December 28, 2017

In-Depth: Where Are They Now (2013-2014) Alumni Update

This is the second article in our six part series about every Johnstown Tomahawks' alumni. Each post we're looking at a different Tomahawks team. This post we check out the 2013-2014 Johnstown Tomahawks, the 2nd year team.

Just like the first post which looked at all 37 players from the 2012-2013 season, we'll be breaking this list into three categories. Players that, as of 2017-2018, are still playing hockey, guys that have made it to the pro ranks, and guys that are no longer playing.

We'll cover every player, from the most well known, to guys who played just one game with the team.

The 2013-2014 season saw a total of 42 players appear in at least one game for the Hawks. Some of the players listed where also listed in the 2012-2013 team. For those players, they'll be listed again here, but with a link to the other article if you'd like to find out more information about them.

This was the last team Jason Spence coached. After this season, in which the team finished with a record of 28-27-2-3, the team decided not to extend Spence's contract. Assistant coach, Mike Letizia was promoted to head coach and has been the team's head coach since since the 2014-2015 season.

If I have something wrong, or you have additional information on a player(s), please feel free to comment below, e-mail ( or tell me on TheTomablog's social media (Facebook Twitter Instagram) so I can update the information.

Thank you to the few readers who did just that for last week's article!

Let's get started.

No Longer Playing

Cody Gylling

We covered him during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Dakoda Menslage

We covered Dakoda in the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Zachary Wallace

We covered Zachary in the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Shane Cuckovich

Shane was a solid defensman during his time in Johnstown. His last season of junior hockey saw him bounce around the NAHL playing for a total of three teams, including the Tomahawks.

Cuckovich was an assistant captain for the team in 2014-2015 but only played in eight games for Johnstown before he was traded to the Wenatchee Wild on November 7, 2014.

Cuckovich is currently a college student at Oakland University (since 2015) where he's studying mechanical engineering. 

Brady Bender

Bender spent two season with the Tomahawks and was the team's captain in his second season. Bender was more of a defensive defensman and put up the same point totals in both seasons.

His plus/minus rating dropped severely from his first year to his second, though the 2014-2015 season was the worst season the Tomahawks had until this currently season. It was also Mike Letizia's first year as the head coach of the Tomahawks.

Bender played division three hockey after his time in Johnstown but only for one year.

Collin Finkhouse 

Finkhouse spent most of his time in Johnstown in-and-out of the lineup. 

He would move on to play division two hockey at Grand Valley State University where he studied mathematics and general finance. 

He currently lists on Facebook that he's working at Magna International. 

Forest Donovan 

Donovan only played a half of season with the Johnstown Tomahawks. He was a 2013 NAHL draft pick of the Johnstown Tomahawks. He was picked in the 6th round, 131 overall, and the Tomahawks' third pick (out of six) of that year's draft.

He's currently attends UC Berkley and will be a 2019 graduate.

Ryan McNeely 

Only played in eight games for the Tomahawks after being acquired from the Minnesota Wildnerness in exchange for Jaycob McCombs.

He was released by the Tomahawks on December 22, 2013. From there he'd played for the Phoenix Knights before moving on to college hockey.

Griffin Leach 

Leach only played two games for the Tomahawks before the team transferred him to the NA3HL's Sugar Land Imperials on 9/23/2013.

Eric Hewitt 

It's not shown on his stats below, but Hewitt played two games for the Tomahawks during the 2013-2014. Both games were away while the team was visiting the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. Hewitt did not register any points but was a plus 1.

I can't tell you anything more than that as Hewitt never played a home game. After playing the two games on 1-31-14 and 2-1-14, Hewitt was officially released by the team on 2-12-14.

Logan DeJong 

DeJong was listed as an affiliated player for the Tomahawks and saw action in two games for the team. Just like Hewitt, both of the games he played for Johnstown took place on the road at Port Huron, this time in the middle of January.

Connor Gilmartin 

Gilmartin saw limited time in Johnstown, having only played in a total of four games where he didn't register a point. 

He was released by the team on 12/22/13.

As you'll see down below, he did turn pro after his junior hockey career when he played two games for Lippe-Hockey-Hamm, a team based in Germany. That only lasted a total of two games.

Trevor Heuser 

Heuser first came to the Tomahawks during the 2012-2013 off-season, when Johnstown traded Ian Spencer to the Corpus Christi Ice Rays, a team that Ian Spencer would not play for.

Heuser only played seven games for the Tomahawks before he was released on 12-7-2013. After begin cut by Johnstown, he rejoined the Ice Rays and played three more season with the team before aging out.

Zach Geiger 

Geiger might be one of the only players to play more than a handful of games for the Tomahawks and not register any points. 

The most memorable moment of Geiger's time in Johnstown was when he was involved in a line-brawl that took place before the opening faceoff. That game happened on 1-25-14 as the Tomahawks hosted the Michigan Warriors at the War Memorial Arena. In total, Geiger picked up 15 of his 22 penalty minutes during that pre-game fight. Cody Bentzel was the other Tomahawks player to drop the gloves on Johnstown's side.

Both Bentzel and Geiger were thrown out of the game because of the fight. You can see the boxscore of that game here. The Tomahawks would lose the game by the final score of 4-2

Still Playing

Jake Houston

Houston spent parts of three seasons with the Tomahawks, though he only played one full season in 2014-2015 for the team.

He joined Johnstown in 2013-2014 for four games after being called up from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18, a team that the Tomahawks have recruited several players from throughout the years.

After playing three games for the Tomahawks in 2015-16 he was traded to the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL. 

Currently in his second college year, Houston plays for Ohio University, a Division III hockey program.

