Your fourth place Johnstown Tomahawks will do battle against the league's third best team, the Wenatchee Wild. Puck will drop at 7:00pm at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where the team is averaging 2,383 fans a game.
Before we do our little breakdown of the game, let's check out some important links.
- Suzanne Grove of the Tomahawks has the official Game Preview for this weekend.
- Mike Mastovich has a great article in the Tribune Democrat today about tonight's game and how Wenatchee's owner and the Johnstown ownership has worked closely with each other this year.
- Mike Gosnell from Juniorhockey.com has his weekend preview and who he'll be scouting during these next two games.
The last time these two teams met, Johnstown was riding a four game winning streak. Coming into this match up, Johnstown is 1-2-2 in their last four games.
Jordan Watt will look to continue his hot hand from last weekend vs the wild tonight. In his last two games he has four points (1goal, 3assists).
Playing both games last time vs Wenatchee and being the better goalie as of late, Chris Truehl, will look to improve his record which is currently, 13-8-4.
Boyd and Fairchild might be seeing themselves in the box a couple times tonight since the Wild lead the league in fighting majors and are our "go to" tough guys. Wenatchee has three players with over a hundred penalty minutes. (Noah Nelson 158, Chris Jones 138, and David Mead 103.)
This will probably also be a game where any scrums after the whistles, JB Baker will be right in the middle trying to give his team the extra edge.
Of course we keep bringing up this fact, but McDonald now hasn't registered a point in his last nine games. This season vs Wenatchee he has one goal and three assists, so hopefully he can have the same type of weekend again and get right back into the swing of things. This season Mcdonald is scoring on almost 20% of his shots. He needs to just keep things simple and throw pucks on net and good things will happen for him, and the team.
For the Wild, Robert Nichols will most likely be in net. On the season he has a record of 27-6-3, a GAA of 1.96 and a save percentage of .916. Nichols played both games vs Johnstown this season. Nichols has an impressive record and GAA but Wenatchee as a team doesn't allow many goals (98 all season, 2nd best in the league). Yet Truehl has a better save percentage by .001. This tells me that if Johnstown can get close to around 30 shots, they might be able to put a few past this goaltender. This season though, the Wild are only allowing an average of 23.32 shots per game.
Three Keys to the Game:
1. Keep it Simple- You're not going to beat Wenatchee playing fancy hockey. They are a great road team with a record of 15-2-1. This is the type of game where you're going to see if Johnstown has the heart to win. Win battles in the corners, make the simple play out of the zone, throw everything at the net, and use the body all game long to try and wear down the Wild defensemen.
2. Capitalize on your chances- There have been games this season when the Tomahawks have had wide open nets and just haven't been able to find a way to put the puck in the net. Tonight if faced with an open cage, the Hawks' must find a way to bury the puck. Wenatchee doesn't make many defensive mistakes so when they do you've got to make them pay for it.
3. Don't lose focus- Tonight is most likely going to be a hard hitting, playoff style of hockey. The team must focus on the task at hand and the points up for grabs. If there is a cheap hit, or if there is somebody on the Wild running their mouth, the Hawks' must control themselves and realise the biggest damage they can do is beating them on the scoreboard. Taking bad penalties or one shift off will come back to haunt Johnstown if they do.
Other Division Games:
Next weekend the Tomahawks will host the Fresno Monsters, last night the Monsters played Jamestown and lost 7-4. The two teams battle again tonight.
Fresno at Jamestown 7:00
Springfield at Michigan 7:05
Port Huron at Soo 7:35