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Writer vs Fan: Tomahawks Top 5 Goalies of All-Time

written by: David Nicoletti and Nathan Kohan and Jon Kohan





Today, we're going to do something fun that also kicks off our newest feature, Fan Submissions.


Nicoletti is back again with another Top list countdown but this post will be a little different from the times before as they'll be someone else counting down with him with his own opinion on who the Tomahawks best goalies in history have been.


We'd love to see your lists, article ideas, memes, and more, but I'll go over all that good stuff at the end of this article.


The fan in this article is my brother, Nathan Kohan, who's been a Tomahawks' season-ticket holder and Johnstown Chiefs fan all his life.


Hope you guys, and ladies, enjoy this article. Let us know what you think about these rankings on social media or with a comment below.




Today, we are counting down the Top 5 Johnstown Tomahawks Goalies of All-Time. For this list, these are goaltenders who have played at least 30 games or more.


#5



Photo by: Gladys Bantly

David: RYAN BEDNARD


Now before you bash me with this rating, allow me to explain why I put an NHL drafted goalie at this position. The other goalies on this list have helped take the Tomahawks to the playoffs in different seasons. However, as much as Bednard helped the Tomahawks during the 2014-15 season, they weren’t quite able to punch their ticket into the postseason.   


To start off our list, Ryan Bednard took the ice for the Tomahawks during the 2014-15 season where the 6’5” Macomb Township, Michigan native registered a 2.66 GAA and a .913 save percentage. In 37 games with the Tomahawks, Bednard posted a 16-16-5 record with a total of 2,184 minutes in the net. He also recorded one lone shutout for the team that season. He was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Second Team for his accomplishments during the season.


After his time with the Hawks, during the 2015 NHL Draft, Bednard was selected by the Florida Panthers in Round 7 with the 206th overall pick. But he would have to wait almost three years to get his shot at becoming an NHL goalie. 


After one season with the Youngstown Phantoms, and three seasons with Bowling Green State University, Ryan Bednard signed his first professional contract with the Florida Panthers. He was awarded an Entry-Level Contract for two years and $1,850,000.


He started off the year with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL. Eventually making his way with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL. One step closer to becoming an NHL goalie.


Fun fact: The Greenville Swamp Rabbits were originally the Johnstown Chiefs!! 


Nathan: Alex Okicki


Okicki came from a rival from the season before, the Kalamazoo Jr. K Wings. I remember him from a game that season. He had a bit of an attitude that rubbed the Johnstown fans the wrong way. There was an incident between him and Chris Truehl that ended with him declining a challenge from Truehl. I never thought we would see him in a Johnstown uniform and then we did. He posted a very respectable 21-15-3 record with a .918 save percentage. I remember him hobbling in the net trying to play through an injury that year in the playoffs. He gave it his all every night.



#4


David: DREW HOTTE


Starting in 38 games during the 2016-17 season, Drew Hotte posted a 2.43 GAA and a .913 save percentage, good enough for a 24-12-1 record in net with 2,103 minutes and five shutouts. Hotte took the Tomahawks to the 2017 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs, where he played three games and posted a 2.00 GAA and a .924 save percentage.


Sadly losing all his starts in the net with a 0-2-1 record with 180 minutes.


After his time in Johnstown, the Gwynedd, PA native took to the ice for the NCAA Division III school Tufts University. He’s played a total of 24 games with the Jumbos and is about to be heading into his Senior season for the upcoming 2020-21 season.


Nathan: Ryan Bednard


Ryan was only a hawk for a year as is the case with every goaltender on this list. He posted a 16-16-5 record and a .913 save percentage. He was solid between the pipes for a team that struggled. He covered most of the net with his large frame. His size helped him make difficult saves look routine. He was drafted by the Florida Panthers #206 overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft. He split time between the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL and the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL in 2019-2020. I look forward to seeing another hawk in the NHL.



#3


David: ALEX OKICKI


One of my favorite Tomahawks goalies of all time coming in at number three. Mentor, Ohio native Alex Okicki took to the ice for the Tomahawks during the 2013-14 season, where he started in 42 games (a record that still holds to this day), and posted a 2.54 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Good enough for a 21-15-3 record, 2,405 minutes in net, and four shutouts.

