Annual New Year's Eve Game Different This Year (New Tender and Alumni News) - Weekend Preview
Written by: David Nicoletti
For the first time since December 11th, Tomahawks hockey is back! For the first time in team history, there will be no fans attending both games. The Johnstown Tomahawks will battle the Northeast Generals on New Year's Eve at 3 pm and on New Years Day at 1 pm in front of an empty 1ST SUMMIT ARENA. The news came on December 28th on the Hawks' Facebook and Twitter, stating that this will be the first year since inception that the team will not be hosting fans to the highly anticipated New Year's Eve game. Regardless, fans can stream the games live on HockeyTV. For now, let's get into this weekend preview.
This will be the teams' third and fourth meeting against each other this season. The two teams met back on October 22nd and 23rd at New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Both teams would split the series as Northeast would take game one in overtime 5-4, with the Tomahawks scoring four unanswered goals between the second and third period to win it 6-2.
Johnstown comes into this series after taking nearly three weeks off due to new covid restrictions put in place by Governor Tom Wolf. Their last game was at home at 1ST SUMMIT ARENA on December 11th against the Maryland Black Bears. The game would be forced into overtime after Maryland would score two unanswered goals late in the game to tie it up at 2-2. John Gelatt would then score the game-winning goal just 39 seconds into OT and win it for the Tomahawks 3-2 over Maryland.
The Northeast Generals come into this series after playing five games in one week against the Maine Nordique at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine on December 9th, 11th, 12th, 15th, and 16th. They would lose game one in overtime 4-3, respond in game two with a 5-1 win, lose their new two games with scores of 4-3 and 3-2, and finally wrap up the series with a 3-1 win, losing the series to Maine 2-2-1.
The Tomahawks currently sit second place in the East Division standings with a 8-3-2-1 record and 19 points. Tied with Maryland and trail three points behind Maine for first place.
John Gelatt currently sits as the team's leader in goals and points so far in 2020-21. Gelatt has put up 11 goals and 18 points in 14 games for the Hawks this season. He sits fifth place, tied with two others (Thomas Manty & Cade Neilson - both forwards for Aberdeen) in the NAHL in points. He also currently sits in first place in the NAHL with his 11 goals. So far, he is the NAHL's top rookie in both of those categories.
Jay Ahearn currently sits on top as the Tomahawks leader in points. So far, the forward has put up 11 assists out of his 15 points in 2020-21. He currently sits ninth place tied with two others (New Mexico forward Spencer Rudrud & Maine forward Stefan Owens) for eighth place in the NAHL in assists.
Sam Evola currently sits on top as the Tomahawks' best goaltender so far in 2020-21. The 19-year-old so far in 10 games holds a 6-1-1-1 record with a 2.29 GAA and a 0.910 save percentage with 551 minutes in net for the Tomahawks. He currently sits seventh place in the NAHL in GAA, and 10th place in the NAHL in minutes played.
The Generals currently sit fifth place in the East Division standings with a 6-11-1 record and 13 points.
Forward Liam McCanney currently sits on top as the Generals leader in goals and points. The 20-year-old in 18 games this season has put up 10 goals and 17 points with the Gens. He sits in ninth place tied with Aberdeen forward Natan Vertes for eighth in the NAHL in points and sits third place tied with Aberdeen forward Natan Vertes for second in the NAHL in goals.
Forward Aidan Curran is the current Gens leader in assists so far in 2020-21. The New Hampshire commit and former East Division Star of the Week has 13 assists out of his 15 points in 16 games with the Generals this season. He currently sits fifth place in the NAHL in assists.
Goaltender Hugo Hass currently sits on top as the Generals best goaltender in 2020-21. In 11 games with the Gens, the Czech Republic native holds a 5-5-1 record with a 2.88 GAA and a 0.928 save percentage with 666 minutes played in net. He currently sits sixth place in the NAHL in save percentage and fourth place in the NAHL in minutes played.
Victory Honda 18U AAA center Ryan Vellucci has made a tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks. The six-foot Northville, Michigan native so far this season has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 32 games with Victory Honda this season. Congratulations to Ryan and welcome to the Tomahawks!!
New Hawks Addition
The Tomahawks added Will Margel to their roster on December 28th. Margel is a 5'9" 170 pound Potomac, Maryland native winger, and center born on March 16th, 2001.
The University of New Hampshire commit so far this season has averaged a minus-two in two games this season for the Lincoln Stars of the BCHL. The 19-year-old split time last season between the Madison Capitols of the USHL and the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL. In total, Margel put up 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 42 regular-season games in 2019-20.
Along with seven points (two goals, five assists) in four playoff games for the Express during the 2020 BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs. Welcome to the Hawks Will!!
Former Tomahawk and current Mercyhurst University forward Carson Briere was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week. Briere tied for the Atlantic Hockey lead in scoring with five points in Mercyhurst's five-point weekend against former Tomahawks forward Christian Gorscak and Niagara University.
Carson recorded three goals and two assists over the two games. He had a goal in Mercyhurst's 3-3 tie, and scored (unofficially) in the shootout to extend it to sudden death where the Lakers would earn the extra point. Briere then had two goals and two assists as Mercyhurst skated to a 7-4 victory.