Alex Okicki

If you were to rank all the goalies that the Tomahawks have had in their six year history, Okicki would easily be in the top five for Johnstown.

Before he joined the Tomahawks he played for the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings who's last year in the league was Johnstown's first year in the NAHL.

Being familiar with Okicki, the Tomahawks signed him to their team during the offseason when all of Kalamazoo's players were allowed to sign to other teams, since the K-Wings were no longer a team.

Okicki only played one season for the Tomahawks as he was aging out at the end of the season. Out of the 60 game regular season, Okicki played in 42 games for Johnstown, posting a record of 21-15-3 and a save percentage of .918.

21 wins in one season was a Tomahawks goalie record that would last until last season when Drew Hott posted 24 wins for the Tomahawks. For Tomahawks starting goalies, Okicki's save percentage is second best behind Truehl's save percentage of .923.

As you can see in the stats below, Okicki would go on to play college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for three seasons before transferring to Kent State University this season. Both school's programs are DIII.

Tyler Basham

Basham is another player that spent only one season in Johnstown before aging out and heading on to college hockey. Unlike most of the Tomahawks' alumni, Basham, a Canadian native, went back home to played college hockey in Canada.

Basham is in his fourth year with Simon Fraser University. He's put up good scoring numbers at Simon Fraser being a point-a-game player for two seasons and coming close to those totals in 16-17.

Shane Bednard

Shane was a player that attended one of Johnstown's pre-draft tryout camps and was so impressive that the team tendered him to make to make sure they didn't miss out on him and lose him to another team in the NAHL draft.

Bednard only played one season for the Hawks before he moved up to the USHL (the highest level of junior hockey in the United States).

Bednard's 51 points with Johnstown in a single season ranks him 5th in team history for that many points in one season. At the time, it was a record setting amount as he passed Gylling's single-season point total of 45 the year prior.

While he was a big point producer in juniors, he hasn't been at the college level. There are several factors on why that might be the case. How much ice time he's getting. What his role on the team is. The list could go on.

It'll be interesting to see if Bednard makes the jump to pro hockey after his DI college career is over. Currently he's in their junior year.

Matt Meier

Meier along side Bednard gave the Tomahawks a deadly combo back in 2013-14. Rounding out that first line, from what I remember, was Joe Drabin. One of the Tomahawks most talented lines to hit the ice for Johnstown.

Meier is yet another player that only played one season for the Tomahawks. The following season he moved on to college hockey to play for Air Force. Meier played in 15 games for Air Force before leaving the school to go back to junior hockey, as he still was under 20-years-old.

Meier would play two full season in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers before returning to college hockey, this time at Bowling Green State University where he's currently teammates with four other former Tomahawks' players (Ryan and Shane Bednard, Niko Coffman, Casey Linkenheld).

Mitch Hall

We covered Mitch during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Brandon Reinholz

We covered Brandon during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Jordan Watt

We covered Jordan during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Joe Drabin

Drabin was a physical, scoring player for the Tomahawks that played two season with the team. In total he appeared in 113 games for the Tomahawks (tied for 7th most all-time) and scored 62 points.

Drabin played his last season of junior hockey in the BCHL for former NAHL team, Wenatchee Wild.

He's currently playing at SUNY-Plattsburgh a DIII hockey program where he's continued to put up the game type of numbers he did in his junior hockey career.

Trevor Recktenwald

Recktenwald was a solid player for the Tomahawks in his two seasons with the team. Point wise, Trevor saw an improvement from his first season to his second, scoring 19 more points and being the team's 2nd point leader (only behind Linkenheld who had 43 points in 14-15 season.)

Like Shane Bednard, Recktendwald hasn't seen the same success when it comes to point totals in college, playing for Ferris State, but just as I mentioned with Bednard, there could be several reasons why.

Josh Bowes

Bowes played two season for the Tomahawks and was a role player for the team. He was pretty consistent while in Johnstown, only seeing a two-point drop-off in his point totals from his first to second season with the team.

In college he's put up impressive numbers as a scorer with Endicott College a DIII program.

Tanner Barnes

Barnes joined the Tomahawks via a trade with the Wenatchee Wild which saw the Tomahawks part ways with, Omar Mullan. This was a trade that was beneficial to both teams. In total, Barnes would play two season for the Tomahawks, scoring a total of 42 points.

Barnes is in his second year of college hockey.

Casey Linkenheld

Linkenheld played three season's for the Tomahawks and was a very impactful player for Johnstown.

Linkenheld currently holds the record for Most Franchise Points All-Time in Tomahawks history, scoring a total of 101 points during his time in Johnstown.

The next closest player to Casey is alumni, Dalton Hunter, who scored 87 points during his time as a Tomahawks player.

Linkenheld also holds the records for Most All-Time Franchise Goals (45) and Most All-Time Franchise Assists (56).

Now at Bowling Green State University, Linkenheld has only played in 12 games during the past two season.

Cody Bentzel

We covered Cody during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Alex Jaeckle

Jaeckle, followed the same path as Shane Bednard and signed a tender with the team so the Tomahawks wouldn't run the risk of losing him in the NAHL draft.

Jaeckle played two seasons with Johnstown. He was a smooth-skating defensman with the team, while putting put a few points each season.

Jaeckle is currently in his third season playing DI hockey at Canisius college, where he was teammates with Cody Boyd.

Tommy Hall

Tommy, younger brother of former Tomahawks' defensman, Mitch Hall, played one season for the Tomahawks. After appearing in 29 games during the 2013-2014 season, Tommy would play only one game the following year before he was released.

He would be picked up by the Wilderness of the NAHL before heading to the NA3HL where he would finish his junior hockey career.

