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Tomahawks goalie Peyton Grainer reaches for the loose puck as Tomahawks #27 Liam Whitehouse and USA Hockey’s National Team Development Prorgram # 25 Dylan Duke look to make a play during first period action at First Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial on Monday, January 4, 2020.

The Johnstown Tomahawks’ oft-interrupted homestand is off again.

The Tomahawks’ games scheduled against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks on Friday and Saturday have been postponed. The announcement on Wednesday did not come as a surprise because Danbury hasn’t played a game since Nov. 5.

Make-up dates will be announced in the future.

Only three games of a scheduled eight-game home stand were played due to concerns and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tomahawks had three games postponed in December during Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s three-week mitigation orders from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4.

The Tomahawks did play their New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day games against Northeast, but no fans attended those contests at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial. The ‘Hawks played a home exhibition against USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 squad on Monday in front of a small crowd.

“I’ve talked about it since Day 1 that this is a season like no other, so with every curveball that comes our way, we have to find a way to adjust and make the best of it,” Tomahawks coach Mike Letizia said. “One thing we preach to our guys all the time is about staying true to our identity and playing the right way in all games and practices.

“I think we can do that no matter the circumstance, then it hopefully will allow us to handle any obstacle that we encounter.”

The Tomahawks added a three-game home series against the Northeast Generals on Jan. 29 (7:30 p.m.), Jan. 30 (7 p.m.) and Jan. 31 (1 p.m.).

Tomahawks season-ticket holders may use their tickets from previously postponed dates or the two games played without fans. The team’s front office suggested those with questions about the tickets should call the office.

“Danbury’s been in a tough situation for a while now and hopefully it will clear up soon, but in the meantime we will continue to work hard in practice, and in our off-ice training to prepare for New Jersey next weekend,” Letizia said.

“We strive to follow a one-day-at-a-time mentality here and that has to be the approach we take.”

The 10-3-3 Tomahawks hold first place with 23 points in the NAHL East Division.

Danbury was 5-1 with 10 points after a 4-2 victory over the Northeast Generals, but the Jr. Hat Tricks have been idle since the Nov. 5 game at Danbury Ice Arena. Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines prevent out-of-state travel, the Tomahawks noted.

Johnstown next will play the New Jersey Titans on Jan. 15-16 at Middletown Ice World Arena.

The Tomahawks are scheduled to travel to Danbury on Jan. 22-23. At this point, the Tomahawks expect to play those games, according to a team staffer.

“Being able to transition to home games at the end of this month is obviously a welcome sight,” Letizia said, noting the three dates against the Generals were to be played at Northeast on the original NAHL schedule. “As a division, we obviously all battle each other for points, but we also understand the importance of trying to work together to navigate through this unusual season. 

“Along the way teams have to find ways to compromise and come together to keep games going and find ways to have our players continue being on the ice.”

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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