The Jamestown Ironmen split a two-game series on the road with the Johnstown (Pa.) Tomahawks this last weekend in North American Hockey League action.
Jamestown (34-16-4) faltered in a 3-1 loss on Friday night at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena. In a tough struggle of a contest, Johnstown (24-20-12) took an early 1-0 lead all the way into the third period before tacking on another score with 15:19 remaining on the clock.
With under two minutes left in the third, the Ironmen pulled their goaltender and paid off as Ryan Doucet notched a goal off of an Evan Ritt assist, but it was too late for Jamestown.
The Tomahawks added an empty net goal en route to the 3-1 victory.
Joey Ballmer made 25 saves between the pipes for Jamestown while the Ironmen were outshot 28-26 on the night.
"We battled pretty hard on Friday," said Ironmen head coach Dan Daikawa. "It was just one of those games where we couldn't finish on some good opportunities."
In the words of Daikawa; the Ironmen "came out flying" on Saturday night on their way to a 3-2 victory.
Jamestown tallied a pair of first-period goals and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Luc Gerdes struck first with a goal five minutes into the game from a Ritt assist. Ross Pavek added the second score by beating the Johnstown goaltender on a power play goal with 3:43 left in the opening period. The assist was credited to Victor Johansson.
The Ironmen got off to another quick start in the second period as Doucet scored an unassisted goal only 19 seconds into the period.
Jamestown held a 3-0 lead into the third until Johnstown got back into the game, scoring a pair of goals in the first 12 minutes of the period. The Ironmen cut the comeback short and held on to get the 3-2 win.
Ballmer made 30 saves in goal to earn the victory while the Ironmen were once again outshot, 32-24.
"It was a good couple of games," said Daikawa. "This weekend was scrappy with some fights, and really had the makings of a great rivalry. When they come to Jamestown to finish up the season, it will definitely be a battle, I can guarantee that."
Jamestown now sits in second place in the North Division, eight points behind the first-place Soo Eagles and a point ahead of the Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings. The Tomahawks are in fourth place in the division, 12 points back from Jamestown.
With six games left on Jamestown's regular-season schedule, they will be battling to finish second in the division, which would give them a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Ironmen will take on the team they are in direct competition with for that No. 2 spot this weekend as they visit the Junior K-Wings for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday.
Jamestown will return home to host a pair of games against the Michigan Warriors at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on March 22 and 23.