He rejoined his brother and several Tomahawks' alumni when he went to college to play for Hamline University. He's currently in his sophomore season with Hamline.

Garrison Sanipass

Sanipass was a big sized player for the Tomahawks standing at 6'5 230 lb.

He was returning for his second season with the team in 2014-2015 but only played two games before he and defensman Ivan Osko were traded to in-division rival the Michigan Warriors.

With the Warriors, Sanipass saw more success scoring 23 points in 54 games, as you can see below.

Sanipass currently plays DIII hockey with UMass-Boston where he's teammates with another Tomahawks' alumni, Dante Suffredini.

Trivia: Sanipass is the son of former NHLer Everett Sanipass.

Logan Hudson

Hudson was a tough defensman who was one of Johnstown's fan's favorite players in the history of the organization.

Hudson was also a captain of the Tomahawks during the 2015-2016 season.

He scored a goal in the 15-16 playoffs, in overtime, vs the New Jersey Titans that eliminated the Titans and sent the Tomahawks into the second round of the playoff's that season. That goal tied his goal total from the season, where he had scored one goal in 50 games.

Hudson holds the team record for Most Franchise Penalty Minutes All-Time having registered 412 minutes in 123 games. Tommy Horn is second with 262. 

He's also 4th All-Time in games played with 123 in a Tomahawks jersey.

Jesse Kessler

We covered Jesse during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Jacob McCombs

We covered Jacob during the 2012-2013 alumni article which you can read here.

Eric Tien

Tien only played in 11 games for the Tomahawks before he was released on November 11, 2013.

Cameron Smith

Smith had two stints with Johnstown. He appeared in two games during the 2013-14 season. He then returned during the 2015-2016 season after the team he was playing for the year prior, Keystone Ice Miners, folded at the end of the season. Several other Keystone players followed Smith to Johnstown as well. He then played in six games for the team last year before he was traded to the Northeast Generals for Evan Somoza.

Not shown below, Smith is playing this season with George Mason University, a DIII hockey program that plays games against UPJ. In 19 games he has 78 points (56 goals, 22 assists).

Tristan Ramage

Ramage, a former Tomahawks 2013 NAHL Draft pick (7th found) only played three games for the Hawks. He didn't have any points.

Ryan Bittner

Bittner is another player that only played in three games for the Tomahawks before being released. He had no points.

Collin DeAugustine

DeAugustine only played in five games for the Tomahawks before he was called up to the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms where he'd play three full seasons and earn a DI college commitment with Mercyhurst.

Brett Young

Young only appeared in eight games for the Tomahawks before he was released. In only one game, in 14-15, he allowed three goals on nine shots.

Jake Moore

When DeAugustine moved to Youngstown , Moore was sent to Johnstown. Though he went 5-5-0 during his time in Johnstown, his .912 save percentage was impressive.

Playing Pro Hockey



Omar Mullan 

Mullan came to Johnstown when the Tomahawks traded for him, sending Gylling to the Bulls. Mullan only played 29 games before he was then traded to Wenatchee later in the same season for Tanner Barnes.

I've listed Mullan under "other" as his current playing situation is not one I've come across before.

Mullan plays in in the Great Lakes Hockey League. Here's the info about this league, straight from the league's official website:

"All GLHL franchises are non-profit organizations organized by volunteer in their local communities. The teams compete in a 20-30 game regular season schedule starting as early as October and finishing as late as April each year.
The GLHL features players above the age of 18 who have college hockey, junior hockey, and semi-pro experience in other leagues. This provides a unique opportunity for players to continue playing hockey in a meaningful, competitive environment.
The league follows USA Hockey rules, with games featuring three 20 minute stop time periods. It is the ONLY traveling full check adult amateur hockey league in the United States."

So, as you can, it's not really pro, but he is still playing.


And there you have it. Updates from every player that played on the 2013-2014 Johnstown Tomahawks team.

Next alumni post I'll do an update for all the players that played for Johnstown during the 2014-2015 season, not including any players that I mentioned here.

If you'd like to follow my personal social media accounts you can do so at the follow: Facebook Twitter Instagram - IMDB

December 26, 2017

Samuel Solensky Heads to World Juniors and Don Hall Has Passed Away

The Johnstown Tomahawks will be without their top scorer for a couple of weeks as Samuel Solensky is participating in the World Junior Championships that are taking place in Buffalo, New York.

Solensky is playing for his home country of Slovakia in the annual tournament. We'll keep everyone posted on how Solensky does during the tournament along with his team.

The World Junior Championships U20 is a tournament made up of the best players around the world that are twenty years of age or younger. Having Solensky taking part is not only a great honor for him but something that the Tomahawks can be proud of as well.

Solensky played in the World Junior Championships U18 tournament two seasons ago (2015-2016) where he was the captain of team Slovakia. In five games he scored three points, all goals.

This isn't the first time that a Tomahawks' player has taken a leave of absence to play in the World Juniors. Last season, Filips Buncis was selected to play for his home country of Latvia. In six games, Buncis had a goal and an assist.

This year's tournament gets underway today, but Slovakia doesn't take the ice until tomorrow when they face powerhouse, Team Canada.

Good luck to Solensky as he and his teammates look to win gold.

The tournament runs from December 26, 2017 through January 5, 2018.


In sad news, Johnstown hockey legend, Don Hall, has passed away at the age of 87.

Hall is one of four players to have his number retired at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown hockey history. Alongside Hall's jersey are ones for Galen Head, Dick Roberge, and Reg Kent.

Hall played for the Jets from 1950-1962.

During this time he appeared in a total of 667 games. He scored 392 goals, 586 assists which was good for 978 points.

