Johnstown Tomahawks Back in Action This Weekend With A Surprise Home Series vs The New Jersey Titans
Written by: David Nicoletti
Photographs by: Danielle Walukas
After a three week break due to COVID-19 complications, the Johnstown Tomahawks are back in regular-season action. This weekend the Johnstown Tomahawks will play a two-game series at 1ST SUMMIT ARENA on Friday, November 20th, and Saturday, November 21st against the New Jersey Titans. Puck drop on Friday will take place at 7:45 pm with a 7 pm puck drop to follow on Saturday.
The Tomahawks announced on November 18th that the team was originally set to take a midweek trip to visit the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks on Thursday and Friday but due to complications from the coronavirus pandemic, the series was canceled and will be rescheduled.
The Tomahawks come into this weekend after taking three weeks off due to COVID-19, but the last series they played in was against the Northeast Generals where the Tomahawks received three out of four points.
After a back and forth game of scoring in game one, the Tomahawks and Generals went into overtime. It wouldn’t take long however for Northeast to score in OT with only a minute and five seconds in to take game one. The Tomahawks would however respond the following game by scoring four unanswered goals after being tied 2-2. Jared Gerger and John Gelatt would score amazing goals for the Tomahawks to cap off the victory.
The New Jersey Titans come into this weekend after sweeping the Northeast Generals at Middletown Ice World Arena last Friday and Saturday. Taking home a 5-3 win last Friday and a 3-2 shootout win last Saturday. The team is currently riding on a three-game winning streak.
This weekend will be the first two of 14 matchups that the two teams will face off against each other. The two teams were first originally scheduled to meet onOctober 30th and 31st but got rescheduled due to COVID complications.
Throughout the team's history, the Tomahawks lead the all-time series with a record of 10-4-1-1. While the Titans hold a 6-10 record against the Tomahawks. Last season, both the Tomahawks and Titans met eight times. Both teams would split the season series as the Tomahawks would go 4-3-0-1, with the Titans going 4-4.
Now to get you ready for this weekend, here is a look at both teams going into this Friday.
The Tomahawks come into this weekend sitting in fourth place in the East Division with a 3-0-2-1 record and nine points. As the record shows, they have not lost a game in regulation yet this season, and they are the only team in the East Division yet to do so.
John Gelatt is currently the Tomahawks' top scorer in points and assists going into this weekend. After coming off a four-point weekend against Northeast, the Middletown, New Jersey native so far this season has three goals and six assists.
Anthony Mastromonica is currently the Tomahawks leader in goals with five. The Kings Park, New York native came off a two-goal weekend against the Gens to add to his current seven points with the team.
Both Connor Strobel and Sam Evola played solid hockey in their past series against the Northeast Generals. Strobel would get the OT loss on Thursday saving 33 out of 38 shots faced. While Sam Evola would get the win for the Hawks on Friday. Stopping 36 of 38 shots faced against the Gens. As of now, Evola is the Hawks's top goaltender with a 2.59 GAA, along with a .910 save percentage.
The Titans come into this weekend sitting second place in the East Division with a 4-3-1-3 record with 12 points. New Jersey is coached by fifth-year GM/Head Coach, Craig Doremus. He is joined on the bench by fifth year Asst. GM/Asst. Coach, Bobby DiRico.
Forwards Evan Werner (6G, 2A), Tommy Bannister (2G, 6A), Jack Ring (2G, 6A), and defensemen Tyler Nasca (1G, 7A) all sit on top as the Titans leading scorers with all players having eight points. Evan Werner leads the team in goals with six while Tyler Nasca leads the team in assists with seven.
Goaltender Louden Hogg sits on top as the New Jersey Titans' best goaltender so far for the 2020-21 season. He holds a record of 4-1-0-1 with a 2.91 GAA and a .910 save percentage. He has played a total of 330 minutes in net for the Titans.
In-Depth Look At Both Teams
Making An Impact Early
Tomahawks newly acquired defenseman David Paluch made his debut with the Tomahawks' last series against the Northeast Generals. The Burlington, Ontario native was named the starter on the defensive line for the Hawks going into the contest. He ended the game on the scoresheet with one assist next to his name. You can catch him this weekend on the ice wearing number 91 for the Johnstown Tomahawks.
Seeing New Faces
Last Friday, the Johnstown Tomahawks played in a Team Red vs. Team White Military Appreciation scrimmage. During the scrimmage, we got to see two new faces on the roster.
First is goaltender Peyton Grainer, brother of Tomahawks forward Carson Grainer. The former OHL goaltender played the entire 60 minutes for Team Red in their 4-2 loss to Team White. He stood tall all game though stopping 23 out of 27 shots faced. Grainer spent the previous 2019-20 season in the T1EHL 18U playing for the Belle Tire 18U AAA. As well as starting in one game for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds.
Finally, forward Timur Alishlalov, brother of former Tomahawks defensemen, Malik Alishlalov. The Russian native played well for the Tomahawks this past scrimmage. He tallied one assist and almost had an amazing scoring chance on Tomahawks goaltender Connor Strobel. The 2020 fifth-round draft pick spent the 2019-20 season with Avon Old Farms School of USHS-Prep. He took part in 27 games, scoring 14 goals and 18 assists.
Playing A Familiar Face
Former two-year Hawk and alternate captain Matthew Doyle will be returning to 1ST SUMMIT ARENA for the first time since playing for the Tomahawks last season. The Niagara Falls, New York native was traded to the New Jersey Titans on April 3rd for a 2nd round draft pick (The Hawks would draft Greensburg native Jared Gerger with that pick) as the Titans were looking to build another strong and competitive team for this season.
So far this season with the Titans, the 6’1” defensemen has appeared in all 11 games for the team, putting up a goal and three assists. You can catch Matthew Doyle this weekend at the Cambria County War Memorial wearing number 27 for the New Jersey Titans.
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