October 29, 2014

TheTomablog Will Go On Partial Hiatus Beginning Immediately

After much consideration I have decided that Thetomablog.com will go on partial hiatus beginning immediately and last indefinitely.

I have several reason's why I have made this decision. One of the reason's is because of other creative opportunities I'm working on that is starting to take up more of my time. Another reason I'll share with you now. When I first started this blog I did it because I was already tweeting a lot about the Tomahawks and wanted to do something more than just tweet. 

Doing simple searches I found a lot of news and things that the team was up to that the local news wasn't reporting, nor was the team itself. I thought a blog would be a great way to share these stories and more.

I have run the blog adding to it in some way everyday since Feb 2013. There has been some help from people along the way but 99.9% of the work has been written/created by myself. Running a blog of any type takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of passion. They say "find something you love and you'll never work a day in your life". I find this to be very true. Sure, running the blog has been a ton of work but it's something I have loved to do, so I never had a problem with it.

Recently though it's become less fun and felt more like work. There's no one reason why it's turned this way, it just has. Instead of saying this is the end of the blog I'd rather just say I'm taking a break from it. Maybe it'll be for a week. Maybe it'll be for a month. Maybe it'll be longer. Right now I'm not sure.

I won't be taking a complete break from it. I'll still update the Alumni page every week. After every home game I'll update the Attendance report, and I'm still working on putting together "Slap Shot: Then and Now Part 2". Any BIG breaking news I'll tweet it to all my followers and Facebook friends as well. But as for Weekend Previews, Game Reviews, and other content, you won't be seeing anything new posted for a while.

The blog has reached over 100,000 views, and a lot of great followers on Twitter and Facebook. I didn't want to just continue producing content that wasn't as good as it could be just because it was time to post something new.

It has taken a ton of work to gain all my readers and by taking a break from the blog it means the blog will definitely lose some of those followers and readers, but I still think this is the right thing for me to do at this time.

I didn't have to post this message but decided any hardcore readers deserves to know why there won't be any new content for a while.

For any team news other than what I'll still be updating on the blog please check NAHL.com, Johnstowntomahawks.com, and the Tomahawks official Twitter and Facebook pages.

I'll still be attending all the games cheering on the Tomahawks and keeping a close eye on the team, I'll just be taking a break reporting on them for a while. Hope everyone understands.

Let's Go 'Hawks!

Jon Kohan a.k.a. TheTomablog

October 24, 2014

Tomahawks First Home Game of Season Tomorrow Night (Weekend Preview)

The Johnstown Tomahawks have played nine regular season games so far this season but tomorrow night will be the first time the Tomahawks will play a home game at the War Memorial Arena.

Johnstown will take on the Keystone Ice Miners on Saturday night and then travel to Connellsville on Sunday for this weekend's home and home series.

Johnstown and Keystone have played each other one time so far this season. The game was the first of the season in Connellsville, where the Ice Miners picked up the victory, 5-4.

The Tomahawks will be on the road again next weekend vs the Soo Eagles, so if you've been missing live hockey, this is your only chance to see it until November 7th when the Hawks are back home vs the Warriors.

Johnstown will be without goaltender Jake Gwillim as he was traded to the USHL. This leaves the Tomahawks' currently with only Ryan Bednard as their goaltender. You can read the whole press release here.

Johnstown comes into this weekend playing the least amount of games, nine, in the north division, with a record of 4-5-0, which is tied for last place. Keystone has played in thirteen games and have a record of 6-6-1, good for third place.

The Ice Miners made a trade this week adding Tommy Horn to their roster. Horn before this season, played with several of the Tomahawks' players with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. This season for Rio Grande, Horn played in five games scoring one goal.

Matt Jones leads Keystone in scoring with eight points on the season. In net Alex Blankenburg has made the most starts with ten. In those ten games he has a record of 4-5-1 and a save percentage of .902.

For Johnstown, Alex Jaeckle leads the team in scoring with eight points in nine games. Ryan Bednard, the only goalie currently on the team's roster has a record of 2-3-0 with a save percentage of .871. Bednard played in net vs the Ice Miners the first time these two teams played against each other this season.

North Division Scoreboard:



Coulee Region



Coulee Region



The NAHL this season is doing a show on their website called "Inside the NAHL". Here's the first episode:


October 23, 2014

Gwillim Moves to USHL

MUSKEGON, Michigan (October 23rd) – The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced a trade with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in which the organization has obtained Goaltender Jacob Gwillim in exchange for future considerations.  With the addition of Gwillim, the Lumberjacks have reached the league-mandated maximum number of 23 players allowed on the active roster.
Gwillim, the Swartz Creek, Michigan native, appeared in four games for the Tomahawks this season posting a 2-1-0 record to go along with a 2.90 goals-against average and .918 save percentage after signing an NAHL tender during the middle of last season.
Prior to playing the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Gwillim spent two seasons from 2012-14 with the Lansing Capitals Midget Minor and Major teams compiling a 20-9-0 record to go along with a 1.81 goals-against average, .930 save percentage, and two shutouts in 31 appearances.
During the 2011-12 season, Gwillim helped backstop the Compuware Bantam Major squad recording a 12-2-1 record in 15 appearances while establishing a 1.75 goals-against average, .902 save percentage, and three shutouts.  In addition, Gwillim spent two seasons from 2009-11 with the Compuware youth hockey program appearing in 57 contests and notching a 33-11-8 record accompanied with a 1.86 goals-against average, .812 save percentage, and 12 shutouts.
The Lumberjacks return home this weekend with a pair of games against the rival Green Bay Gamblers tomorrow and Saturday at 7:15 pm, respectively.  Saturday’s game features “Trick-or-Treat with the Jacks” presented by 107.9 WMUS FM “The Moose” that includes costume contests and a special postgame Trick-or-Treat skate with the team for all ages.
To purchase tickets and take advantage of our discounted advance game day prices, fans can stop by the L.C. Walker Arena Box Office during the normal business hours of 10:00 am – 6:00 pm on Monday – Friday or call (231) 724-5225.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary Season as proud members of the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and the leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States.  The Lumberjacks’ organization prides itself on developing not just premier hockey talent, but also exceptional young men outside the arena of sports.  For more information, visit www.muskegonlumberjacks.com.  Muskegon Lumberjacks Hockey – A Cut Above!

October 13, 2014

Johnstown-Michigan Exchange Shutouts in Split Weekend

The Tomahawks shutout the Warriors on Friday night by the score of 4-0 only to the Warriors shutout the Tomahawks the on Saturday night 3-0. Johnstown is now 2-2 vs the Warriors this season. This was the last game on the road before their first home game on October 25th. This upcoming weekend Johnstown has another off week. It'll be their last off week until Christmas break.

We watched the game on Friday night and the team looked solid for the whole 60-minutes. We missed Saturday night's game so we can't really say if they played badly or not. Sure they were shutout, but Ryan Wischow has only allowed three goals in three games, so it can't be all blamed on Johnstown's offense.

Here are some links from the two games this weekend. Can't wait to finally see a game at the War Memorial Arena. 

Tomahawks 4-0 F Boxscore
Warriors 3-0 F Boxscore


---Bednard picked up his first shutout of his NAHL career.

---Gwillim suffered his first loss of the season.

---Jaeckle scored a goal an assist this weekend giving him a team leading eight points. This is also a career high for Jaeckle as he scored seven points last season in thirty-five game.

---Tomahawks released goalie Brett Young prior to this weekend's pair of games against the warriors.

October 9, 2014

UPDATED: Tomahawks vs Warriors Game Preview

The Johnstown Tomahawks are back in action after having last weekend off. Just like the last time they were on the ice, Johnstown will travel to Flint Michigan to take on the Michigan Warriors. After starting the season 0-5, Michigan has won their last 3 of 4 giving them a record of 3-6 on the season. Johnstown comes into the game with a record of 3-4, which is good for six points. Six points in seven games is the best start to a season Johnstown has had so far in the brief history.

(This is the last away game before the Tomahawks head home on October 25th to take on the Keystone Ice Miners at the War Memorial)

These two teams have only played against each other twice so fair this season. In the only pair of games between the two teams, Johnstown and Michigan split, with Johnstown  winning the first game, 2-1, and Michigan winning the following game, 4-1.

Michigan comes into the game with the 14th best power play in the league, 7-for-43. Johnstown comes into action with the 15th best power play at 6-for-38.

On the penalty killing side, Michigan is 21st in the league, 77.8%. Johnstown is 18th in the league killing 79.5%

Players to Watch:

Alex Jaeckle: Coming into the weekend series Johnstown has four players tied for the team lead in points. Romano, Barnes, Recktenwald, and Jaeckle all have six points.

Jaeckle, on the season, has one goal and five assists with a plus two rating. Last season Jaeckle appeared in 35 games for the Tomahawks before missing the rest of the season due to injury. In those 35 games he had a total of seven points (two goals, five assists).

Jaeckle, who is one of three players on the current roster with a college commitment, is already having a solid year for the Tomahawks, both on the offensive side and defensive side of the puck.

Look this weekend for Jaeckle to continue with his exceptional play and tie (and pass) his junior career point totals, as Johnstown looks to bring home four big points in the North Division standings.

Garrison Sanipass: For Michigan's player to watch you can look upon a familiar face. Sanipass is second on the Warriors team in scoring, only one point behind Tyler Groat for the team lead. Sanipass was traded along with Ivan Osko two weeks ago to the Warriors for draft picks and other considerations.

Since changing locker rooms, Sanipass has seen his game take off. Last season with Johnstown, Sanipass played in a total of 40 games. In those 40 games he scored one goal and assisted on two others. This season he played in 2 games for Johnstown, and didn't have any points.