The Tribune-Democrat wrote about Mr. Hall's passing and you can find those articles here and here.

December 13, 2017

In-Depth: Where Are They Now (2012-2013) Alumni Update

The Johnstown Tomahawks are currently participating in their sixth full season of play in the North American Hockey League.

The Tomahawks first season in the league came during the 2012-2013. A total of 37 players wore a Tomahawks jersey during that first year. Some spent the whole season, while others only for a handful of games.

Whether they are well known names to Johnstown fans, or players you don't remember, today I'll be updating you on every single player that was on the Tomahawks roster during that historical first season.

This will be a containing series of blog posts that I'll try to upload once a week for the next six weeks, giving updates on every year's roster (though the format and how I do it might change).

The list is broken down into three categories: Guys who, as of the 2017-2018, are no longer playing hockey, guys still playing in juniors/college, and players who are now playing at some level of pro hockey.

Since the team we're looking at today took the ice for Johnstown six years ago, none of these players listed are playing junior hockey as they've aged out many season ago, and most, as you'll see, are almost finished with their college careers.

If I have something wrong, please feel free to comment below or tell me on TheTomablog's social media (Facebook - Twitter - Instagram) so I can update the information.

First let's look at players that are no longer playing hockey.

Cody Gylling

Gylling was a high-scoring player when he played with the Johnstown Tomahawks. He played one full season with the Hawks, scoring 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists). He then returned the following season, but only played in five games before he was traded to the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL.

In those five games in 2013-2014 with Johnstown he scored two points (one goal, one assist).

Gylling spent his last two seasons of junior hockey with the Amarillo Bulls where he would play a total of 107 games and score 86 points. He also became a more edgier player with the Bulls accumulating 198 penalty minutes.

Gylling then moved onto the college ranks where he spent one season playing for Arizona State University. In 25 games he scored six points (three goals, three assists).

2015-2016 would be the last time he played hockey.

Why he stopped playing hockey I could not find information on (just as was the case with everyone else).

UPDATE: Gylling now plays golf for ASU

Mitch Kontny

Mitch was the team's first ever captain.

He played one year for the Tomahawks and was a linemate with Gylling. He only missed one game all season for the Tomahawks. In those 59 games he scored 40 points (21 goals, 19 assists).

From 2013-2017 he played Division three hockey at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In four season he appeared in 103 games scoring 48 points (16 goals, 26 assists).

He is one of several players from the Tomahawks' first year team that has finished college but hasn't turned to the pro ranks to continue his hockey career.

Kontny lists on his Facebook page that he now works as a Sports Rehab Tech.

Jeff Bergh

Bergh played one season for the Tomahawks. He was a good offensive defensman for Johnstown and played in 49 games for the team. He had eight goals, 16 assists, good for 24 points and was a +1.

He joined Mitch Kontny at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and played four seasons with the team (2013-2017).

In 95 games he had 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists). His best seasons were in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 when he scored 13 points both times.

Like Kontny, his last season was last year.

Connor Wright

Wright is another player who only played one season for Johnstown before aging out of junior hockey. He played in 56 games for the Tomahawks and registered 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists). He also had 81 penalty minutes.

Remember, when the team first entered the NAHL players were only given five-minutes for fighting instead of the five-minute major and a ten-minute misconduct like the league started doing a few years ago. I mention this because if Wright (among many other players) played for the Hawks in more recent years, their penalty minute totals would be much higher.

Wright went on to play division one hockey in his hometown of Anchorage Alaska for the University of Alaska-Anchorage from 2013-2017, though in his first season (2013-2014) he didn't not play a single game.

In total, Wright played 33 college games, scoring seven points.

Last year was his last year of hockey played.

Zachary Wallace 

Wallace is one of a few former players who didn't go on to play hockey after his time with Johnstown was over.

Wallace played two season's for Johnstown after he was traded to the team from the now defunked Fresno Monsters.

Both season's with Johnstown, Wallace, played in 56 games, giving him a total of 112 in a Johnstown uniform. He had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) and was an impressive +15.

He married former Johnstown Tomahawks' front office staffer, Katie Saylor, back in 2016.

Here is a video of their big day from Youtube:

Wallace stopped playing after his two season's with the Tomahawks (2012-2014)

Brandon Brossoit

Brossoit didn't spend much time in Johnstown as he was traded to the Fresno Monsters as part of the Zachary Wallace deal.

In total, Brossoit played in 15 games for the Hawks and had 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

He would play in only seven games for the Monsters before he was traded once again, this time to the Topeka Roadrunners where he finshed his season.

He did not play again for a couple of years until the 2015-2016 season, when he played four games of division three hockey with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He didn't have any points.

That was the last time Brossoit played.

Cody Boyd

Boyd, the son of former Johnstown Chief, and General Manager of the Tomahawks, Rick Boyd, played one season for his hometown team.

Cody was a fan favorite as he played the same tough-guy role as his father had done many years earlier. In 55 games he had nine points (four goals, five assists) and 143 penalty minutes.

The next two season he played in the BCHL for the Coqutlam Express where he won a championship in 2013-2014 and the following year was an alternite captain on the team.

He then played two seasons of division one hockey at Canisius College. In 39 games he had one assist.

Last year was his last year of hockey played.

UPDATE: Currently lives in Texas

Jake Fairchild

Jake was another fan favorite because of his tough-guy approach when it came to playing defense.

Towards the end of the season, while playing against the Jamestown Ironmen, in Jamestown, Fairchild got into a fight with an Ironman player while still on the bench.

He only played one season for the Tomahawks, as he was traded during the following year's training camp to the Michigan Warriors, at the time one of Johnstown's in-division rivials.

