The Johnstown Tomahawks scored two second period goals in four minutes to defeat the visiting New Jersey Titans 4 – 1 in the first of four straight games between the East Division’s top two teams. The loss moved Johnstown one point behind New Jersey in the standings, although the Titans have five games in hand.
At 8:25 into the opening period Kyle Jeffers was called for tripping to give the Tomahawks the man advantage. With time winding down on the power play, Tristan Poissant won the draw deep inside the Titians zone. The puck went to Christian Gorscak on his right who sent it back to Malik Alishlalov at the far side point. Alishlalov sent a return pass to Gorscak who took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that founds its way through a screen and off the body of Titans netminder Arseni Sergeev and into the net to give the Tomahawks a 1 – 0 lead.
With 8:36 left in the second period, Shane Haviland’s third goal of the season tied the game. As Gorscak brought the puck in the Titans zone, he tried a centering pass, but it went off Tyler Nasca’s skate and Brody Medeiros redirected the puck to the far sideboards where it was picked up by Kyle Jeffers. The AIC commit out hustled Alishlalov to the puck and went to the net. He took a shot that was saved by Johnstown’s goaltender David Tomeo but Haviland tucked in the rebound to me it a 1 – 1 game.
Almost a minute and a half later Johnstown regained the lead. After Tomeo made a save, the rebound came out to Pavel Kharin who was to the left of Tomeo. Kharin sent an outlet pass up to Andrew Murphy who brought the puck into the Titans zone and met at the end boards by Danny Dimon. After the scrum, Murphy was able to come away with the puck and skate around the net and slightly out front and he took a shot that beat Sergeev short side for a 2 – 1 lead.
With four minutes left in the middle period, the Tomahawks doubled their lead. Kyler Head picked up the loose puck in his own zone along the near side faceoff circle. He sent the puck behind the net and up along the boards where it was intercepted by Poissant. Poissant passed it back to Brendan Blair at the top of the point. Blair took a shot that was saved by Sergeev but Gorscak tucked the rebound into the back of the open net to make with 3 – 1 Johnstown.
With a little over three minutes remaining in the game, Sergeev was pulled for the extra attacker but Johnstown’s Spencer DenBeste scored an empty net goal to close out the scoring.
Sergeev stopped 17 of 20 shots while Tomeo turned aside 27 of 28. Click here for the box score.
The Titans will look to even the weekend series against the Tomahawks tonight at 7:00 PM at the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial.