Tomahawks Earn Historic Win
Johnstown's first victory comes in a shootout over Kenai River, 6-5
BLAINE, Minn. – Goaltender Chris Truehl came off the bench to stop 19 shots, then was perfect in the shootout while Cody Gylling scored the goal that lifted the Johnstown Tomahawks to the first victory in team history, 6-5 over Kenai River Thursday in the NAHL Showcase at Schwan Super Rink.
Gylling, Johnstown’s second shooter, beat goaltender Gustaf Johansson with a backhander for the only goal of the shootout before Truehl finished off the Brown Bears (0-1-1) by stopping Zac Lazzaro. That brought the Tomahawks pouring off the bench to celebrate their historic victory.
Johnstown (1-2-1) moved into third place in the North Division with the win and will have a chance to move past Kalamazoo and into second place Friday when it faces Austin at 8:45 p.m.
Truehl replaced starter Matthew McLaughlin at 10:55 of the second period with Johnstown trailing, 4-2. The Tomahawks responded with two goals in 2:38 to tie the game, as J.B. Baker scored his first goal of the season at 12:45 on a wrist shot through traffic from the left point and Coby Smith-Mass delivered his first goal on the rebound of a Kristaps Bazevics shot from the center point on the power play at 15:23.
Truehl preserved that tie with a brilliant stop on Jude Warner at 18:59 of the period with Kenai River on the power play. Truehl’s performance was critical on a night when the Tomahawks were outshot, 36-17, through overtime – including 27-7 over the game’s final 45 minutes.
Cody Boyd put Johnstown ahead, 5-4, at 8:20 of the third period when he burst down the slot, took a pass from Codey Hansen on the right wing and beat Johansson with a wrist shot. Johansson made a big stop on Jordan Watt at 13:09 to keep it a one-goal game, and Kenai River defenseman Ryan Walker tied it with 3:23 to play in regulation with a shot from inside the center point.
Johnstown took a too many men on the ice penalty 48 seconds later but did not allow the Brown Bears a single shot on the ensuing power play. The Tomahawks killed four of five Kenai River penalties on the night.
Bazevics had two assists in the game and now has four points (2-2-4) in three games to lead the Tomahawks in scoring.
Evan Hesse scored his first goal of the season just 52 seconds into the game off a wrist shot from the left circle, but Kenai River answered with goals 34 seconds apart by Lucas Kohls and Albin Karlsson. But the first period ended in a 2-2 tie after Johnstown defenseman Jesse Kessler scored his second goal of the season at 7:55, a wrist shot from the left point set up by some aggressive forechecking by the Tomahawks.
Kenai River broke that tie with goals 3:13 apart early in the second period by Lazzaro and Karlsson, the latter coming on the power play at 8:09.
Hesse also picked up an assist on Baker’s goal to finish the game with two points. Baker finished +3 and Watt led Johnstown with five shots.