Johnstown Tomahawks vs. New Jersey Titans – Oct. 29, 2021

The Johnstown Tomahawks’ Mack Oliphant tries to get the puck past New Jersey Titans goaltender Andrew Takacs during Friday’s game at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

After falling behind two goals in the first period, the Johnstown Tomahawks clawed back to force overtime against the New Jersey Titans on Friday night at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

The teams were held scoreless in overtime as the game was decided on a six-round shootout.

New Jersey’s Anthony Calafiore hit the left post with a shot and it ricocheted in for the eventual game-winner as the Titans prevailed 3-2. The shootout was also decided by a 3-2 margin.

“I don’t think we really had our best game tonight,” Tomahawks coach Mike Letizia said.

“I think we were slow and a little soft without the puck, and even with the puck. Obviously, getting the point there at least to get into overtime was a positive, but we’re going to need a much better 60-minute effort tomorrow.”

Johnstown dropped its first game on home ice. The Tomahawks (7-5-2) are now 3-0-1 at 1st Summit Arena and 5-3-2 within the NAHL East Division.

Johnstown’s Stephen Kyrkostas scored a short-handed goal 7:36 into the third period to knot the game up at 2. Kyrkostas came on a breakaway on the right side of the ice and knifed in to beat Titans goaltender Andrew Takacs through his five hole.

“He can be dangerous,” Letizia said of Kyrkostas. “The puck was able to pop free there, I think (Zachary) Murray blocked it and chipped it out. Steve’s got some good wheels, so we were pretty confident in that situation that he would be able to put it in.”

Johnstown killed off a penalty with 1:31 left in the third period.

New Jersey had a prime shot for the go-ahead goal with 2:40 left, but missed off to the left side. A shot on the power play clanked off the post with 1:57 remaining in a matchup that featured many scrums after the whistle.

The game went into a three-on-three overtime period. Murray narrowly missed on a close shot with 3:30 left. New Jersey had two late chances, but failed to get one past Tomahawks goaltender Tommy Heaney.

In the shootout, the first four skaters did not score. New Jersey’s Michael Young found the left side of the net to put the pressure on Johnstown. Jake Black’s shot was initially stopped by Takacs, but as he stood up, the puck trickled past the goal line.

“He shot it and it got in on him,” Letizia said. “I think when he went to skate off, it went into the net. I’ve never seen one like that before.”

A pair of saves followed. New Jersey’s Brendan Dumas used a deke and scored into the left side of the net. Sean Ramsay’s wrister went past Takacs to force another round.

Calafiore’s shot hit the pipe and went into the other side of the net. Takacs stoned David Matousek and celebrated by using his stick to play an imaginary violin.

New Jersey scored on its first shot on goal 5:27 into the game. Nick Ring picked up a loose puck off a Tomahawks turnover with his back toward the net, turned around and launched a wrister that beat Heaney on the short side.

With 10:48 left in the period, the referees waved off a potential Tomahawks goal due to contact with Takacs in the crease. The horn started to sound. After a conference, the referees waved off the goal.

With 1:10 left in the frame, Young went top shelf off feeds from Levente Keresztes and Ring. Young’s tally came after Johnstown was called for a delayed penalty.

Johnstown started the second period on the power play. Just 20 seconds in, Takacs mishandled the puck behind the net. Holt Oliphant’s wraparound attempt was denied. However, Jacob Badal’s shot found the back of the net after a feed from Ramsay.

New Jersey (10-6-1) finished with a 36-29 edge in shots on goal, including 26-18 in the first two periods.

The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday to finish the two-game series.

Jake Oswalt is a copy editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11.

Jake Oswalt is a copy editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11

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