Hawks’ Release Three Players, Add Three More in Preparation for Games Against Maryland
Written by: David Nicoletti
This will be the sixth and seventh time that the two teams will scrap off against one another this year. The Black Bears currently lead the season series over Johnstown, holding a record of 3-0-2-0 against the Hawks. Johnstown currently holds a 2-2-1-0 record against Maryland this year.
The last time these teams met were back on December 11th, 2020, where the Black Bears scored two unanswered goals late in the third period to force overtime against the Tomahawks. From there, OT hero John Gelatt would score the game-winning-goal with only 39 seconds into the period for your Tomahawks to walk away with a 3-2 win over Maryland.
The Black Bears come into this series after being swept by the Maine Nordiques earlier this week. Maine would start game one by scoring four unanswered goals. Though Maryland would score one, it wouldn’t be enough as the Nords would walk away with game one at a 4-1 final.
Game two would see a closer scoring game between the two, but Maryland would still fall to Maine 3-2, the Nords would sweep the series and steal the number one spot in the East.
The Tomahawks come into this series after a one game visit to New Jersey to take on the Titans. Johnstown would be down 3-1 midway through the game, but it wouldn’t be long until Caden Lewandowski and Brendan Clark would score goals to make it a 4-3 Hawks game after two periods.
From there it would be a back-and-forth third period, but New Jersey would score the game-winning-goal with six-seconds remaining in regulation, the Titans would steal the “W” from Johnstown, as well as their winning streak at a 6-5 final score.
East Division Rank: 2nd
They trail the first place Maine Nordiques by two points.
Leading Goal Scorer: Jay Ahearn (17-19-36) [NAHL Rank: 2nd]
Leading Points Scorer: Jay Ahearn (17-19-36) [NAHL Rank: 2nd]
Top Goalie: Sam Evola (10-2-1-1 | 2.05 GAA | 0.922 SV% | 2 SO | 850 MIN)
[NAHL Rank: 7th in W, 3rd in GAA, 9th in SV%, T-2nd in SO]
East Division Rank: 3rd
They trail the second place Johnstown Tomahawks by six points.
Leading Goal Scorer: Luke Mountain (13-6-19) [NAHL Rank: 8th]
Top Goalie: Michael Morelli (8-6-2-2 | 2.85 GAA | 0.920 SV% | 1073 MIN)
[NAHL Rank: 10th in W, 7th in MIN]
Jay Ahearn - Four Game Points Streak (three goals, five assists) since 01/29/2021
Brendan Clark - Three Game Points Streak (three goals, four assists) since 01/29/2021
Sam Evola - Two Game Win Streak since 01/22/2021
Reed Stark - Two Game Points Streak (one goal and assists) since 01/31/2021
Date Player Transaction
2021-02-09 Milan Cermak (F) Released
2021-02-09 Aiden Ehresman (D) Released
2021-02-09 Spencer Evans (D) Traded from
2021-02-09 Josh Graziano (G) Traded from
2021-02-09 Atticus Kelly (G) Released
2021-02-09 William Persson (F) Added
Milan Cermak was a part of 12 games for the Tomahawks this season, where the Trafford, PA native would tally only one assist.
Aiden Ehresman has been playing for the Charleston Colonials of the USPHL Premier. In seven games for the Colonials, Ehresman has put up two assists. The former Tomahawks draft pick appeared in only one game with the team this season, registering two shots on goal but coming up scoreless in the Hawks 3-2 shootout win against the Titans on 11/29/2020.
Spencer Evans was acquired in a trade from the Minnesota Wilderness. Born in Oyster Bay, New York, the 18-year-old will be joining his third NAHL team for 2020-21, as well as his fourth NAHL team of all time. The former Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights defenseman started this season with Danbury, appearing in seven games and racking up five points (one goal, four assists). He would then be a part of the Wilderness for two games before officially being acquired by Johnstown this past Tuesday. Evans, like Brendan Clark, is committed to playing D1 hockey at Brown University.
Josh Graziano was acquired in a trade from the New Mexico Ice Wolves. He was born in Buffalo, New York and is in his final year of junior eligibility. The 6’3” goaltender and Union College commit is a four-year veteran of the NAHL. Previously joining the Coulee Region Chill and Jamestown Rebels, the former Ice Wolve so far on the year holds a 1-3-0-1 record. Along with a 2.37 GAA, and a 0.930 save percentage.
Atticus Kelly joined the Hawks on January 21st of this year. Though he backed-up Peyton Grainer for one game this year, Kelly would not appear in one game during his time in Johnstown. Kelly, like Graziano, is in his final year of junior eligibility.
William Persson is a 6’2” winger born on March 3rd, 2001 in Björklinge, Sweden. This will be his first time playing hockey in America, as this is Persson’s first team that he will be suiting up for in the states. So far in 2020-21, Persson has been playing for Rögle BK J20 of the J20 Nationell. In 16 games this year, he has put up 10 points (four goals and six assists). Persson won the TV-Pucken Gold Medal back in 2016-17 for the Sweden U16 club. A team that included recent NHL first-round draft picks; Lucas Raymond (fourth overall by Detroit Red Wings), and Alexander Holtz (seventh overall by New Jersey Devils).
Three Mercyhurst Lakers were nominated for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award handed out to the top player in Division I college hockey each year. One of those players was former Tomahawks forward Carson Briere. Briere is Mercyhurst's leading scorer with 16 points on four goals and 12 helpers. He ranks in the top 30 in the nation in points per game with 1.14. The Hobey Baker Award also features a fan vote in determining the winner. Fans can vote for the three Laker nominees by going to https://hobeybakermemorialaward.sportngin.com/vote
Former Hawks defenseman Casey Nelson, who recently announced retirement from professional hockey, has a new career as a real estate agent. Nelson appeared with the Tomahawks in the team’s first season in Johnstown after relocating to the city from Alaska in 2012. He's now selling real estate as a realtor in Minnesota. Nelson is the first Tomahawks’ alumni to reach the NHL.
Former Hawks forward and alternate captain Andrew Romano was waived by the Huntsville Havoc of the SPHL on January 31st, 2021. Romano appeared in 11 games for the Havoc in his professional hockey season debut, teaming him up with former Hawks forward Josh Bowes, and occasionally appearing on the first line. He would go on to put up three goals and two assists for Huntsville before being waived by the team.