The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 1, 2012

Watt powers Tomahawks past Wenatchee in OT

Eric Knopsnyder
eknopsnyder@tribdem.com

WENATCHEE, Wash — The Johnstown Tomahawks traveled nearly 2,500 miles for the first game of their biggest road trip of the season, but the North American Hockey League team didn’t show any signs of jet lag on Friday night.

Andrew McDonald netted two goals and Jordan Watt scored 53 seconds into overtime to lift the Tomahawks to a 4-3 victory over the Wenatchee Wild.

The Tomahawks (12-6-6) have now won five straight games and are 5-0-1 in their past six road contests. Coach Jason Spence’s team couldn’t have face a much tougher test than the Wild (16-4-1), who are in second place in the NAHL’s Western Division and were 7-1-0 at the Town Toyota Center entering Friday night.

It was the first meeting between Johnstown and Wenatchee, but the two cities and franchises do share some common ties. The Wild eliminated the Alaska Avalanche – which eventually relocated to Johnstown and became the Tomahawks – from the NAHL playoffs last season. Wenatchee also has ties to the Flood City, as the Wild initially were linked to a move to Johnstown, but the city – which will field a team in the British Columbia Hockey League next year – could not work out a deal with the Canadian league in time for this season.

Johnstown took the air out of an announced crowd of 2,237 quickly, as Andrew McDonald scored off a feed from Zach Wallace a little more than two minutes into the game.

Wenatchee eventually tied it on a beautiful goal from Jacob Barber off a nice pass from Brian Williams. Chris Kerr also had an assist on the play.

Barber gave the Wild the lead early in the second period, but McDonald shifted the momentum back to the Tomahawks with a shorthanded goal midway through the period. Cody Gylling assisted on it.

Johnstown captain Mitch Kontny put his team up 3-2 with an unassisted goal 2 ½ minutes later, but Barber’s third goal tied it at 3 early in the third.

Tomahawks goalie Chris Truehl, who made 34 saves on the night, kept the Wild off the board the rest of the night, including a couple of outstanding stops.

Notes: The Tomahawks will play the Wild again tonight before leaving for Fresno, Calif., where they play a two-game set with the Monsters next weekend. … Tomahawks coach Jason Spence, a former Johnstown Chief, was hit in the face by a loose puck that came onto the bench during the first period. He was bleeding, but kept coaching throughout the period and eventually got the bleeding stopped.