In 47 games with Johnstown, Fairchild had one goal, six assists, and 210 penalty minutes, which in today's game would be closer to 400 minutes.

After playing the 2013-2014 season with Michigan, where he had five assists and 52 penalty minutes in 31 games, he went and played for Lindenwood University.

Spanning two season, he played 60 games and had 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) and 91 penalty minutes.

He hasn't played since the 2015-2016 season.

Cobi Smith-Mass

Cobi is another former Tomahawks' player who's career ended once his time in Johnstown did.

He played in 39 games, scoring five goals and one assist.

He missed a couple months of the season when he injured his shoulder during a fight in only the second game of the season.

Smith-Mass hasn't played since 2012-2013.

Mike Sandor

Sandor was a grinder from Canada who played in one season for the Johnstown Tomahawks. In 44 games he scored six points (two goals, four assists).

He spent the following four years at Simon Fraser University, a Canadian university. During his time there he played in 70 games and had 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists). His best season was in 2015-2016 when he scored 13 points.

His last season of hockey was last year.

Codey Hansen

Hansen only played in 13 games for Johnstown. He was another tough defensmen Johnstown had in their inaugural lineup. He had two goals and two assists with 58 penalty minutes during his time in Johnstown.

He was then traded to the Topeka Roadrunners where he played in 19 games. He had another two goals, two assists, with 134 penalty minutes.

He did not play college hockey.

Matthew Williams

Williams played 14 games with the Tomahawks after he was traded to Johnstown from the Coulee Region Chill. In those 14 games he had two assists.

The following year he attended Lake Forest College but only played in one game before suffering a cancer scare.

I wrote an article about his battle on the blog which you can read here.

Williams would rejoin the Tomahawks during the 2014-2015 season as an assistant coach. That was the Tomahawks worst season (until this year) and Mike Letizia's first year as head coach of the team. Williams as an assistant only lasted for that season.

UPDATE: Graduated from Western Michigan and now works for USA Hockey.

Matthew McLaughlin

McLaughlin  was a goalie who only appeared in one game for the Tomahawks. He had a save percentage of .750.

In the same season he played with the Queen City Steam (NA3HL) and Minnesota Flying Aces (NA3HL)

He did not play again (at least in a league with avalible stats and information) until last season when he played one division three game for Finlandia University. He posted a save percentage of .837.

He is not playing this season.

Bobby Tritschler

Tristschler is another player I can't really tell you much about as he only played in one game for Johnstown and didn't have any points.

He just finished playing four years at the University of Pittsburgh were he played in 113 games and had 97 points.

His best year coming last year, his final year, when he scored 35 points in 31 games.

UPDATE: Attends Pitt law school.

Gage Christianson

Christianson was a highly skilled player that for whatever reason, didn't get to show that skill with Johnstown.

Prior to coming to Johnstown, Gage played for the Alaska Avalanche in 2011-2012, the team that would move to Johnstown and become the Tomahawks. In 59 game he had 53 points.

When the team and Christianson came to Johnstown, Gage only appeared in three games for Johnstown, not registering a point. He was then traded to the Amarillo Bulls. In 50 games he would go on to score 51 points.

He then spent the next four season playing division three hockey for the Milwaukee School of Enginerring, where he continued to score. In total, he played in 84 games and had 79 points.

He has not joined a team since ending his college career last season.

Brandon Platt

Platt is another guy you might not remember as he only played in three games for the Tomahawks and didn't have any points.

The team traded him to the Texas Tornado where he played in 33 games and had 10 points (six goals, four assists).

He then played four season of division three hockey at Salem State College. He had 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games. He was made an assistant captain last season, his senior year, which was also his last playing season.

UPDATE: Graduated and now lives in Florida.

Payton Ruter

Ruter, play four games for Johnstown at the start of the season and while he had no points, he did have 15 penalty minutes.

After leaving Johnstown he joined the Fort Frances Lakers of the SIJHL where he played in 30 games (three goals, eight assists).

He did not play another season of hockey after that.

Jon Kostial

Jon's anther player with limited time in Johnstown. He played in five games, and didn't have a point. He also saw action with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EmJHL) where he had eight points in eight game, and the Three Rivers Vengeance (NA3HL) where he had a goal and an assist in seven games.

He did not continue to play after that.

Dakoda Menslage

Mensalge played in Johnstown for parts of three seasons from 2012-2015 before he was traded to the Odessa Jackalopes for Lane Valimont and Alex Alger, a trade that benifited both teams.

Dakoda spent 97 games in Johnstown, scoring 30 points, and 230 penalty minutes.

After being traded, he finished the year in Odessa and then returned the following season for 13 games before being traded to the New Jersey Titans.

For both teams after Johnstown, he did not have as much success like he did with the Tomahawks having only scored 14 point in 42 games.

Last season he appeared in 10 division three college games for the Wentworth Institue of Technology where he had seven points (two goals, five assists).

He is not listed as playing this season.

Bodhi Engum

Engum is the last player from the 2012-2013 roster that is no longer playing hockey.

He appeared in eight games for the Tomahawks and had a save percentage of .838. When the team brought in Chris Truehl and Colin  Brennan, this marked the end of Engum's time in Johnstown.

Since leaving Johnstown, Engum has not played for another team.

Back in 2013 I wrote an article about Billets, and Engum was one of the players talked out in the article. You can read that here.

Now it's time to report on players that are still playing hockey. All of these players are currently playing for various college hockey programs.

Jordan Watt

I already did an update on Jordan Watt last week when I listed him as one of the Tomahawks alumni who's having a great 2017-2018 season. If you didn't see that post, you can find it here.

