Danbury, CT- The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks and Johnstown Tomahawks concluded their two-game season opening weekend series with a harsh and physical matchup at the Danbury Ice Arena on Saturday night. Danbury claimed the first game 2-1 on Friday night. Johnstown paid them back with a 2-0 shutout spearheaded by a 20 save effort by Alec Rajalin-Scharp. The Swedish goaltender stopped every shot faced in his debut on North American ice.
The two Johnstown goals came late in the second period. Ryan Panico tipped in a shot at the 15:44 mark of the frame and Ryan Vellucci tipped a puck home 56 seconds later at 16:40. Gabriel Lunn recorded assists on both goals and notched three points on the weekend series. Justin Rapp and Will Lawrence also recorded assists.
Adam Johnson (’02) recorded 40 saves on 42 shots faced. Across both games of the series, the Chicago, IL, native stopped 81 of 84 shots to open the season.
The hallmark of the game was a parade of penalties. The teams combined for 21 penalties for a total of 102 penalty minutes. Six different players went to the sin bin for fighting penalties.
Both teams emerge from the weekend with a 1-1 record. Both move on to the NAHL Showcase at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota, at which all NAHL teams will be participating, and playing teams who are not regularly on the schedule.
The Hat Tricks will face the Kenai River Brown Bears on September 14th at 4:30 PM CT, 5:30 PM ET, the Minot Minotaurs on September 15th at 11 AM CT, 12 PM ET, the Austin Bruins On September 16th at 2:30 PM CT, 3:30 PM ET, and the El Paso Rhinos on September 17th at 10 AM CT, 11 AM ET. The Hat Tricks return home to Hat City to face the New Jersey Generals for a two game series on September 23rd and 24th, both at 7 PM ET. All games will be carried live on Hockey TV.