the league prospects game.
“It’s a great event. There are representatives from colleges and NHL teams there.”
Spence is ready to get back to work on the bench at the War Memorial.
The Tomahawks lost to Wenatchee 3-1 and 3-2 last weekend. The Tomahawks played tough against one of the NAHL’s premier teams.
“I think we made some progress,” Spence said.
“We have to do a better job of capitalizing on our opportunities. We really want to bear down on getting those quality shots and put pucks and bodies to the net.”
The Tomahawks won twice at Fresno, 6-1 on Dec. 7 and 4-3 on Dec. 8
Johnstown is 4-5-1 in its past
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