Brandon Reinholz

Reinholz, another fan favorite during his time in Johnstown because of his toughness and scoring ability, is one of five former Tomahawks players that are currently playing at Hamline University.

Rienholz played two season for Johnstown. In 2012-2013 in appeared in 53 games, scoring 32 points and 126 penalty minutes. The following year he only missed one game, playing in 59 games and scoring 39 points, with 98 penalty minutes.

Starting in 2014-2015 he joined Hamline University, a division three hockey program. In his first year, his team was a championship.

In total, Bradon has played in 92 games and has 45 points. His freshman year was his best season, point wise, when he scored 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 29 games.

So far this season he has played in 10 games and has four goal and four assists.

Jesse Kessler

Kessler is another player that after finishing his junior hockey career decided to go to Hamline University.

Kessler played  58 games in his first season with Johnstown, where he scored 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) and had 73 penalty minutes.

He returned the following year to play in 16 games, but only had two assists before he was traded to the Minnesota Wilderness, where he finished the season with a goal and two assists in 26 games.

He then joined Reinholz and other former Tomahawks' teammates at Hamline University.

This season he's played in 10 games and has five assists.

Overall, in his four years at the university he has appeared in 92 games and has 55 points.

His best season was his sophomore year where he had 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 27 games.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew spent one season with the Tomahawks and came over with the team as part of the Wallace deal from the Fresno Monsters.

In 45 games, the speedy forward had 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists).

The following year, McDonald joined the USHL's Fargo Force where he played in 53 games and had 10 points.

He then join Bentley University, a division one school.

Including this season's games, he has played in 109 games, scoring 37 points.

This year he has three assists in 17 games.

Ian Spencer

Spencer played two different times with the Tomahawks. The first came in 2012-2013 where he played in 53 games scoring 21 points (five goals, 16 assists).

During that year's offseason he was traded.

He returned to Johnstown in 2014-2015 after a trade with Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. In 43 games he had three goals and 10 assists.

The follow year he'd head to Nichols College a division three school, where he's teammates with two other Tomahawks' alumni,  whom I'll soon talk about.

Counting this season as well, Spencer has played in 55 games for Nichols and has 26 points.

This year, his third season of college hockey, he has 13 points in 11 games.

JB Baker

Baker was a good player for Johnstown who had a nack of being able to drawl penalties. He played one season and appeared in 58 games, scoring 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists).

He was set to return the following season, but was traded one day before the Hawks first game of the 2013-2014 season. At the time it was said that compared to the other players on the roster, he was not up to par.

Well, Baker would spend three more season in the NAHL with Rio Grande and Topeka and showed he was a very capable player. His breakout season was in 2015-16 with the Topeka Roadrunners where he played in all 60 games and score 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists).

In two seasons at Nichols College he's been even more impressive, scoring 54 points in only 41 games.

This year, he has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 14 games.

Jaycob McCombs

McCombs spent parts of two seasons with Johnstown. In his first year he played in 42 games, and his second year he played in only six before he was traded to the Minnesota Wilderness. In total, he had 16 points during his time in Johnstown.

He's currently in his fourth season at Hamline University where he's played in 88 games, where he has 43 points.

This season he has played in ten games and has three assists.

His best year so far was his freshman year when he scored 21 points in 28 games.

Mitch Hall

Hall is yet another player that is playing for Hamline University.

Hall is one of the best trades the Tomahawks have ever made, as they brought him to the team in a deal with the Jamestown Ironmen.

Hall appeared in two seasons for Johnstown where he became one of the best offesnive defensman the Tomahawks have ever had.

In his second year with the team, he played in 59 games and scored 43 points (six goals, 37 assists).

He joined Hamline for the 2014-15 season and has 67 points in 84 games.

This year he only played in two games (two assists) before a leg injury shut him down for the long term.

This is one player I hope can recover from his injury and and gives it at a shot at the pro level. I think he'd be able to impress some people.

Cody Bentzel

Bentzel is the other alum who's playing for Hamline. There's yet another player (number five), but we'll get to him in a later post.

Bentzel was a defesive defensman who played two season for the Tomahawks. In 107 games for Johnstown he had 13 points, three goals and 10 assists.

At Hamline he's continued to play his style of game, scoring 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 90 games.

This season he has one assist in eight games.

Evan Hesse

Hesse only played in nine games for the Tomahawks before he was traded to the Brookings Blizzard.

In those nine games he had four points (one goal, three assists).

With the Blizzard he played two season (104 games) and scored 81 points (31 goals, 50 assists).

He's currently in his fourth year at Augsburg College, a division three school. In 84 games he has 38 points.

This season he's appeard in eight games and has two assists.

Joe Bender

Bender was a Mars, Pa native who saw action in six games with the Hawks here he only scored one assist.

Currently he's playing at Slippery Rock University enjoying his senior season. In total he's played in 102 games and has 129 points.

15 of those points (two goals, 13 assists) have come this season in 16 games.

Corey Schafer

Schafer was the second player of the Tomahawks first season to play for his hometown team. Boyd of course being the first.

He joined the team in a trade that sent Kristaps Bazevices to the Wichita Falls Wildcats. This was one of the worse trades the Tomahawks have made in their history because Schafer would only play in seven games for the Hawks (one assist) while Bazevices, well, I'll get to him in a moment.

The next two season, Schafer played for the Missoula Maulers of the WSHL were he scored 122 points in 84 games. He also had 227 penalty minutes.

He's currently in his third season at Becker College. He's played in 64 games and has 30 points.

This year in 15 games he's scored five goals, seven assists, which is good for 12 points.

