Johnstown Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia was looking for a veteran presence to step up in their second pre-season game.
He may have shown up in the form of Tanner Barnes.
Barnes, a forward, netted two goals, including the game-winner, as the Tomahawks hung on for a 4-3 exhibition win over Springfield Sunday morning at Galactic Ice.
The Burnsville, Minnesota native split time between the Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild and the Tomahawks. He combined for nine goals and 13 assists with both clubs, and scored twice while recording three assists this weekend.
Johnstown broke the ice 3:36 into the game, thanks to a goal by forward Peter Bates to put the Tomahawks up 1-0 at the end of one period.
The second period probably featured the most offense in the two games this weekend.
Springfield's Jordan Mardirossian was sent off with an interference penalty at the 5:08 mark of the period. That set up Dakoda Menslage for the power play goal to put Johnstown up by 2.
Nick Bondra, son of former NHL star Peter Bondra, broke the shutout just under a minute later, cutting the deficit back to one.
Barnes wrapped up the period with the Tomahawks third tally for the 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
The third period was where things got interesting.
With 1:28 to play in the frame and the game tied, there was confusion in front of the Pics net because some players had thought goalie Mike Dion froze the puck. It turned out that the puck just squeaked by him and ended up in the crease for the game-winning goal scored by Barnes.
Tanner, who is one of 13 players returning in training camp for the Tomahawks, was impressed by the use of their speed.
"We're a lot faster team than last season," he said. "We were all working speed, and with speed, it creates opportunities in front of the net and to just bang them home."
He was also pleased to see how rookie teammates made the adjustment to the new system.
"With our veteran presence we were all helping out the rookies and they're playing really well, and as team we're playing well as a whole."
The Tomahawks must cut their roster from 31 to 25 by today.
Their season opener is set for Saturday,?Sept. 13, on the road against the Keystone Miners. The home opener is Wednesday,?Sept. 17, against Aberdeen.
SCORE BY PERIOD
Springfield 0 2 1 - 3
Johnstown1 2 1 - 4
1, J - Bates (Recktenwald, Menslage), 3:36.
2, J - Menslage (Osko), 6:19; 3, S - Bondra (Rogers), 7:14; 4, S - Carricato (Bryan), 13:53; 5, Barnes (Jaeckle), 18:51.
6, S - Sriprajittichai (unassisted), 9:42; 7, J - Barnes (Bates), 18:32.
Goalies - Springfield - Dion 29-33; Johnstown - Gwillim 24-27.
Power Play - Springfield 0-for-4; Johnstown 1-for-4.