The adage – as Johnstown Tomahawks coach Jason Spence affirmed after his squad’s 2-0 loss to the Janesville Jets on Friday at Cambria County War Memorial Arena – is that you can’t win if you don’t score.
While the Tomahawks came up short on the scoreboard, they weren’t short on chances. It was just the efforts of Logan Halladay that kept the Janesville net spotless.
Even when it looked like the Tomahawks had Halladay in a precarious position, pucks were sent high, wide or brushed away by Janesville defenders.
“We missed some nets,” Spence said. “Missed some opportunities. We didn’t get to the areas ... We didn’t capitalize when we should have.”
Halladay made 27 saves as he helped the Jets draw within five points of the Tomahawks for third place in the NAHL’s North Division.
“Logan’s been very good for us,” Jets coach Joe Dibble said. “As a (player born in) ‘96, he’s done some things that I don’t think a lot of people expected him to do. That just goes to show what type of kid he is.”
Having lost four straight – dating back to a Feb. 22 loss to Wenatchee – the Tomahawks’ task is to rebound with eight games remaining on the ledger. All of them against division opponents.
“We gotta simplify things,” Spence said. “Play a gritty, hard-nosed, simple hockey and we’ve gotta win more battles than the other team.”
For the Jets, getting that first win in Johnstown that pleased Dibble.
“Jason does an unbelievable job with this team over here,” Dibble said.
“They’re a great club. This organization is first class. Coming here to take two points was something that we had set in our minds, because last year we came here and got swept. We didn’t want that to happen again.
It’s a tough atmosphere, it’s a tough place to play.”
Within 8 seconds of having a power-play opportunity expire, Janesville opened its output when Zach Avolio sent a puck past Johnstown’s Alex Okicki in traffic at 7:28 of the first.
Truman Gonzales and A.J. Duggan were credited with assists.
“He just kind of did a spin-o-rama and threw it on the net,” Dibble said of the goal. “He caught Okicki a little off guard, he caught everybody off guard. It was just so quick.”
The Jets’ second goal came with the man advantage when Drew Callin controlled a pass from Adam Winborg at the goal-line and pushed the puck past Okicki at 10:38 of the second. Tyler Rehm also assisted on Callin’s marker.
“Getting bodies to the net in high-traffic areas when you have to get pucks in there and look for rebounds,” Dibble said. “The biggest thing is just making a few plays, moving the puck around and make their penalty-kill run a little bit and then collapse them and bring pucks to the net. We had a little of success with that.”
Okicki stopped 20 shots in the loss while being denied his 20th win of the season.
Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.