Colin Brennan

Brennan played 22 games in net for the Tomahawks during their first year in the NAHL. He had a record of 7-8-5 and a save percentage of .906. He also had one shutout.

The following year he played 16 games for the Soo Eagles of the NAHL where he posted a record of 5-6-4, and a save percentage of .906. He also had one shutout with the Eagles.

Brennan is in his last season at Nichols College. He's played in 41 games, 24 of which came last season. He's 18-11-7 so far in his college career.

Nathan Morris

Morris was a towering d-man standing at 6 feet 7 inches.

He only played two games for Johnstown. He didn't have any points.

After leaving Johnstown he played in the T1EHL U18 for Russell Stover U18 for 23 games (5 points) and then the following year in the SJHL for the Weyburn Red Wings for 49 games (13 points).

He's now in his fourth season at Colorado State University, a division three school.

In 91 games he has 87 points but has not played a game this season, though he is listed on the roster.


Now we've reached the last three players from the 2012-2013 roster. These three players are the only  players from Johnstown's first season roster to have made it to the pro ranks.

Kristaps Bazevics

Played only 30 games with Johnstown before he was traded to the Wichita Falls Wildcats in exchange for Corey Schafer.

I called the trade bad because Kristaps would play two more full seasons with the Wildcats while Schafer only played seven games. Also, Kristaps had enough skill to be able to play pro hockey.

With the Wildcats, Bazevics played in 63 games registering nine points and 120 penalty minutes.

Bazevics did not go to college and instead turned pro, first overseas.

He played with Hermes Kokkola for 33 games scoring four points.

The following season he played for Ljubljana Olimpija HK in Austria. In 25 games he had 10 points.  Also last year he played 16 games in France for Gap HC where he had seven points.

This season he returned to North America and is playing in the SPHL for the Mississippi RiverKings. In 15 games he has eight points (two goals, six assists) which is second best on the team among defensman.

Chris Truehl 

Truehl was one of the Tomahawks best goalies in team history. He only played one season for Johnstown but had a record of 17-11-6 with a save percentage of .923 and one shutout.

He then played two season for Air Force Academy, before transfering and playing his last season for Quinnipiac University.

He had a college record of 29-29-7 with four shutouts.

This year he turned pro and signed with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads, but did not make the team.

He did find a team though overseas to play for; The Belfast Giants of the EIHL. He has appeared in one game so far, a record of 0-0-1 with a save percentage of .909.

Casey Nelson

We've come to the only player so far in Tomahawks history to reach the NHL.

Nelson played one season in Johnstown where he appeared in 56 games had had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists).

He then moved onto college and spent three season at Minnesota State University (Mankato). In 99 games Nelson had 60 points (14 goals, 46 assists).

He left college at the end of the 2015-2016 and immeditly signed with the Buffalo Sabres and played in seven games where he had four assists, eight penalty minutes, and was a +1.

The following season he split time with the Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans.

In 11 games with Buffalo he didn't have a point.

In 58 games with the Americans he had 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).

This season, Nelson has been called up to Buffalo several times but has not appeared in a game for the Sabres.

In 22 games so far with Rochester, he has nine points (two goals, seven assists) and is a +9.


And there you have it. Updates from every player that played on the first ever Johnstown Tomahawks team.

Next week I'll do an alumni update for all the players that played for Johnstown during the 2013-2014 season, not including any players that I mentioned here.

If you'd like to follow my personal social media accounts you can do so at the follow: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - IMDB

This year's Johnstown Tomahawks are on the road this weekend as they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Rebels for two games (Friday and Saturday).

The Hawks will then have next week off before coming back home to play the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on December 30-31.

Let's go Hawks!

December 11, 2017

Five Observations From WB/Scranton Series (December 8-9, 2017)

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Okay. Without further ado, here's Five Observations from Johnstown Tomahawks vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Series (December 8-9, 2017.

5. Horrible Call

On Friday night, the Tomahawks didn't look their sharpest. Tomahawks head coach, Mike Letizia, in the Tribune-Democrat even stated that he didn't feel the team played up to their caliber.

With that said, the Tomahawks still battled with the Knights and found themselves minutes away from overtime, tied at one goal each. Then, this happened:

Click to play

Just seconds after crossing the blueline, Knights' defensman, Shay Donovan, ripped a shot over Johnstown's netminder, Kade Phipps, to give the Knights a 2-1 lead, which would be the eventual game-winner.

What could have been a great weekend for the Tomahawks turned into just a good weekend, as they split the series with the Knights.

If not for that terrible call of no-offsides, the Tomahawks would have probably at least sent the game into overtime, picking up a point. With the terrible start the Tomahawks had to start the season, 2-12-0, every point matters now that we're officially halfway through the regular season, climbing for that last playoff spot.

To miss a call, a call like the one on Friday night, is just unacceptable.

But, what's really going to come of it?

The loss is already official. The linesman has already officiated another game.

All I hope for is that the league addresses this terrible call, and makes sure that this type of thing doesn't happen again. Though, if you remember, this isn't the first time the Knights got away with a non-whistled play that lead directly to a goal. Back in November this wasn't called a high-stick:

Seconds later, that same Knight's player would score on the breakaway.

Interesting note: Is the league testing out the four-man official system? Looking at boxscores from other games in our division, as I do to keep tabs on everything, I've noticed a lot of the games are featuring two referees. Oddly enough, the games in Johnstown, haven't. Make out of that what you'd like.

4. Solid In Net

The Tomahawks have been looking for that steady number one netminder all season long, and the way that new addition, Kade Phipps, has been playing, they might have found it.

