The theme of the weekend was Pink at the Rink.
But many of the players who left the Cambria County War Memorial Arena ice during a wild third period Saturday night might have been black and blue.
The Soo Eagles broke open a scoreless game with two goals in both the second and third periods to blank the Johnstown Tomahawks 4-0 in front of 2,184 fans.
It’s a safe bet people here won’t be talking much about Michael Covach’s hat trick or Eagles goaltender Tyler Marble’s 30-save shutout.
Instead, the 39 penalties – 20 by Johnstown and 19 by Soo – and 182 total penalty minutes certainly created a buzz.
“Our guys didn’t lie down,” Tomahawks coach Jason Spence said. “They worked. But you know that idea of playing tough and playing stupid, it’s a fine line. We kind of pushed that line today.”
The Tomahawks had 111 penalty minutes. Johnstown lost three players to game misconduct calls and one to a match penalty. Add a couple of 10-minute misconducts handed out late in the third period, and the home team’s bench was mighty short during crunch time.
“We’ve just got to be disciplined,” said Tomahawks captain Mitch Kontny, who twice came close to putting his team back in the game but hit the post each time – the second clang coming on a third-period penalty shot. “Even if the refs aren’t going perfectly good, we’ve just got to stay out of the box. They’re calling it both ways.”
The crowd appreciated the Tomahawks standing up for one another during the contest. The multiple fights and skirmishes drew the usual enthusiastic response.
But the tough play couldn’t overcome great individual efforts by Covach, who scored Soo’s first three goals, with two of those on the power play, or Marble, who often frustrated the home team on solid scoring chances.
“We were undisciplined,” Spence said. “I thought the officiating was terrible. But we didn’t score any goals. Our team was definitely frustrated, but we have to overcome that. This is a good lesson for our team.
“Things don’t come to you. You have to take them. We had some chances on the power play. We didn’t click.”
Johnstown was 0 for 10 on the power play; Soo, 2 for 8.
“The thing is, when you don’t score any goals you’re not going to win any hockey games,” Spence said.
Covach scored goals. His first came with the man advantage 1:26 into the second period.
His second, at the 5:06 mark, was impressive.
“I got the puck and it was a one-on-one. I got it at the red line,” said Covach, who has nine goals. “I faked like I was going to shoot on the net at the top of the circles. Then, the defense kind of stopped his skates. I went around him, faked a shot on the goalie, got around him and put it in the back of the net.”
The game halted some momentum the fifth-place Tomahawks built in the NAHL North Division. Soo is 8-4-3 with 19 points, and Johnstown is 6-5-4 with 16.
“Johnstown played a great game and they’re a great team,” Marble said. “The North is really tight and every game is going to be a battle. This is huge for us. Taking three of four points on the road is always good.”
Soo now has points in nine straight games (7-0-2). Marble, who has seven wins, was key in handing Johnstown its first regulation loss on home ice. The Tomahawks brought a 4-0-1 home mark into the contest.
“The bounces weren’t going our way tonight,” Kontny said. “We have a big week of practice.”
The theme of the weekend was Pink at the Rink.
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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.
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.
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.
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The Johnstown Tomahawks will not renew head coach Jason Spence’s contract for the 2014-15 NAHL season, the team announced on Tuesday.
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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.
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.
’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.
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.
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.
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