There were no shutouts in tonight's game, but there were goals, big hits, and heated exchanges.
Johnstown got on the board first only 3:51 into the first period after Trevor Recktenwald picked up some lose garbage in front of the net and beat Colin Brennan with the shot. The assist went to Tyler Basham.
After Johnstown's first goal, Soo would storm back scoring the next three in a row before the period ended.
Right before Soo took the 3-1 lead, Dakoda Menslage dropped the gloves with Soo's Filip Winkler. Winkler had the upper hand early in the fight, but Menslage quickly turned the fight to his side, finishing Winkler off with 100 uppercuts.
In the second period Johnstown picked up the hitting and upped their speed. This led to Johnstown carrying most of the play during the second period, and had Soo doing everything they could to hold onto their lead.
After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, Joe Drabin skated down the ice and once at the top of the right faceoff circle, fired a shot over Brennan's glove, making the game 3-2 Soo.
Still placing a lot of pressure on Soo, Jordan Watt skated hard with the puck towards the net. He quickly shot the puck and then ran into Brennan, making him fall to the ice. This lead to a major pile up in the goal crease as both Soo and Johnstown players came to their teammates' rescue.
During the scrum, Omar Mullan and Ryan Urso found themselves battling with each other. When things dyed down the penalties were dished out. Watt received a two minute charging penalty. Urso was given a Game Ejection. The boxscore indicates it was for unsportsmanlike conduct. At the arena it was announced via the PA system as a Game Ejection for an Ethnic Slur.
Johnstown tied the game up half way through the second period from another goal from Joe Drabin. The assists went to Mitch Hall and Brady Bender.
In the third period both teams exchanged scoring chances and though the hitting continued, both teams stayed disciplined. A little over five minutes left, Soo broke the tie off a fluky goal from Mike Sabatini. The puck seemed to hit Sabatini's skate and sneak through Okicki's five hole.
The Tomahawks' mounted good pressure and even pulled the goalie, but it's wasn't enough, and Soo was able to hold on to the 4-3 lead for victory.
The game was over, the physical stuff wasn't over just yet. When the buzzer sounded, Bednard and another Johnstown player had a Soo player tied up by the net. As the Soo's bench emptied, a player went over to Bednard and celebrated in his face. Bednard pushed him, and a small fight began.
The Tomahawks already off the bench, noticed, and all skated down to the Soo's end. The officials did their best to keep the teams separated. Soo players were cheering a little more harder just to see if they could get under Johnstown's skin.
Trevor Recktenwald looked to try and head towards Brennan who was making gestures "good bye" to the Tomahawks. Recktenwald was grabbed by a linesman before anything could continue. Both teams jawed at each other till both teams left the ice.
The ref didn't call any penalties on the play. Most likely because the game was already over. However, if he would have handed out fighting majors, they would have come with automatic suspensions, as the NAHL has a rule about fighting with less than five minutes to go in a hockey game.
We understand why Brennan was happy and decided to celebrate a little more than he would have any other time. He just picked up another win vs. the team that released him. We get it. With that said, he acted like he had just won the Stanley Cup, World Series, a Gold Metal, and the lottery all at the same time.
We found it a little over the top, and the Tomahawks' player seemed too as well.
Johnstown - Trevor Recktenwald (Tyler Basham) 3:51
Soo - Jacob McDowell (Bruno Birzitis) 5:00
Soo - Denver Pierce (unassisted) 5:59
Soo - Ryan Urso (power play) (AJ Jarosz) 14:58
Johnstown - Joe Drabin (Brandon Reinholz) 4:05
Johnstown - Joe Drabin (Mitch Hall, Brady Bender) 10:05
Soo - Mike Sabatini (Jeremy Norway, Jacob McDowell) 14:45
Johnstown was 0 for 2 on the power play and Soo was 1 for 4.
Johnstown outshot Soo 29-23.
Colin Brennan picked up the win. He's now 4-2-2 on the season.
Alex Okicki got the loss and he's record is now 6-5-0.
Johnstown is back in action next weekend at home to take on the Port Huron Fighting Falcons, Saturday and Sunday.