The Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL were one of a few teams
that got their season underway before the NAHL Showcase Tournament. Like last
season, they didn't start the season they way they wished and looked to the
Showcase to pick up their first win.
The first game against Amarillo
was a close contest, five on five, but it was special teams yet again where Johnstown struggled and ultimately
lost to the Bulls, 6-3.
The following day, Johnstown,
faced off against the Topeka RoadRunners. Johnstown
looked to have finally found the receipt to a win, but after taking a 2-1 lead
in the second period the team fell apart. What came next was four goals in a
row by the RoadRunners to take a 5-2 lead in the third period.
It looked like the team was in line to lose another game.
Head coach Jason Spence called a time out and lit a fire under his players. "He wanted us to calm down
and get back to the little things. Get back to playing the way we (know we)
can", said Tomahawks' forward, Matt Meier.
Tomahawks' would listen to their head coach, and in a span of just under three
minutes they tied the game up at five.
Reinholz scored at 7:50. Jordan Watt scored a power play goal at 9:53. Newcomer,
Shane Cuckovich tied the game at 10:28, which was enough to force overtime,
giving the Tomahawks' their first point of the season.
game would go to a shootout and Johnstown
wasn't able to score any goals against Blake Wojtala.
took a little while to figure out what would work at this level compared to
what some of us (had experienced) last year", said Meier. DeAugustine added,
"We have a bunch of new guys on the team and most of them have never played
with each other. It takes time to build chemistry with you teammates."
Johnstown looked to build on their
shootout loss against the Aberdeen Wings. Players also began to relax and even
though they didn't win vs. the RoadRunners the day before, they had figured out
what it would take to win.
when things began to click for the Tomahawks and they started to play the way
fans believed they were capable of.
they beat the Aberdeen Wings, with a shutout by Colin DeAugustine, 3-0. They
followed up that win with another solid game and victory over last year's
Robertson Cup runners up, the Bismarck Bobcats, 3-1.
just put the other games behind me and had to play my game like I know (I
can)", said DeAugustine.
saw action in every game at the Showcase. He didn't play bad vs. Amarillo, as five of the
goals were scored on the power player, but DeAugustine wasn't making any excuses.
"I'm still the goalie and it's my job to stop the pucks shot on me no matter
what", said DeAugustine.
DeAgustine came into the game to relieve starter Brett Young. "The second game
I did okay, but I feel letting up all three goals in the (shootout) was
unacceptable", said DeAugustine.
wanted to prove that he could shut the door, and he did just that for the last
two games of the showcase. In total he turned away 46 of 47 shots.
calming influence in net extended outwards as the defensemen shut down most
chances both Aberdeen and Bismarck generated, and the offense pounced their
year the Tomahawks' top line was Gylling-Kontny-Watt. So far this season
Meier-Reinholz-Drabin is emerging as a line just as capable. "I love my line
right now", said Meier.
the Showcase the line combined for a total of 7 goals, 10 assists, which is
good for 17 points. "I do have some great chemistry with Joe (Drabin) and love
how hard he works, but also how skilled", said Meier. Currently Drabin leads
the team in points with six points in six games.
veteran on the line is Brandon Reinholz. Like Drabin, Reinholz not only has
grit but also skill, something that Meier also sees first hand. "He works very
hard and adds a little experience to our line".
season Reinholz played 53 games for the Tomahawks scoring 32 points (19 goals,
13 assists). He also was second on the team in penalty minutes with 126.
is part of the Tomahawks' captain rotation this season.
2013 NAHL Showcase was memorable for Meier for a personal reason. "I'm excited
to say that I'll be playing for the Falcons (Air Force Academy) for the 2015-16 season", said
is the first player on the Johnstown Tomahawks' 2013-2014 roster to make a
college commitment. As of right now it's a verbal commitment and he and the
team hopes to have more information soon.
year, Chris Truehl, who was the Tomahawks' number one goaltender, committed to
Air Force and will begin his first season with the D1 team this season.
Meier feels that the team played well in the Showcase and hopes they can
continue their winning ways in Soo this upcoming weekend.
our scores didn't show it the first two games we played really well at times,
and after those two games we just figured it out and it kinda clicked", said
Meier. He added, "I'm very excited for the rest of the season after our
performance (this past weekend)".
Tomahawks made a trade after the Showcase, sending Ryan Bittner and Jaycob
McCombs both to the Minnesota Wilderness.
Bittner appeared in three games for the Tomahawks this season, registering no
points, and was a -1.
season, McCombs played in all six games, scoring one assist and was a -1.
season McCombs appearing in 42 games and he was able to register 15 points (8
goals, 7 assists). He was a +4 and had 61 penalty minutes.
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