The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 15, 2014

Tomahawks romp past Warriors

ALTOONA — The Johnstown Tomahawks faced a Michigan Warriors team on an eight-game winning streak Friday night at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

The Warriors hadn’t lost since Jan. 3. Coach Moe Mantha’s squad moved from the middle of the pack to the role of a contender in the tight NAHL North Division.

Johnstown had to elevate its game in order to slow down the Warriors.

The Tomahawks accomplished that goal in a 5-0 shutout over Michigan in front of 1,782 fans.

“We knew coming in here that we needed four points this weekend,” said Tomahawks goaltender Alex Okicki, who stopped 30 shots. “These guys were on a hot streak.”

Johnstown played perhaps its most complete game of the season, outshooting the Warriors 35-30 and playing a physical but disciplined style.

“We got in on them and stayed physical,” Okicki said. “We forced them to make mistakes.”

The third-place Tomahawks (24-19-3) closed within three points of second-place Michigan (23-13-8).

The teams play again at 7 tonight at the War Memorial.

“That’s the only game this year we played where you could almost take a breath,” Tomahawks coach Jason Spence said. “We’ve played hard all season, but tonight we got the bounces and we made a lot of the bounces. Pucks went in for us.”

The Tomahawks were sharp from the outset, posting a 13-5 shots advantage in the first period and leading 2-0 on goals by Matt Meier and Josh Bowes.

The first also included two fights and a scrum that resulted in matching roughing calls.

Meier’s one-timer from the slot was set up by Shane Bednard at 10:37. Just over seven minutes later, Bowes got his own rebound, maneuvered around a defender and slipped the puck to an opening behind Michigan goaltender Trevor Gorsuch. Bednard and Meier assisted.

“They say two goals is the worst lead in hockey because teams tend to get comfortable,” Spence said. “But the guys bore down and did a good job.”

The Tomahawks had a full 2-minute, two-man advantage early in the second. Dakoda Menslage’s blast from the left point made it 3-0. Cody Bentzel’s cross-ice pass set up Menslage’s second goal of the season on the power play.

“The bigger cushion, the better,” Okicki said.

Defenseman Logan Hudson scored in his first game back from injury.

Hudson gave the Hawks a four-goal lead after his shot from just inside the blue line on the left wing caught a piece of Gorsuch’s pad or skate and went through the five hole at 13:03 of the second.

Late in the second, the Tomahawks backed up their goaltender.

Michigan’s Cody Lichtenvoort charged the cage and Okicki took a hit to his head and fell. Hudson and Meier immediately skated to the boards behind the goal line and confronted Lichtenvoort.

“We wanted to play disciplined but we wanted to play team tough,” Spence said. “Tonight was a rough game both ways. We’ve played them a ton of times, back to back, and you get those heated rivalries.”

Lichtenvort received a roughing minor and a 5-minute charging major for hitting Okicki. Bednard and Meier each received roughing minors.

“They were getting really chippy towards the end,” Okicki said. “They were trying to cause us to do something stupid. But our guys stayed under control. Meier and Hudson went right after that guy.”

Casey Linkenheld scored his first goal with the Tomahawks 9:08 into the third. Bowes assisted.

Despite the lopsided score, there was some late drama as Okicki lost his goalie stick behind the cage with Michigan skating on a power play.

Bentzel gave his stick to Okicki, and the netminder had to weather about a minute until a stoppage.

“All the guys were working even harder knowing the goalie doesn’t have his stick,” Okicki said.

Spence expects the Warriors to be motivated tonight.

“I’m sure they’re going to come back really hungry,” Spence said.

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • ‘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

  • horizontal hawks Fighting Falcons win playoff series against Tomahawks

    The third period of Game 3 of the NAHL North Division semifinal served as a quick primer of the Johnstown Tomahawks’ playoff fortunes against top-seeded Port Huron.
    Trailing by two goals going into the third, the Tomahawks ramped up the intensity, producing a goal early and a multitude of chances at an equalizer until the game’s final moments when goaltender Max Milosek stopped Jordan Watt’s breakaway try as the Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s horn sounded.

    April 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • ’Hawks need a win to survive

    At the moment, it’s not about advancing through the postseason for the Johnstown Tomahawks. It’s simply a case of surviving to play another day.

    April 11, 2014

  • Falcons clip Tomahawks in overtime

    The Johnstown Tomahawks squandered a pair of two-goal leads and fell 4-3 in overtime to Port Huron in Game 2 of the North Division semifinals on Friday night.
    Johnstown trails the best-of-5 series 2-0 and will try to avoid elimination when the series moves to Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Friday.

    April 5, 2014

  • Tomahawks drop Game 1 on road

    The Johnstown Tomahawks came back from an early two-goal deficit, but Jon Hall scored a third period goal to give the Port Huron Fighting Falcons the 3-2 win in Game 1 of the best-of-5 North Division semi-finals on Thursday night at McMorran Arena.
    The Fighting Falcons struck first, as Bryce VanHorn scored 1:39 into the first period. Logan Lambdin earned an assist on the goal.

    April 4, 2014

  • tomahawks okicki Tomahawks set to open postseason on road

    The Johnstown Tomahawks open the Robertson Cup playoffs tonight at Port Huron hoping to reclaim the form that enabled the second-year team to move near the top of the NAHL North Division a mere six weeks ago.
    Standing in the way of fourth-seeded Johnstown is No. 1 Port Huron, a team that planted itself firmly atop the division and never relented.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Hawks drop season finale at Janesville

    The Johnstown Tomahawks closed the NAHL regular season with a 4-1 loss to the Janesville Jets in front of 650 fans at Janesville Ice Arena on Saturday night.
    The Tomahawks had secured the North Division’s fourth and final playoff spot when Springfield lost at Soo on Friday night, so the game had no bearing on the playoff race.

    March 30, 2014

  • Tomahawks clinch berth in playoffs

    The Johnstown Tomahawks lost a 5-3 decision at Janesville on Friday, but clinched a NAHL playoff berth nonetheless because Soo defeated Springfield 2-1 earlier in the day.
    The Tomahawks began the weekend in fourth place, three points behind Janesville and three points ahead of fifth-place Springfield.

    March 29, 2014

  • Tomahawks’ playoff hopes hinge on next two games

    March 27, 2014

  • Eagles avoid sweep, nip Tomahawks

    The Johnstown Tomahawks battled back from a three-goal deficit in Sunday afternoon’s final regular-season home game against Soo, but a late third-period score by the Eagles sent the Tomahawks to a disappointing 4-3 loss.
    Soo (24-27-7) erupted for three unanswered goals in a six-minute span to open the second period before the Tomahawks (28-25-5) pulled within one heading into the third and subsequently tied it at 5:53 of the final period on a blast from inside the right circle by Matt Meier.

    March 23, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads