March 24, 2014

Johnstown Continues Playoff Hunt with Two Games Left In NAHL Regular Season

Tami Knopsnyder 2014 copyright
The Johnstown Tomahawks needed a big weekend, and they were able to put together two solid wins to remain in the playoff hunt.

All three games this weekend saw the Tomahawks fall behind only to battle back and win two of the three games. On Sunday, after being down 3-0, the 'Hawks tied the game in the third period, and things looked to be headed into overtime.

With less than two minutes left though, Soo regained the lead and ultimately came away with two points.

The first team in the North Division was official eliminated from playoff contention. After losing to the Tomahawks on Saturday night, Soo's playoff hopes ended.

One week left in the NAHL regular season, and three teams (Johnstown, Janesville, and Springfield) will all be battling for the last two playoff spots.

We'll take a look at the scenarios in a few minutes but before we do, let's look back at the three games this weekend.

On Friday night, the Tomahawks went into the third period down 3-2. During their seven game losing streak, the Tomahawks didn't score more than two goals in a game and now found themselves having to find a way to score..

Luckily Johnstown's scoring finally came to life as they scored four straight third period goals to win the game 6-3.

---Okicki picked up the win making 23 saves on 26 shots.

---Tomahawks got goals from, Recktenwald, Watt, Hall, Linkenheld, Reinholz, and Cuckovich.

---Mitch Hall also had three assists in the game for a season high four point night.

---Johnstown went 5 for 5 on the power play.

On Saturday night things were tied 2-2 towards the end of the third period, when Johnstown took the lead at 16:46 from a goal scored by Matt Meier.

It looked like the Tomahawks were going to pull off a win only to see the Eagles tied the game back up at 17:44.

The game went into overtime and then into the shootout.

Johnstown's first shooter, Tyler Basham was able to beat Soo's netminder Paige Skoog.

Alex Okicki shut the door until the fourth round when Matt Menta was able to beat Okicki and tied the shootout at one.

Mitch Hall then regained the lead with a beautiful move.
Tami Knopsnyder 2014 copyright

Okicki made the last save in the shootout and gave Johnstown the shootout win. The loss knocked the Eagles out of playoff contention.

In a twist of bad luck, Okicki got hurt making the last save in the shootout and had to be carried off the ice.

As of right now he's day-to-day.

Johnstown got regulation goals from Tyler Basham and Jordan Watt.

Mitch Hall had two assists in the game.

Okicki made 38 saves on 40 shots, picking up his 21st win of the season, a career high for Alex. The 21 wins is also a Tomahawks record for most wins in one season by a goaltender.

The win was Johnstown's 28th of the season. Last year Johnstown finished with a total of 27 wins.

On Sunday with Okicki barely able to skate due to his injury, Brett Young made his fifth start.

Johnstown and Soo played a scoreless first period. In the second, Soo came out on fire and scored three straight goals.

After Johnstown called a timeout to regroup, the Tomahawks got back to their game, netting the next three.

Reinholz, Recktendwald, and Meier all scored for the Tomahawks.

Things seemed to be headed into overtime, but Soo scored the game winning goal with only a minute-thirteen left to play.

Young made 35 saves on 39 shots in the loss. Young is still looking for his first win of the season.

Johnstown was 2 for 6 on the power play.

Mitch Hall had an assist in the game as Dakota Menslage had two assists.

Johnstown now has an overall record of 28-25-5 good for 61 points. That  currently points them in fourth place, one point behind Janesville for a third place tie.

Mitch Hall had seven points this weekend. If he isn't named the North Division star of the week, we'll be shocked.

Hall is third in the NAHL in defensemen scoring. How he doesn't have a college commitment yet has us scratching our heads.

Johnstown 6-3 F (boxscore, Press Release)
Johnstown 4-3 SO (boxscore, Press Release)
Soo 4-3 F (boxscore, Press Release)

Playoff Picture:

This upcoming weekend Johnstown heads to Janesville for the last two games off the regular NAHL season.

Before Janesville takes on Johnstown, they'll play one game on Tuesday vs. the Springfield Jr. Blues.

So how can Johnstown clinch a playoff spot?

If Janesville can beat Springfield in regulation, then Johnstown only has to get two points to clinch a playoff birth.

Springfield then plays their last two games vs. Soo.

If Springfield wins on Tuesday and get's two points, that'll give them 60 points. One point behind Johnstown.

If Springfield sweeps Soo, Johnstown must get three out of four points vs Janesville.

Basically we'll have a clearer picture of what needs to happen after Tuesday night's game.

We'll make another post on the blog after that game to break down the playoff scenarios better.

Easiest way to do things is for Johnstown to get all four points vs Janesville and then they won't have to worry about what Springfield does.

The anticipation is going to kill us.

Current Standings:

Home Attendance:

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you'll have seen our attendance numbers. Compared to last year, the attendance is down, but only slightly.

If you think about it. No HUGE promotions, there was NHL this season, and a heavy schedule of home games at the beginning of the year, the attendance numbers look pretty good, at least to us they do.

We didn't factor in the NAHL's showcase numbers into the attendance. Two of those games were considered "home games". If we did, this years final numbers from give Johnstown an average of 2,514. Last year we had an average of 2,527.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Player Stats:



Anonymous said...

It's frustrating knowing how good this team could have been. If the Tomahawks would have played hard every game for 60 minutes, they would be fighting for first place, rather than just the last playoff spot.

Anonymous said...

It was a bad time of year to drop seven in a row. Hopefully, they can make it into the playoffs. AJB

Jon Kohan said...

2-10 in this last twevle games of the season. We can all agree that's just terrible.

But let's try and have a positive look on things. They got into the playoffs, and now they can go on a good winning streaking when it really matters now.

Go 10-2 now, and bring home a championship.