Daniil Bokun’s three-point game help lead the Johnstown Tomahawks to a 4 – 2 win over the visiting Aston Rebels. It was only the second game out of eleven between the two teams this season that the game wasn’t decided by a goal.
Having clinched the division and wanting to prepare for next weekend’s first round of the playoffs, head coach Joe Coombs rightly decided to give extra playing time to some players while resting others – including five who had a combined 218 points on the season.
Bokun would get his first point of the evening just 3:40 into the game when he setup Nick Bruce for his twenty seventh goal of the season. After Johnstown won the draw deep inside the Rebels nearside faceoff circle, the puck went back to the point to Bokun. Bokun then passed it over to Donovan Ott who in turn passed it back to Bokun. The Johnstown defender took a shot from the point that was redirected by Bruce past Rebels goaltender Mareks Mitens to give the Tomahawks a 1 – 0 lead. It was the first shot on goal of the game for either team.
After Dustin Manz dumped the puck into the Johnstown zone for a line change the puck was retrieved by Brandon Young who passed it over to Bokun on his right. Bokun passed it up to Cade Groton. Groton entered the Rebels zone and took a shot at the top of the far side faceoff circle that beat Mitens long side to give the Tomahawks a 2 – 0 lead at the 9:06 mark of the first period. It was Groton’s first NAHL goal.
The Rebels didn’t cave in after being down early in the open period. Carter Woolley picked off a Johnstown outlet pass inside the Tomahawks’ zone and he passed it to Jensen Zerban at the far side boards. Zerban passed it downlow to Andrew Hart who went behind the net and passed it back to Zerban in the corner. Zerban skated to the bottom of the far side faceoff circle and passed the puck back to Andrew Noel at the point. Noel took a clapper that was redirected by Hart in the slot past Johnstown’s netminder Vinnie Purpura to cut the deficit in half with 7:09 remaining in the first. It was Hart’s eleventh goal on the season.
Johnstown would regain the two-goal lead at 2:18 into the second period. Auggie Moore was called for boarding at 1:55 into the middle stanza to put the Tomahawks on the power play. Thomas Horn would bring the puck into the Rebels and skated towards Aston’s far side faceoff circle. He passed the puck back to the point to Filips Buncis, who passed it over to his right to Adam Pilewicz. Pilewicz passed up to Hayden Rowan who passed to his to Bokun on his left. Bokun sent a pass back to Buncis at the far side blueline and he took a slapshot that beat Mitens long side for his eleventh goal on the season.
The Rebels would cut the lead in half again midway through the second period. Johnstown dumped the puck into the Aston zone where it was picked up by Justin Smith. Smith skated to the top of the far side faceoff circle and sent a bounce pass off the boards to Carson Briere at the Johnstown blueline. Briere sent a soft touch pass to Gianluca Esteves who was entering the Tomahawks’ zone. Esteves walked in all alone and beat Purpura short side for his seventeenth goal on the season.
Johnstown would make it a 4 -2 game at 2:03 into the final period on Ott’s thirty second goal on the season with assists from Dalton Hunter and Rowan.
Mitens would finish the evening stopping fourteen of eighteen shots while Purpura turned aside nineteen of twenty-one shots. Click here for the box score.
These two teams will conclude the regular season tonight when they meet at 7pm.
Photo credit: The Aston Rebels again would like to thank photographer extraordinaire Phil Andraychak for providing photos from last night’s game.