NAHL’s two top teams square off at IceWorks on Friday and Saturday
It was May 5. Ryan Cusin scored a hat trick and the Rebels had defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks 9 – 2 to advance to the Robertson Cup semi-finals. It was the last time these two teams had played each other. Last season the Rebels had a 10 – 6 record against the Tomahawks. The first two games of the division finals were played at IceWorks and close games with the second one having been won on Eric Carreras’ overtime goal. Last season is in the past. It is a new year with both teams possessing the best records in the North American Hockey League. While it is still early these games will set the tone for the remainder of the year.
The Tomahawks visit IceWorks having an 11-1-0-1 record for twenty three points in thirteen games. It is the second best record in the NAHL. The Hawks are three points behind the Rebels but have two games in hand. Johnstown has scored 58 goals, which is second most in the league. They have allowed only 28 games which ties them with two other teams for the second least amount of goals allowed.
The Tomahawks are ranked fifth in the league on the power play having scored on 27.6% of their chances. Conversely the team’s penalty kill unit is rated nineteenth with a 75.9%.
The team is led by Dalton Hunter. He leads the team in points (17) and goals (10). He also has the fourth most points in the league. He is followed by Filips Buncis (16 points – 3 goals and 13 assists), Donovan Ott (15 points – 8 goals and 7 assists) and Hayden Rowan (15 points – 3 goals and 12 assists). Hunter and Ott each have three game winning goals. Thomas Horn leads the team with 57 penalty minutes while Andrew Quetell has a +15 +/- ratio (which is second best in the league).
The Tomahawks goaltending tandem of Drew Hotte and Vinnie Prupura have a combined 2.09 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Hotte is ranked second in the league with a 1.78 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
Johnstown is coming off of a 6 – 3 win over the Northeast Generals, and the team has won five of its last six games.
The Rebels are in first place in the East Division with a 13 – 2 record for 26 points, which is best in the NAHL. The Rebels have scored the most goals in the league with 63 while they have allowed the least amount with 26.
Aston is third in the league on the power play with a 30% success rate while the team is ranked fifth in the league on the penalty kill of 85%.
The Rebels top point producer is Andrew Bellant. He has 18 points (11 goals and 7 assists). He is second in the league with points. He also leads the team with eleven goals. Captain Dom Garcia has 17 points (4 goals and 13 assists), assistant captain Drew Blackmun has 15 points (5 goals and 10 assists) and Gianluca Esteves has 15 points (5 goals and 10 assists) as well. Bellant, Esteves and Andreas Maier each have two game winning goals. Garcia leads the team in penalty minutes with 33. Ryan Solomon has a +18 +/- ratio which is the best in the league.
Mareks Mitens has a 9 – 2 record between the pipes. He has a 1.18 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. He has four shutouts.
The Rebels last played the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on October 21 and defeated them 4 – 1 for the team’s sixth straight win.
Painting the rink pink
The Rebels will be painting the rink pink this weekend in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. The team will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately following Saturday night’s game. The auction will be held in the banquet room behind IceWorks Pub and Grill. All proceeds will go to the Pennies in Action Fund.
Friday night the team will have a $1 hot dog night while Saturday night there is the Herr’s Family Fun Pack (4 tickets, hot dogs, sodas, chuck-a-pucks and 4 bags of Herr’s products for only $40) and Buffalo Wild Wings wing eating contest.