Ironmen clinch postseason bye

The Jamestown Ironmen finished their regular season Friday and Saturday with a two-game set against the Johnstown Tomahawks at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.

Jamestown earned a split of the two-game series and secured the North Division’s second seed for the upcoming North Atlantic Hockey League playoffs.

The Ironmen (37-19-4) entered Friday night’s game looking to secure a first round bye in the upcoming NAHL playoffs. A win would have clinched second place in the powerful North Division, but Jamestown was defeated, 5-0.

The first period of play was action packed as the Tomahawks jumped out to a two goal lead with goals by Cobi Smith-Mass and Brandon Reinholz. Assisting on those goals were Reinholz, Jeff Bergh and Connor Wright.

Mitch Hall added the Tomahawks’ third goal early in the third period, assisted by Reinholz, and Johnstown would later add a pair of empty net goals to close out the scoring.

On Saturday, the intensity picked up and the match featured a brawl that included players from both sides being ejected from the game. Jamestown’s leading scorer, Luc Gerdes, was checked hard during the first period and his status for the postseason remains unclear.

Johnstown’s Jesse Kessler started the scoring with a first period power play goal, but the Ironmen would respond by scoring the last two goals of a 2-1 victory.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the final period, Jamestown got on the board when Nathan Ropelewski scored from outside the blue line on an assist from Huba Sekesi.

Ropelewski’s goal gave new life to the Ironmen and Daniel Cesarz scored what would prove to be the gamewinning goal just over one minute later. Jamestown goalkeeper Joey Ballmer faced a flurry of shots late in the game, but saved them all to secure the 2-1 win and second seed in the North Division.

The second-place finish gives Jamestown a first round bye in April’s playoffs. The NAHL will release its playoff schedule later this week.