He only played in one game during the 2014 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs, but that came in the third period where he replaced Brett Young in the net during a game where they were losing in game three to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. He was perfect throughout the whole period and did not let a puck in for the whole twenty minutes, but the Tomahawks still lost to the Fighting Falcons and were eliminated after being swept.


After Okicki’s time in the juniors was up he went on to play five years of college hockey. His first three years were with NCAA Division III school University Of Wisconsin-River Falls. He played in 6 games and posted a career 4.00 GAA. His last two years were with Kent State University of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). He played in 41 games and had a 2.40 GAA.  


Nathan: Chris Truehl


Chris was part of the first Tomahawk squad. That year began with a bit of a goaltending debacle. The starter from the prior year in Alaska was Bodhi Engum. He only managed to play 8 games in Johnstown before conceding the net. Chris posted a 17-11-6 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.33 GAA. He would only play one season with the hawks before moving on to the NCAA.



#2


David: CHRIS TRUEHL


At number two is one of the first goalies to take the ice for the Tomahawks. Chris Truehl, a 6’3” 205 pound Stoughton, Wisconsin native started in 38 games during the 2012-13 season. In that time, he registered a 2.33 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Good enough for a record of 17-11-6, 2,031 minutes in net, and one lone shutout. 


He played in three games during the 2013 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs. Posting a 1.97 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He won one game and lost two, as the Hawks were eliminated in the first round to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. 


After his time with the Hawks, Truehl went on to play four years of NCAA Division I hockey. His first two years were with Air Force Academy; he played in 50 games and posted a 2.48 GAA. His last two years were with Quinnipiac University, where he played 21 games with the Bobcats and posted a 2.66 GAA.


After college, he signed his first professional contract with the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) where he started in 10 games and posted a 3.38 GAA and a .886 save percentage. With a side of one playoff game with a 6.00 GAA and a .870 save percentage. Helping the Giants to win the EIHL Cup Champion. 


Nathan: Drew Hotte


Drew had an impressive .913 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA. He was also a one season hawk. He had an impressive five shutouts with the team. The thing I remember the most about Drew is the calmness in net. There are goalies that put up good numbers but you sometimes cringe watching their style, Drew was not one of those goalies. The team exited the playoffs a bit earlier than everyone expected but he had a solid year.



HONORABLE MENTION





David and Nathan: ALEX TRACY


I feel bad that the 2019-20 NAHL season wasn’t fully finished. Especially for this young talented goaltender. In 21 games for the Tomahawks, the Chicago, Illinois native put up a 2.12 GAA (tying a Tomahawks record), and a .935 save percentage (a Tomahawks record). He won NAHL (East) Goaltender of the Year and NAHL (East) Rookie of the Year. He is also a part of the NAHL All-East Division Rookie Team and NAHL All-East Division Team. He easily could be one of the best Tomahawks in franchise history.


Fun fact, Alex Tracy could become the 2nd goalie in Tomahawks history to be selected in the NHL Draft. As he will be eligible to enter into the 2020 NHL Draft which takes place on October 9th–10th.



#1


David: CARTER McPHAIL



To wrap up our list is Fenton, Michigan native Carter McPhail. McPhail took the net for the Hawks during the 2018-19 season. He started in 35 games and posted a 2.12 GAA (tying a Tomahawks record), and a .931 save percentage for an impressive record of 29-3-2, spending 2,098 minutes in the net, and posting one shutout. 


During the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs, McPhail started in 13 games and put up a 2.68 GAA and a .907 save percentage. For a 7-5-1 record, 740 minutes in net, and one shutout leading the Tomahawks to a Robertson Cup Finals appearance only to come one game short of the championship after losing the series to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1-2. 


He currently plays for the NCAA Division I school Ferris State University. In his first season with the Bulldogs, he’s played in 9 games and registered a 3.74 GAA and a .886 save percentage. He will be going into his sophomore campaign for the team for the upcoming 2020-21 NCAA season.



Nathan: Carter McPhail


Posted a .931 save percentage and a GAA of 2.12 in his only season with the hawks. He led the team to the deepest playoff run in the team’s history. Carter may have benefited from playing behind one of the best teams in the league but there certainly were games where he was called upon to steal a win. He started a new tradition that year with Chris Trouba known as “the hug” after every win. It was certainly an exciting year.


Final Rankings





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