Tag Archives: Cooper Lukenda

Rebels vs. Tomahawks

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.

 

Special Teams:

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.

 

Goaltending:

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).

Rebels snap Tomahawks win streak, but could not sweep

A few days ago, the Rebels hosted the Johnstown Tomahawks. It was a battle between first and second place in the East Division. Going into the weekend the Tomahawks were on a 17-game win streak trying to get to the record at 24 set last year by Fairbanks. Whereas the Rebels were looking to extend their point streak to seven. Also, the Rebels were just one point ahead of the Titans, so they needed to play their best hockey of the season if they wanted to stay in the top two.

On Friday, the Tomahawks started Carter McPhail. While he is Johnstown’s best net-minder posting the fourth best goals-against-average in the league with a 1.98. His only blemish on his record came from the Rebels back on Oct. 5th when they won 4–1. Since then he has won 12 straight starts and was looking to get revenge on the Rebels once the puck was dropped. Opposite of him was Ryan Keane who has been stellar for the Rebels lately riding three-straight wins. He is also two spots behind McPhail for goals-against-average with a 2.06. Not only do the Tomahawks have some great goaltending but they also are the best power-play team in the league, so staying out of the box over the weekend was key for the Rebels if they wanted to win. Friday marked the first ever Teddy Bear Toss for the Rebels and they did not expect it to come so early. As just 1:36 into the hockey game Alex Frye scored unleashing hundreds of stuffed animals in front of a record-setting attendance of 1,153. The Tomahawks would answer though a little later right after they got done killing a penalty. Towards the end of the first period Jake Felker scored to give his team the lead again and the score would remain 2-1 after the first 20 minutes of play. Jake Felker wasted no time picking up where he left off in the first as he scored his second goal of the game just :32 seconds into the middle period. The Rebels held that lead until there was almost 13 minutes left in the third, then Sam Anzai scored to put the Rebels up by three. The Tomahawks were not able to put up any more goals as the final horn sounded, ending their remarkable win streak at 17. The Rebels extended their point-streak to seven games and evened the season series at 2–2. Ryan Keane also got his fourth straight win as a starter and what is even more impressive is that even though the Tomahawks had the best power play in the league, they went 0/5 on the man-advantage. That has not happened to them since they played New Jersey back on Nov. 16th when they went 0/6. With Alex Frye scoring on Friday he extended his point streak to nine games (9G, 6A).

The next night, the Rebels were riding a huge high as they looked to get their first sweep over the best team in the league. Both teams made changes to their goalies as it was Cooper Lukenda for the Tomahawks and Noah West for the Rebels. Lukenda came in with a record of 6–1 and on a five-game winning streak. Whereas Noah West had not lost in regulation since Oct. 13th, putting him in 13th overall for GAA with 2.47. Antonio Venuto got things going early for the Rebels as not even five minutes into the game he scored to put them up 1–0. It was not until past the half-way point in the first when Johnstown would find the back of the net to tie things up. The score would remain 1–1 until there was about 12 minutes left in the second when Alex Roy scored on a slap shot from the right point on the power play to give the Rebels the lead once again. That was also his first NAHL goal! In the late stages of the middle period the Tomahawks were able to tie the game again as they recorded their first power-play goal of the weekend. The score would remain tied 2–2 after 40 minutes of play. Although it did not stay tied for long as only a minute had passed in the third period when Johnstown scored to give them their first lead of the weekend. The Rebels tried everything they could to answer, even pulling West towards the end of the game to give them the extra attacker. Unfortunately, it would not be successful as the score read 3-2 Tomahawks after 60 minutes.

The Tomahawks were back in the win column and the Rebels received their first regulation loss since Nov. 10th. Johnstown improves to 25-5 (50PTS), whereas the Rebels are now 15-9-2-1 (33PTS). With the Rebels not gaining three or four points over the weekend they were in jeopardy of falling back down to third place had New Jersey swept Maryland. Luckily for the Rebels, the Black Bears won on Sunday by a final of 4–2. With New Jersey losing their record is now 16-12 (32PTS) and they still sit one point behind Jamestown. The Rebels are heading to Scranton, PA this weekend to face the Knights. The Rebels play Wilkes-Barre six out of their next eight games and they currently lead the season series 4–0, so there is a lot of confidence heading into this weekend to try and get a third sweep over the Knights. For ticket information call 716-484-2624.

Tonight’s Match-up

Tonight, your Rebels will go head-to-head against the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Tomahawks are riding a seven-game winning streak and do not seem to be slowing down. During their extensive win streak, they have put up 33GF and have only allowed 16GA. These two teams have only met twice this season back on October 5th and 6th, when they split the weekend and the Rebels took the first game which was Johnstown’s home opener. Since then the Tomahawks have only lost one game and that was to Maryland on October 12th by a score of 3-2. The net-minder that played in that game is no longer with the Tomahawks and after that game is when their streak began. Now the Rebels sitting in third place must play the best team in the league.
While these two teams won’t face each other again until December 7th there is still a lot on the line for both teams. For the Rebels it is mainly about getting back on a winning streak themselves, as their three-game winning streak was snapped after losing in overtime to the Black Bears this past Saturday. Since this is the only game being played tonight in the league, the Rebels will not fall any spots in the division if they lose but if they win, they will be within four points of second place New Jersey. A win tonight will also give the Rebels confidence going into their homes games this weekend against the Northeast Generals who currently sit in fifth place in the East.
As for the Tomahawks they currently have the longest winning streak in the league and are not looking to let that end tonight. A big reason to their success is that their top five players have a combined 106 points (39G, 67A). To put that in perspective the Rebels top five players have a combined 44 points (21G, 23A). Not only have their sticks been on fire but so has their net-minding. Their top goalie Carter McPhail is the third best goalie in the league and his only loss is to the Rebels back on October 5th, since then he won four games and lost zero. He has only given up seven goals and has made a total of 133 saves in just those four games. The other goalie for Tomahawks is Cooper Lukenda who has not lost a start since September 20th. In his past three starts he is 3-0 allowing only nine goals and totaling for 103 saves.
Regardless of who the Tomahawks put in-between the pipes the Rebels will have to put up a lot of shots if they want to get the full two points. The Rebels have beat this team before but when they did the Tomahawks were not on a seven-game winning streak. While this is a crucial game tonight for the Rebels in hopes of climbing up the East Division ladder they do not want to get too banged up as the Northeast Generals are coming to Jamestown, NY this weekend. With a possible six points on the line for the Rebels it is important they come out strong tonight and get the early lead and do not look back. As the Tomahawks are undefeated when leading after the first and second period which only makes it that more important for the Rebels to score first tonight.