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Tomahawks Beat Soo in 4-3 Shootout

Via Johnstowntomahawks.com


On a night when nothing came easily for the home team, the Johnstown Tomahawks outlasted the Soo Eagles, defeating the visitors 4-3 in a shootout in front of a crowd of nearly 3,000 fans at the Cambria County War Memorial.
 
Repeating the script from Friday's series opener, the Eagles struck first when Sandis Zolmanis tapped a rebound past Johnstown goaltender Alex Okicki to take a 1-0 lead. What followed was a physical period marred by a total of 33 penalty minutes, including a game ejection for head contact to Soo's Kristofers Bindulis. And just like the previous game between the two teams, Johnstown made the Eagles pay with a a power play goal, which came off the stick of Tyler Basham with 0:17 remaining in the period. Basham's fifth of the year was assisted by Mitch Hall and Dakoda Menslage.
 
Soo regained the lead 11:15 into the second, when forward Brad Pung fought his way to the puck and slammed it past Okicki for the 2-1 lead. But Johnstown again answered with a goal late in the period. Forward Brandon Reinholz won a face-off in the offensive zone and left the puck for forward Jordan Watt, who snapped the puck past Skoog for his 21stgoal of the year with 1:20 remaining.
 
The game stood at a tense 2-2 tie for most of the third period, until Matt Meier broke the tie at 16:46, when he received a pass from Hall below the goal line and snapped it into the net for his 20th of the year.
 
Johnstown's Brandon Reinholz, however, was soon sent to the penalty box for a head contact call, giving Soo a man-advantage in the final minutes of the period. At 17:44, Soo's Michael Sabatini tapped in a backdoor goal, mirroring Meier's effort from just a minute earlier, and sending the game to overtime.
 
The overtime period yielded no goals, despite a pair of Tyler Basham chances that nearly beat Skoog. Basham, though, finally found the net during the ensuing shootout, giving Johstown a 1-0 edge as the Tomahawk's first shooter.
 
The advantage stood until Matt Menta charged straight towards Okicki on his shootout attempt, beating the goalie with a quick deke to even the score. Hall, however, regained the lead on the next attempt, fooling Skoog with a slow series of moves ending in a backhand shot.
 
Okicki clinched the shootout win on the next attempt, meeting Brunno Birzitis' shot with a quick pad save. Okicki, though, was injured on the play.
 
The win keeps the Tomahawks (28-24-5, 61 points) in fourth place of the North Division, holding pace with the third-place Janesville Jets (29-24-4, 62 points). Soo, meanwhile, moves to 23-26-8 (54 points) on the year.
 
Okikci stopped 38 of 41 shots on the night, while Skoog stopped 30 of 33. Johnstown's powerplay was 1-for six on the evening, while Soo was 1-for-5 on the man-advantage.
 
The Tomahawks will finish their three-game home stand with the Soo Eagles on Sunday at 3:00 pm at the Cambria County War Memorial. For tickets or additional information, call 814-536-GOAL (4625), visit www.JohnstownTomahawks.com or email info@JohnstownTomahawks.com.
 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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