Johnstown Tomahawks vs. Jamestown Rebels – Nov. 5, 2019

Jamestown Rebels forward Brett Morich (left) and Johnstown Tomahawks defenseman Adam Kolcon duke it out during the first period of Thursday’s game at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial. 

Pucks hadn’t been finding the net for Johnstown Tomahawks forward Noah Basarab over the past few weeks.

So, on Thursday night Basarab found the net, planted himself in front and potted a pair of power-play goals in the Tomahawks’ 2-1 victory over the Jamestown Rebels.

“We just kept it simple, got pucks to the net. Good things happen when you get pucks and bodies to the net,” said Basarab, who had only one assist in his previous five games before getting back on the scoring track in front of an energetic crowd of 2,022 fans at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

“We just kept it simple and got pucks on net from the point and got all the rebounds.”

The Tomahawks improved to 11-6-3, and with 25 points are second in the East Division. Jamestown slipped to 5-12-2 with 12 points.

The Tomahawks and Rebels meet again on Friday and Saturday nights at 1st Summit Arena.

“That unit has been fighting it a little bit the last couple weeks and they’ve been trying to find some different chemistry, some different recipes and see what works,” Tomahawks coach Mike Letizia said of the power play that included Basarab, Carson Gallagher and Bennett Stockdale at forward and Quinn Warmuth and Adam Kolcon on defense. 

“When they kept it simple and just got a puck to the net, both times they got goals.

“Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep it simple on a power play when you’re struggling and not force it. 

“Get as many shots as you can. Basarab was right around the net for both of them.”

Jamestown’s Kaden Varga barely had settled into the penalty box when Basarab converted 12 seconds into a man-advantage at 12:48 of the opening period.

“Quick play off the faceoff,” Letizia said. “Gallagher did a great job to retrieve the puck. 

“He got it right back up to Warmuth at the point. Warmuth looked off the pass, got down to the net and Basarab won a net battle and banged home a rebound. Real simple. Gritty. But goals you need.”

Basarab netted his eighth goal of the season 9:43 into the second period to make it 2-0. 

Stockdale and Kolcon assisted on the power play tally.

“We’re all just starting to jell together and we’re all becoming a family,” Basarab said. “When you become a family, that makes you closer on the ice.”

The Rebels had a strong third period and cut the deficit to 2-1 via Valeri Rykov’s goal at 3:42.

Johnstown goaltender David Tomeo stopped 15 shots and is 6-1-1 since joining the Tomahawks on Oct. 11.

“David did a great job,” Letizia said.

The Tomahawks seemed to build off the energy provided by a weeknight crowd. Members representing the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils filled up most of the seats from Section 5 through 13.

The organization’s annual state conference is being hosted by Westmont Hilltop this weekend.  

“Great fans. Nice and loud,” Basarab said. “We’ve got to love it.”

Letizia noticed.

“A lot of energy. A lot of new people in the building,” the Johnstown coach said. “It’s exciting when you get that juice in the building. It helps our guys. It’s fun. Hopefully we get some new fans out of it.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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