The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Tomahawks

April 3, 2013

Tomahawks planning on short series

JOHNSTOWN — No offense hockey fans, but the Johnstown Tomahawks aren’t planning to play a home game in front of a potentially sold-out, sure-to-be-raucous crowd Sunday afternoon at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

The goal for these Tomahawks, who qualified for the NAHL playoffs in their inaugural season in the Flood City, is to win two games at Port Huron (Mich.) starting tonight and advance in the best-of-3 North Division play-in series.

The first team to two wins advances to the North Division semifinals. Port Huron finished fourth in the division. Johnstown finished fifth.

“It’s definitely a goal to take the first two games and get into the next round,” said Tomahawks captain Mitch Kontny. “If we do get back home, at least we know we’ll be playing in front of our fans in the deciding game, but we want to take care of business at Port Huron.”

Game 1 starts at 7 p.m. with the second game of the series scheduled for Friday night. Game 3, if necessary, would be in Johnstown at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s very exciting to be where we’re at in our first year,” Tomahawks coach Jason Spence said as the team bus traveled toward Michigan on Wednesday. “We have a plan, and our plan doesn’t have it ending any time soon.”

Executing the plan against Port Huron (32-24-4) won’t be easy for Johnstown (27-21-12), which posted a solid 14-10-6 road record during the regular season.

The Fighting Falcons won six of eight meetings during the regular season.

“They’re a similar team to us. They use their speed and play physical,” said Kontny, whose 21 goals led the franchise. “We had a lot of difficulty against them, and we can’t get caught up playing their game.”

Part of Port Huron’s game is taking advantage of even the slightest mistakes.

“They were opportunistic,” Spence said. “We played a lot of close games. At the same time, there were chances we didn’t cash in on. We’ve got to find a way to get under their skin.”

If Johnstown plays the way it did during the final two weeks of the regular season, it should get to Port Huron.

The Tomahawks went 3-1 during the final two weeks and outscored opponents 11-5 during that stretch. They’re also healthy. Kontny is back after missing one game with a knee injury as is Casey Nelson, who was out with a shoulder injury.

“We’re ready to go,” Spence said. “We’re healthy. We’re playoff-ready.”

That includes primary goaltender Chris Truehl.

The 6-foot-3 Truehl sports a goals-against average of 2.33 and a .923 save percentage in 38 games (32 starts). His 17 wins lead the Tomahawks.

“I couldn’t be more happy with our goaltending, our defense and our forwards though we’d like to be scoring more goals,” Spence said. “We’ve been playing really good hockey of late, playing it the right way.”

And playoff hockey means the playoff beards.

The Tomahawks are growing them, and players have taken things another step. They’ve died their hair blonde in a show of team unity.

“It was something fun to do before the playoffs and we hope it transfers to the ice,” Kontny said. “I’d say Andrew McDonald probably looks the best out of all of us because his hair is normally blonde anyway.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Tomahawks
  • Intense camp ends for Tomahawks

    July 28, 2014

  • Tomahawks Camp - Eckenrod Local players in camp with Tomahawks

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Letizia Tomahawks hand reins to former assistant

    Introductions? Orientations? Neither was necessary when the Johnstown Tomahawks named their new head coach on Tuesday morning.
    The new guy in charge handled the job for the past month and has been part of the organization since the North American Hockey League team moved to Johnstown in 2012.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAHL coming to Connellsville

    The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Port Huron Fighting Falcons are reactivating and relocating their membership to Connellsville.
    The team will be renamed the Keystone Ice Miners and will start play next season.

    May 10, 2014

  • spence Tomahawks decide not to renew coach’s contract

    Rick Boyd didn’t look forward to his conversation with Jason Spence on Monday.
    The Johnstown Tomahawks general manager and the NAHL organization had made a difficult and potentially unpopular decision to not renew Spence’s contract as the Tomahawks coach.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Spence, Jason Tomahawks won't renew Spence's contract

    The Johnstown Tomahawks will not renew head coach Jason Spence’s contract for the 2014-15 NAHL season, the team announced on Tuesday.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ‘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

Poll

Do you think pet obituaries should be included with death notices?

Yes, my pet is considered a member of the family.
No, pet obituaries are inappropriate.
Pet obituaries should be placed on a different page in the newspaper.
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads