The first weekend of the new season is in the books and the Tomahawks made a bit of history. That history? The 2015-2016 Johnstown team is the first Tomahawks team to win the first game of the season in franchise history. Back in their first season, vs. Port Huron, they did pick up a point in overtime but didn't record their first two points until the NAHL showcase.
In the first game of the season against the Wilkes/Barrie-Scranton Knights the Tomahawks fought back from down 2-0 to put on an offensive showing, winning 7-3. The following night things didn't go as well, as the Tomahawks fell to the New Jersey Titans, 5-2.
If you want game recaps, then head over to Johnstowntomahawks.com and check those out. This year we're going to try and do something a little different with weekend reviews. We're going to give our personal thoughts and feedback of the games, and give the team a grade on how well we think they played.
Offense - When you look at this years roster, it might be the most skilled team we've had yet. With that said, there are still many question marks and things that we'll have to see play out. One of those question marks we have is if the Tomahawks will be able to put up good offensive numbers.
There are guys on the roster that have decent numbers in the past, and hopefully with another season under their belt, they can perform even better than before.
Then there are guys that have shown the skills to be able to put up some decent numbers, but haven't done so yet.
One of those guys is returning forward, Joe Delandro. Last season, Delandro appeared in 11 games for Johnstown, scoring one goal and one assist. In two games so far this season he has one goal and one assist. Delandro probably isn't going to put up a ton of points, but if he can contribute now and then, it'll be an added bonus for a guy who has great size and plays a good checking game.
Another question mark, in our eyes, who played last season for the Michigan Warriors is, Anthony Parruccia. Parruccia had a good training camp and found himself playing top minutes in the Tomahawks' first two games of the season. He's a '95 birth year player, meaning this is his last season of juniors for him. Last year for the Warriors, he played in 39 games, scoring only five points. In the first two games this past weekend, Parruccia found himself on the score sheet a total of four times.
One more point and Parruccia will tie his numbers from last season. Everything he does beyond that will be a great addition to our roster. If Parruccia continues his solid play in Johnstown's line up, he'll be one of our best free agent pick ups of the offseason.
In Wilkes-Barrie, things didn't start off pretty, but once Johnstown got to it's game, they were dominate. They controlled the play and held the Knights in their zone for most of the game. When the opportunities arose, they didn't hesitate to take advantage.
The same couldn't be said the next night in New Jersey. Though the game was close for most of it, Johnstown never seemed to get to the game that they had played the night before. We can't be to critical about things just yet, as this was only the first two games of a 64 game season.
All in all though, the Tomahawks should be good offensively this season. Other guys that made a good impression on the offensive side of things this weekend were: Andrew Romano, Dalton Hunter, Brendan Jaquay, Cameron Smith, and Dante Suffredini.
Defense - After going 1-1 in the first two games of the season, and only allowing three goals in the first game, you can't really be too upset with the defense, no matter how many goals were given up the following night (five, by the way). When you look deeper into the goals given up you'll see that two of them on Saturday night came on the penalty kill.
Logan Hudson, might be the new team captain but he was still playing his same old game, and doing it very well. Hudson found himself in the middle of a couple scraps over the weekend, defending teammates who had been victoms of bad hits.
Hudson, with the gloves on, also played solid defense, with an overall +3 raiting on the weekend.
A newcomer on the blue-line that really impressed us was another former Michigan Warriors' player, Ryan Burr. Burr is wearing number 24 this season, and a few times reminded us of Tomahawks' alumni Alex Jaeckle, who of course wore the same number. It seemed like Burr never left the ice this weekend, as he saw himself playing top minutes. The only time he wasn't on the ice was in the second game vs New Jersey, when he was sitting in the penalty box after racking up 17 minutes in penalties stemming from a fight he had in the first period.
Burr had one assist over the weekend, but what's more impressive was his skating ability. We don't really remember him that much from Michigan, but that can be seen as a complement. When you don't notice a defensmen that can be because he's doing his job and not making mistakes. He did a good job this weekend as well, and the only reason we noticed him so much over the weekend was because he seemed to be in the middle of every play. That's not a bad thing.
Standing at 6'3 and 196 pounds also makes him a very visible player out on the ice just based on his size.
As a team, Johnstown is a +1, scoring 9 goals and allow 8 on the young season. You can't be too mad about that, even if one of the games they gave up five goals.
Goaltending - Currently the Tomahawks are carrying three goalies on their roster. Over the weekend, two of the three goalies saw action.
In game one, Jake Gwillim took the net for the Tomahawks. At the start he seemed a little shaky and gave up two first period goals. After that, Gwillim shut the door and didn't allow another until very late in the third period, when the game was already in the win column for Johnstown.
Gwillim faced 31 shots and turned away 28 giving him his first win of the season, and a save percentage of .903. Remembering back to our days in school, a 90% was good for an A.
The next night, rookie Camden Burggrabe was in net to take on the New Jersey Titans. For him, the night didn't go so well, as he gave up all five goals to the Titans. It was tough to say how he played since the cameraman on Fasthockey didn't really know how to operate a camera and keep it focused on the action.
With that said, five goals on 31 shots, just isn't quite good enough, evident of his save percentage of .839. For those not to familiar with hockey, a save percentage of .900 or above is where you want to be at. Now, as with everything about these first two games, we're not going to get super excited with the win, and we're not going to get extremely upset over the loss. I mean, we've only played two games so far.
Burggrabe already has a college commitment to D1's Northern Michigan University, so we're chalking up this loss as just that, a first loss. Now Burggrabe has a game under his belt at the tier two junior hockey level and he can relax a bit for his next start.
Power Play - We're not going into great detail with this or the Penalty Kill simply because it's too early to make a judgement on special teams. Overall Johnstown went 2 for 12 on the power play, with a goal in each game. That's 16% good for 10th in the league.
Penalty Kill - The Tomahawks were on the penalty kill 11 times over the weekend, 8 of which vs New Jersey. They allowed two goals, vs New Jersey. If Johnstown kills those two off they only loose, 3-2. Then again, if the game was only 3-2, Johnstown might be able to come back and find a way to win.
The penalty kill has to be get better and judging on how they've done in the past on the PK we believe that'll happen.
Overall - It's great to enter the NAHL showcase already with a win and tied for first place in the East Division. Now, it's all about improving on their game from this past weekend. There was a lot to like from these first two games, and some questions as well, but after two games, we're okay with the results.
The Showcase starts Wednesday, where the Tomahawks will play four games in four days against out of division teams.
Note: Players that didn't play in either game this weekend were: Zak Galambos, Tommy Horn, Kelly O'Brien, and Nick DeSimone.