September 3, 2016

Tomahawks Beat New York Apple Core 5-2 (Thoughts)

The second night of pre-season NAHL hockey action saw the Tomahawks beat the New York Apple Core, 5-2. For the second straight night Johnstown fans packed the stands to catch some September hockey.

Speaking of fans packing the house tonight, I think we can all agree this was the biggest fan sitting in the bleachers.

Kinda weird to have a huge industrial fan just sitting on the bleachers, but whatever.

Tomorrow afternoon the Tomahawks will play their last pre-season game, once again vs the Apple Core. This time they'll take their community hockey tour to the arena in Ebensburg, Pa a sister ice surface of the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

The Apple Core play at a Tier 3 level, while the Tomahawks play in the only Tier 2 league in the United states. Given this fact, and that the Apple Core had a record last season of 6-31, Johnstown's chances of winning this game looked to be in their favor.

Johnstown had a two goal lead for most of the game, until New York tied it in the third period. Once again, for the second straight night, Johnstown blew its two goal lead. Luckily, the team didn't get down on themselves and quickly regained the lead and then pulled away with the win.

For tonight's game there were two negatives. The first, I already touched upon. Blowing another two goal lead. The second was the penalty minutes. At one point in the game, Johnstown had to kill a 5 on 3 for over three minutes. This lead to New York scoring their first goal of the game.

In total, Johnstown racked up 54 penalty minutes (compared to New York's 19). To be fair though, 40 of those minutes went to Tommy Horn in one play.

For those not in attendance, Horn laid a huge hit by the penalty box, sending the Apple Core player falling awkwardly into the boards. Without hesitation, a New York player challenged Horn to a fight, which Horn accepted. The fight was pretty one-sided with Horn getting the win.

When the dust settled Horn was penalized for the following:

5 - Fighting
5 - Boarding/Hitting from behind
10 - Fighting Misconduct
10- Helmet Removal
10- Game Misconduct

While trying to kill off Horn's boarding major, Tomahawks d-man Andy Iehle received a five minute major penalty for a hit along the far side boards.

If you want, as most fans in the crowd did, you can blame the ref for the high penalty total. The Horn hitting from behind call was questionable. Iehle's wasn't, at least from our angle.

The Good:

- Chris Rupp, who played in his first game of the weekend, netted two goals for the Hawks.

- Reily Doyon scored another goal. That gives him five points in two games. Going to be fun watching him play this season.

- Joey Kile and Patrick O'Neal also scored goals for the Tomahawks.

- In goal was newcomer Britt League (pretty awesome name if you ask me) who turned away 18 of 20 shots.

- Vs the Knights in Greensburg, the Tomahawks' d-men made some very bad plays with the puck. Tonight, that wasn't the cause and Ian Kwant made some really nice plays stripping men from the puck in the third period.

- Sammy Nardicchio sat in the penalty box a few times for the Tomahawks. In the third period he had to go to the sin bin after throwing an Apple Core player into the Tomahawks' bench. Nardicchio, who looked like he was playing with some grit out there, racked up 126 penalty minutes last season when he played for the Islanders Hockey Club of the USPHL Premier league.

Note: Tomahawks currently have three goalies on their roster. Glander (played Friday), League (played tonight) and Vinnie Purpura will play tomorrow afternoon.

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