Now with Michigan, in only five games, Sanipass has six points (two goals, four assists). He also has a plus two rating.

Sanipass helped Michigan pick up their first win of the season, when he scored the game-winning goal against his former team two weeks ago in Michigan's 4-1 Saturday night win vs the Tomahwks. In that game he also had two assists.

Last weekend vs Keystone he had a goal and two assists helping the Warriors sweep the Ice Miners in Connellsville.

UPDATE- Bednard Makes College Commitment

Ryan Bednard has made his college commitment and will join his brother at the D1 ranks with Bowling Green State University. We haven't seen any official press release but Ryan did tweet about his college plans and he's also listed on NAHL.com as making the commitment. Congrats to Bednard. He joins, Alex Jaeckle and Connor Eckenrod as players who currently have college commitments on the Tomahawks' roster.

Current Standings:

Player Stats:



North Division Scoreboard:


MN Wilderness

Coulee Region



MN Wilderness

Coulee Region





October 1, 2014

Tomahawks' Lead League in Fighting Majors During September

Fight during 2012-2013 season (Tami Knopsnyder)
During this past offseason USA Hockey made a rule change concerning fighting. Fighting is still allowed in USA sanctioned junior hockey but the penalty for dropping the gloves has become more severe. When two players drop the gloves and solve things with their fists they'd always get five minutes for fighting. This season they still receive the five minutes for fighting but now they are also given a ten-minute misconduct penalty.

The reason USA Hockey made this adjustment was that they wanted to cut down on player injuries relating to fighting. They also saw the physical differences between the 20 year-olds in the league and the 16 year olds just coming into the league, and how lopsided and dangerous a fight between the two types of player could turn into.

So USA Hockey put in place the extra penalty to try and cut down fighting in junior hockey, while leaving it in the game for the instances where a fight has to happen. Well, so far into the young NAHL season fighting is down. As of 9/30/14 there has been a total of 10 fighting majors (five fights) in the NAHL. This is compared to last season when there was a total of 88 fighting majors in the first month of the season. Oddly enough, the league's most penalized team, the Johnstown Tomahawks (211 penalty minutes on the season) has been involved in three of those five fights.

The first fight in the league not involving the Tomahawks happened on September 19th between the Minnesota Wilderness and the Wichita Fall Wildcats. In the third period Austin Hingtgen (Wildcats) fought Billy Exell (Wilderness). Both players received the mandatory five minutes for fighting and ten minute misconduct penalties. Both players also received minors for slashing.

The other fight not taking place in a Tomahawks' game also involved the Wilderness, this time vs Fairbanks. Wilderness' Ivan Chukarov was given five for fighting and a game misconduct because the fight happened with less than five minutes in the game. Fairbanks did not get penalized for a fight in the scrum. Tommy Hall, now part of the Wilderness, picked up a roughing penalty on the play as well.

The three other fights in the league have happened during Johnstown games.

The Tomahawks got into their first fight at the NAHL Showcase vs the Austin Bruins late in the game. Zach Zech fought Brady Jones with about two minutes left in the game, which at that point had Austin winning 8-2.

Zech picked up 39 penalty minutes in that game, 37 of them because of the fight. Picking up extra minutes for instigating and removing his opponents helmet. This lead to a four game suspension for the first year Tomahawks' forward.

The second fight for the team was vs Odessa, which also happened in the NAHL Showcase. In the second period, Logan Hudson was jumped by Jake Hamilton after Hudson laid a huge hit on an Odessa player at the red line. Jake Hamiton got a game misconduct for instigating the fight.

The third fight of the season came against Michigan this past weekend on Saturday night. In the first period Johnstown's Dakoda Menslage fought Cam Jorgensen. Menslage picked up an extra minor on the play for cross checking.

Ten minute misconducts are up this season from this time last year. Last year in the month of September there were 38 ten-minute misconducts handed out. This year there was 42. Major penalties, not counting fights are also up this season. Last year there was five (1 spearing, 2 helmet removal/face mask, 1 head contact, and 1 slew foot, ). This year there has been nine (1 high stick, 1 boarding, 4 helmet removal/face mask, 2 head contact, and 1 kneeing).

One penalty that is down, which we thought would be up since there's less fights are checking from behind penalties. Last year after the first month of the season there was a total of 63 minors, double minors, and majors called for checking from behind. This year those calls are down, with 50 being called.

Teams and players have to be smarter this season in when/if they fight. Instead of sitting in the box for five minutes, you're now out of action for almost a whole period. Though it doesn't count as a power play opportunity, having someone out for a whole period does leave you with a shorter bench.

Do you think the fighting changes have made the game better or worse. Do you think it's cleaned it up or do you think we'll see more major penalties due to more players taking liberties? Let us know what you think, either making a comment here or on our Facebook/Twitter page.