Lynch, Tomahawks Alum, Signs Pro Contract with Nailers
By David Nicoletti
Ten days ago, former Johnstown Tomahawks forward Andrew Romano inked a professional contract to play for the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Now we have yet another former Tomahawk singing his first professional contract.
Pittsburgh native and former Johnstown Tomahawks forward, Luke Lynch has signed his first professional contract with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.
The Wheeling Nailers are the ECHL affiliates of the AHL’s Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fun Note: The Wheeling Nailers were Johnstown's biggest and closest rival back during the Cheifs era.
Lynch, a 24-year-old center standing at 5’11” and weighing 209 pounds spent his past four seasons in the NCAA with Robert Morris University; a Division I college from Neville Township, Pennsylvania, playing in the AHA Conference. Lynch served as the team's captain for his senior year.
During his past season with Robert Morris, the right handed shooter put up five goals, 12 assists, 17 points, in 37 games with the team. In his four total seasons with the Colonials, Lynch has put up a career total of 41 goals, 64 assists, 105 points, and 179 PIM, in his 155 games with the club.
The former Tomahawk spent his two seasons with the Hawks from 2014-15 through 2015-16, where he put up a career total of 44 goals, 34 assists, 78 points, and 210 PIM, in his 113 games with the club. He led the team in scoring during the 2015-16 season; putting up 29 goals, 27 assists, tying him and former Tomahawk Andrew Romano with 57 points.
Luke Lynchs’ signing with the Nailers makes him the 24th player in Johnstown Tomahawks history to go on and play professional hockey. He is one of few to go on and play professional hockey in the ECHL.
Luke will follow in the footsteps of his older brother Zac, who also played his college career at Robert Morris and then signed with the Nailers.
Zac led the Nailers in scoring during the 2018-19 season; putting up 17 goals, 50 assists, and 67 points, in 67 games with Wheeling.
Luke will become the eighth former Colonial to play for Wheeling when he makes his pro debut.
Lynch said the following after being signed with the Nailers: "All the positives that come with the coaching staff and the organization make me excited to help the team get back to the Kelly Cup Playoffs.”
"I talked to my brother about it, and he played a big role in getting me to Wheeling. I tend to play more of a net front presence, but I view myself as a 200-foot player, who will do what the team needs day in and day out", added Lynch.
Now personally as a Penguins fan and keeping up to date with the Baby Pens and Nailers, I’m a real big fan of this signing, especially watching Luke grow as a player here in Johnstown and watching him light the lamp for the team on occasions.
I believe Wheeling has picked up a really good piece to their puzzle. I believe with Lynch’s style of play he brings, Wheeling could definitely get back to their playoff ways with Lynch in the lineup.
The Wheeling Nailers last season finished last in the Central Division with a record of 24-30-5-0. Picking up 53 points, one point less than the Kalamazoo Wings, who finished above Wheeling with 54 points, and a 23-30-7-1 record.
Wheeling has missed out on the playoffs for four straight seasons. The last time the Nailers made a playoff appearance was back during the 2015-16 season. Where the Nailers lost in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Allen Americans in six games.
Lets see with Lynch in the lineup if the team can clinch their ticket back into the playoffs. I believe they can, but only time will tell.
We will continue to follow up with Luke Lynch, as he gets ready to take to the ice at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.