This weekend the Rebels will make their second trip to Johnstown, PA. The previous meeting was the Tomahawks home opener weekend in which the Rebels spoiled the fun by winning the first game. It will be the best team in the league (Johnstown) versus the fifth best team in the league (Jamestown). The Rebels are coming off a sweep against the Maryland Black Bears and are also on a six-game point streak (one shy of season high), they have an overall record of 24-10-3-2 (53pts). As for the Tomahawks they were swept for the first time this season and lost their first back-to-back games since Sep. 20th-21st. They go into this weekend with an overall record of 33-6-0-1 (67pts). Johnstown leads the season series 3-2. Both of their losses came by a final of 4-1.
Blood In The Water:
It is shocking to say this but, Johnstown has been struggling these past two weeks. It started out with a weekend series versus last place Wilkes-Barre, in which both games the Tomahawks won in overtime. Then there was this past weekend which had the entire league stunned. The Northeast Generals swept the best team in the league. The Tomahawks lost the first game 2-1, then lost in a shootout the next night 5-4. While Johnstown was able to get a point out of the weekend, if they are finally starting to cool off now is the time for Jamestown to strike! Jamestown will face Johnstown a total of four times in the month of February. Each game will be crucial if the Rebels want to have a shot at winning the East when the regular season ends Apr. 6th. If the Rebels sweep Johnstown this weekend in regulation, they will only be five games back.
The Johnstown Tomahawks have the third best power-play percentage in the league at 27.8%, as well as the third best penalty-kill percentage with an 85.5%. The Rebels rose in the power play rankings after this past weekend going 2/5, putting them in 15th with a 17.9% power-play unit. They are the second-best team in the league at killing penalties with a success rate of 85.8%. For the Rebels to have success this weekend on the road they must stay out of the box and if given a power play, they must capitalize on it.
A main reason why these two teams have had consistent success throughout the season is their last line of defense. Goalies are the back bone of a hockey team and both teams are reaping the rewards for having such great goalies. Ryan Keane is 4-1-1 since the beginning of 2019 and has recorded two shutouts. In his final season of junior hockey, Keane is putting up better numbers than he did while in Philadelphia last season. His goals-against-average is a 1.83 which puts him in second overall for goalies and his save percentage is at .927%. If Noah West had enough minutes to be ranked for goalies, he would be somewhere near the top ten as he currently has a GAA of 2.38 with a SV% of .913%. Combined, West and Keane are 24-10-3-1 and have five shutouts this season. Johnstown has had plenty of success in between the pipes as well. Carter McPhail is ranked sixth overall for goalies, he has a 2.02 GAA and a .935 SV%. He is 19-3 on the season and two of his losses have come at the hands of the Rebels. His counterpart Cooper Lukenda has an overall record of 11-1-0-1, giving him a 2.73 GAA and a .907 SV%.
Players To Watch:
Rebels (F: #27- Alex Frye)
Frye has without a doubt been the biggest asset for the Rebels this season. He leads the team in goals (22), assists (17), and points (39). He is ranked 17th in the league for points. Alex has also just committed to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) to play NCAA Division 1 hockey. This is his final season of junior hockey and is making it one heck of a last ride. With 21 games left in the regular season for Jamestown, Frye will surely keep adding to his record setting season.
Tomahawks (F: #24 Samuel Solensky)
Solensky currently leads the league in points (64) and assists (42). Samuel is on an eight-game point streak (7g-13a) and holds the longest point streak of the season at 14, dating from Oct.27th-Dec.2nd. He is committed to Bemidji State University, which is in the same conference Frye will be playing in (WCHA). Out of the five games against Jamestown, Solensky has three points (2g).