September 17, 2013

Johnstown Tomahawks' 2013 NAHL Showcase Tournament Preview


By Tami Knopsnyder 2013 Copyright
The Johnstown Tomahawks got the season underway last weekend, and it didn't go the way they wished, as they were swept in two games by the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.

Now the Tomahawks hit the road to play the next seven games on the road. Four of those games will take play at the NAHL Showcase Tournament in Blaine, MN.

Last season, in Johnstown's first year, it took until the Showcase Tournament to get their first win in franchise history. This year they'll look to the tournament once again for their first win of the 2013-2014 season.

The first game will take place Wednesday (9-18-13) vs. the defending NAHL Robertson Cup Champions, the Amarillo Bulls, at 8:15pm. You can watch this game, and every other regular season game over at FastHockey.com

On Thursday Johnstown will battle against the Topeka RoadRunners at 4:30pm.

Friday the Tomahawks' will face off again the Aberdeen Wings, with puck drop set at 10:30am.

The Tomahawks will wrap-up the tournament vs. the Bismarck Bobcats at 9:30am.

Let's learn a little more about the NAHL Showcase, then we'll look back at last years games. We'll then take a look at the Tomahawks' opponents a little closer, see what our North division rivals will be facing off against, and then we'll wrap things up with some updated stats from the Port Huron series.

So grab yourself a cold beverage and something tastey to eat and we'll get started.

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NAHL Showcase Tournament:

If you love hockey and are able to go to Blaine, MN you just might feel you've died and gone to heaven, as there will be a ton of hockey played in a short period of time. Here's an excerpt from NAHL.com:

For scouting purposes, the five-day event from September 18-22, 2013, in which all 24 NAHL teams play four regular-season games, is a can't-miss for every NCAA program and NHL team as they get their first look at some of the best and brightest hockey talent North America has to offer.
Located in the northern Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Blaine, Minnesota, the Schwan Super Rink is the largest ice arena of its kind in the world. The state-of-the-art facility, a $21 million project totaling over 300,000 square feet, features eight sheets of ice under one roof. With all its varied amenities and services, the Schwan Super Rink is absolutely unique in the world of ice sport facilities.

The North American Prospects Hockey League's (NAPHL) first event of the season, will again be played in conjunction with the NAHL Showcase Tournament. Entering its 5th anniversary season, the NAPHL is made up of 32 teams, 16 Midget Major and 16 Midget Minor that compete at the Tier I level.

Traditionally, the NAHL Showcase Tournament attracts over 5,000 people in overall attendance, including more than 300 NCAA, junior and professional scouts. With the continued inclusion of the NAPHL, the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) and the Upper Midwest High School Elite League that total is expected to reach close to 10,000 this year.

Not only do you want the Tomahawks' to win as many of their games as possible, you want the players to play as well as possible because there is a great chance of them making college commitments.

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Johnstown Tomahawks' NAHL 2012 Results

Brookings 4 Johnstown 2 Boxscore
Johnstown 6 Kenai River 5 SO Boxscore
Johnstown 4 Austin 5 OT Boxscore
Johnstown 3 Corpus Christi 5 Boxscore

2012 Tournament Record: 1-2-1

The first win in team history came against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The goalie in net for Johnstown was Chris Truehl. Cody Gylling was the only player to score in the shootout.

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Getting to Know the Amarillo Bulls

The Bulls joined the NAHL for the 2010-2011 season after competing in the CHL (Central Hockey League) for nine seasons prior.

Since joining the NAHL the Bulls haven't had a losing season and have compiled an amazing record of 128-30-7-13.

So to say that the Bulls are a good team would be an understatement.

Amarillo have a few additions to their lineup for this season that are familiar to Johnstown fans and players.

Brett Szajner played 52 games for Jamestown last season.  Brendan Vetter and Kyle Gattelaro both join the Bulls after spending last season for the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.

2013-2014 Amarillo Bulls Roster

This will be Amarillo's first game of the season. This is the first time that Johnstown and Amarillo have played each other in franchise history.

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Getting to Know the Topeka RoadRunners

The Topeka RoadRunners joined the NAHL for the 2007-2008 season. Like Amarillo, Topeka has yet to have a losing season, and have an all time record of 245-75-12-20. Last year they had a record of 39-14-2-5 which was good for second in the south division, behind division leader, the Amarillo Bulls.

The RoadRunners have only one head coach in their history, Scott Langer.

The RoadRunners had two former Tomahawks' players play for them last season. Brandon Brossoit and Codey Hansen. Both players finished the season with the RoadRunners but aren't back this year due to being over age.

This is the first time Topeka and Johnstown will play each other in team history.

The RoadRunners are currently 2-0-0 this season.

2013-2014 RoadRunners Roster

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Getting to Know the Aberdeen Wings

The Wings have been in the league only three season, as this will be their fourth. In three previous season, they've only had one winning season. That winning season came in 2011-2012.

Adberdeen's assistant coach is Francis Anzalone. His father Frank Anzalone coached the Johnstown Chiefs for two season. Francis himself coached several youth hockey teams in the Johnstown area and held several camps in Johnstown before taking the assistant coaching job with Aberdeen earlier this off season.

That's not the only person with local Johnstown ties. Mike Grattan is a Johnstown native and is currently the Wings' Head Scout and Director of Player Development.

Aberdeen beings their season at the Showcase tournament.

2013-2014 Wings Roster

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Getting to Know the Bismarck Bobcats

The Bobcats have been a part of the NAHL since 2003. They have one Robertson Cup Chapionship to their name, which was won at the end of the 2009-2010 season.

Last season they finished with a record of 35-16-2-7, good for second place in their division.

The Bobcats are coached by Layne Sedeive, a former goaltender who played one professional season after attending Bemidji State University.

This is the first time the Bobcats and the Tomahawks will meet in franchise history.

The Bobcats have yet to play a regular season game this year.

Tyler Dunagan who played for Jamestown last season now plays for the Bobcats. In 60 games last season for the Ironmen he registered 37 points (22 goals, 15 assists).

2013-2014 Bobcats Roster

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North Division Schedule

Soo:

Sept 18- Bismarck 7:45pm
Sept 19- Fairbanks 1:30pm
Sept 20- Topeka 1:15pm
Sept 21- Rio Grande Valley 9:15am

Springfield:

Sept 18- Fairbanks 10am
Sept 19- Odessa 4:30pm
Sept 20- Minot 10am
Sept 21- MN Wilderness 12:15pm

Port Huron:

Sept 18- Austin 5pm
Sept 19- Minot 1:15pm
Sept 20- Lone Star 4:45pm
Sept 21- Corpus Christi 9am

Michigan:

Sept 18- Brookings 4:30pm
Sept 19- MN Magicians 10:15am
Sept 20- Austin 8pm
Sept 21- Minot 12:30pm

Janesville:

Sept 18- Aberdeen 4:45pm
Sept 19- Kenai River 8pm
Sept 20- Bismarck 1:45pm
Sept 21- Amarillo 12:45pm

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Johnstown Tomahawks Player Stats:

click on images to enlarge






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Final Thoughts:

After each game we'll post a game review and then we'll post a Johnstown Tomahawks' Showcase Review on Juniorhockey, Monday.

It's not going to be easy but if the Tomahawks can find a way to stay out of the penalty box they'll give themselves a better chance of winning.

This is a great time for the team to come together, gel on and off the ice and get on the winning track.

Of course it would be great if the team goes 4-0 in the tournament, but I think if they can manage to go 2-2 it'll be a nice set up going into Soo, in two weeks.

Since the game are away and we'll be in front of our computers we will provide Twitter and Facebook updates during the games.

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