After officially joining the team before last weekend's games, Phipps has started in net for Johnstown in four straight games. In those four games he has a record of 3-1-0 (that only loss coming on Friday night), a save percentage of .951, and one shutout.

Impressive is an understatement.

Both Jack Leavy and Britt League, while having played decently and having some games where they've each shinned, neither goalie, to this point, has shown consistency like Phipps has in his first four games with the team.

Leavy has appeared in six games with Johnstown and holds a record of 2-3-0, with a save percentage of .896.

In today's game, anything below .900 is troubling and even right at .900 it isn't as good as team would like it to be in this modern area of the game.

In the NAHL top 20 goalie save percentages of goalies who've at least played 10 games, number 20 ranked goalie, Josh Benson, from Fairbanks, has a .911 save percentage in 16 games. From there it only goes up.

Leavy is currently not ranked because he hasn't appeared in at least ten games this season.

Last season, while with Aston, Leavy had a save percentage of .921 in 20 games.

In his six games with the Tomahawks, Leavy has had three games in which he's allowed two goals or fewer. In his other three games he's allowed, 4, 5, and 6 goals.

For Britt League, he holds a record of 2-5-2 with the team's other shutout and a current save percentage of .889.

Six of the 11 games he's appeared in he's allowed three goals or less. In the other five he's given up between 4-6 goals.

League currently ranks 37th in the league in goalie save percentage.

I think it would be safe to say that Phipps will probably continue to start games for Johnstown until he has a bad one, or gets tired. With two games this upcoming weekend, then a week off before the New Year's Eve weekend pair of games, Phipps could be in net till the calendar turns to 2018.

3. Solensky Hot Streak Ends

This weekend saw Samuel Solensky's hot point streak end on Saturday night.

The night prior, it was Solensky's ninth goal of the season, only 1:59 into the game, that gave the Tomahawks their only goal of the entire game. With the point, it extended his scoring streak to eight games.

On Saturday, Solensky was held off the score sheet. With Samuel's talent level, I have no doubt he'll start a new streak this upcoming weekend.

In the eight games which his streak lasted, Solensky had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) and one fight.

2. Ott Continues His Hot Streak

While Solensky's scoring streak might have ended, his linemate, Donovan Ott's continued through the weekend and has now reached seven games.

On Friday night, he was given an assist on Solensky's goal, after he had received a pass from Davidson, which launch him and Solensky on a 2-1 offensive rush.

The following night, Ott scored the Tomahawks second goal (the insurance marker) to help the Hawks defeat the Knights, 2-0.

In those seven games, Ott has recorded 11 points (seven goals, four assists) including one hat-trick.

Last season, Ott averaged a point a game scoring 57 points in 57 games and he's continued that trend this year, scoring 14 points in 14 games.

1. Penalty Kill Up, Power Play Down

This weekend the Tomhawks did not give up a power play goal as they were able to go 10-for-10 on the PK.

The Knights' penalty kill unfortunately was just as good as the Tomahawks went 0-for-13 on the power play, which included a couple 5-on-3 opportunities.

If the Tomahawks could have scored a few power play goals this weekend, they wouldn't have had any troubles sweeping the Knights.

Not scoring on 13 power play oppertunites has dropped Johnstown's power play to 16th in the league (19.4%).

Killing off all 10 penalties they took during the weekend has boosted the Hawks overall penalty kill to 19th (74.2%).

Last weekend vs the Titans, Johnstown had managed to go 6-for-17 on the power play, though New Jersey's penalty kill is ranked 20th in the league (74.1%) out of 23 teams.

Quick Mentions

-- The NAHL named Kade Phipps, East Division Player of the Week. The second star of the week was another Tomahawks' player, Donovan Ott. Read about it here.

--Johnstown now holds an overall record of 9-19-1-1 at the halfway mark of their season (30 games). In their last ten games they hold a record of 5-4-0-1 which is 2nd best currently in the division. Both Philadelphia and WB/Scranton are 6-4-0-0 in their last ten.

-- Something that the Tomahawks didn't have at the start of the season was a well balanced lineup. As the season has moved along, with a few roster changes, the dynamics of the team has changed for the better. You're seeing a more well-rounded lineup with players fitting into roles nicely. Each line has become pretty well balanced and there's not as many "same style" of players as there was when the season started.

The top two lines have shown good scoring ablites, while the bottom two lines have shown they can contibute with some scoring, but more importantly, an ablitly to grind and play good defense.

-- Working off the last thought, I'd like to mention Tomahawks defensman, Carter Dwyer, who's been playing some solid defense for the Tomahawks as of late.

Dwyer has worked himself out of a -11 hole, which at one point was one of the team's worst +/- ratings. He's now currently only a -1 (which is tied for 2nd best on team) in a span of ten games, which included six games in a row where he was a +1 or better.

The Tomahawks have started scoring more consistently, have gotten better goaltending, and with players like Dwyer improving their game, it's no wonder the Tomahawks are rebounding from a bad start of the season.

-- Johnstown is currently ranked 5th in the league when it come to attendance, but the troubling number is that they're currently averaging 1,971 fans per game. This is the lowest attendance has been since Johnstown has entered the league.

Hopefully this is a trend that will turn around as the team still has 16 home games left on the schedule. The poor start is definitely a factor for the lower number thus far.

Last year the Tomahawks averaged 2,219.

East Division Standings

Below is a look at the current standings for the East Division. The Tomahawks still ten points behind the Titans for the last playoff spot in the division.

The Tomahawks travel this weekend to face the Rebels on Friday and Saturday.

The Titans will play Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, and then travel to play Northeast Saturday and Sunday.

Wilkes-Barre's only game this week is verse the Titans.

TheTomablog's Three-Stars-of-the-Weekend