Heading into Saturday’s clash with the Janesville Jets, the Johnstown Tomahawks ranked 21st in the NAHL in power-play percentage.
You couldn’t tell by the Tomahawks’ performance with the man-advantage during their 5-3 win over the Jets at Cambria County War Memorial.
Johnstown (3-3-3) used power-play markers from Jaycob McCombs, Brandon Brossoit and Cody Gylling to help build a 5-1 lead en route to its second straight win on home ice.
Prior to Saturday, Johnstown had converted just six of its 46 power-play opportunities, ranking the club near the bottom of the 24-team league.
What was the difference on Saturday?
“We were shooting the puck,” Tomahawks coach Jason Spence said. “We had traffic. We weren’t trying to be too pretty. At times we actually could have shot the puck a little bit more.”
Johnstown was also able to maintain its string of solid play in the first period of games, holding the Jets (4-3-2) off the board over the first 20 minutes, marking the seventh time in nine games that the Tomahawks have accomplished that feat.
Mitch Kontny’s goal just 16 seconds into the game gave Johnstown a lead it wouldn’t surrender. Kontny, with an assist from Gylling, stuffed the puck past Janesville’s Brock Kautz.
At 7:41, McCombs pushed the lead to 2-0 when he swept a puck past Kautz with assists from Brandon Brossoit and Evan Hesse.
After Janesville’s Eric Cruickshank replied with a power-play goal at 13:02 of the first, Johnstown regained its two-goal edge as Brossoit potted a one-timer from Ian Spencer at 15:54.
McCombs, who was playing in his first home game following a two-game suspension, was also credited with an assist.
“It’s real fun playing in front of these fans,” McCombs said. “They’re wild up there. It makes for a great atmosphere.”
Casey Nelson’s ripper from the right point at 13:23 of the second added another goal to the Tomahawks lead. Codey Hansen and J.B. Baker initiated the scoring sequence by cycling the puck to the right side, where Nelson was set up.
Gylling sealed the win at 7:31 of the third when he beat Jets backup Austin Priebe on the power play. Kontny and Jeff Bergh assisted.
“We clicked it up a bit and we found the high slot guys,” McCombs said. “We were just moving the puck around real well and opening up the ice.”
Jason Ford (8:18) and Zach Diamantoni (17:58) netted goals for the Jets in the third period.
Johnstown’s Bodhi Engum stopped eight of the 11 shots he faced while the Tomahawks’ penalty-kill unit warded off six Janesville power-plays.
“I think we learned that when you keep doing the little things that got you that lead and you continue to do them,” Spence said. “It helps you in the long run.”
The same two teams square off at 6 p.m. this evening at the War Memorial.
Notes: Following the game, players representing area fire and police departments took the ice as part of the squad’s Guns and Hoses Night ... The team wore special jerseys designed for the evening’s festivities.
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