Tomahawks vs. Rebels – Jan. 14, 2022

The Johnstown Tomahawks’ David Matousek puts a shot on Jamestown Rebels goaltender Nolon Suggs during the second period of their game at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. 

The Johnstown Tomahawks picked up momentum as Friday night’s NAHL game progressed in front of 1,405 fans at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

Once Jake Black tied the game midway through the final period, the Tomahawks appeared poised to overtake the Jamestown Rebels in a key East Division contest.

Goaltender Sam Evola’s incredible glove save with 3:28 left in overtime only reinforced that notion.

But Jamestown’s Carter Casper netted the only goal of a four-round shootout and the Rebels beat the Tomahawks 2-1.

“Shootouts, you love them when you win them,” Johnstown coach Mike Letizia said.

“You hate them when you don’t. It’s a tough one.”

Johnstown earned a point, but lost ground in the division. The Tomahawks, Rebels and Northeast Generals began the weekend tied for third with 35 points.

Northeast also won Friday, putting the Generals and Rebels in a tie with 37 points, one ahead of Johnstown.

The Rebels outshot the Tomahawks 17-7 in the first period. John Lundy netted his 15th of the season at 7:18, as Evola made the initial stop, but the puck slowly continued to trickle behind him and across the goal line.

“I thought our first two shifts actually were good, but then we stopped moving our feet, started reaching for the puck,” Letizia said.

“They were a hungry team that was playing good hockey. They forced a lot of turnovers.

“We got out of the first period on the lucky side, only giving up one.”

Evola was a big reason for that close margin. The second-year Tomahawks netminder stopped 36 of 37 Rebels shots in regulation and overtime, and turned away three of four shootout attempts.

“Look at some of the saves Sammy made,” Letizia said. “He did a really nice job. In overtime, the glove save was pretty special. We would have loved to have got that one in the shootout. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come up with a goal. Tomorrow is a new day.”

Jake Black tied the game with his 22nd goal of the season on a breakaway at 10:16 of the third. Jacob Badal and Sean Ramsay had assists.

“I thought we got our feet moving in the second and played harder,” Letizia said.

“We started to generate some chances. We slipped a breakaway there in the third.”

Tomahawks defenseman Ethan Perrault was called for holding 2:05 into the 5-minute, 3-on-3 overtime. Johnstown killed off the 4-on-3 power play. Evola stopped a point-blank attempt by Connor Sedlack.

“You get in the overtime. We had some looks,” Letizia said. “We have to lead the league in penalties in overtime. I don’t understand it. It happens. You do a great job of killing it off, but you don’t get two minutes of potential opportunities.”

The teams meet at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the War Memorial.

Former Pittsburgh Penguin first-round draft pick and current television analyst Colby Armstrong will make appearances at the Stars and Stripes Room and the Party Pit.

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.

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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Sports Reporter

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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