David Tomeo has shown repeatedly in the past that he is comfortable under the bright spotlight of big games.
The Johnstown Tomahawks goalie turned in the latest of his high-profile performances last Monday and Tuesday when he stopped every shot he faced while helping the East Division team win both of its games in the event in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
“I went last year, so obviously, there was no more fear of the unknown,” Tomeo said. “I knew where I was going to be staying, where we would be playing, it was in the East Division, and that’s where the (Northeast) Generals play and it’s a rink I’ve played in so many times.”
The 20-year-old from West Caldwell, New Jersey, played well a year ago while representing the Maryland Black Bears on the East Division team, stopping 31 of 33 shots while splitting a pair of decisions.
That, however, was nothing compared to this week in front of nearly 200 scouts there to watch the league’s top players who are not yet committed to colleges.
Tomeo made 13 saves in Monday’s win over the Midwest Division, and then 12 Tuesday against Selects Blue as the East posted a pair of 3-1 victories.
“I felt so comfortable,” Tomeo said. “You just know what to expect from the crowds and everything. And, honestly, I was on a great team. Team East was really good. We were just one heckuva team. We felt like a normal team and really hit it off. It was awesome.”
Before starting what has turned into a three-plus year, NAHL career, Tomeo had already been the winning goalie in championship game victories at Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Nationals three times with two different teams.
Playing up in age, Tomeo won his first national title close to home with a 26-save shutout in the 2011 championship game of the 12-and-under tournament that no longer exists. He helped the New Jersey Colonials to a 3-0 victory over the Florida Everblades.
At Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota, Tomeo led the storied Sabres program to its first-ever national titles on both the 14-and-under and 16-and-under levels in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
In 2014, Tomeo made 30 saves in a 4-2 championship game victory over the Chicago Mission to complete a five-game tournament in which he stopped 104 of 110 shots.
Two years later, he had a lighter workout with a 16-save shutout in a 7-0 win over Honeybaked from Michigan at Amherst, New York.
The effort in the Top Prospects Tournament did what it was intended to do, boost Tomeo’s profile among college recruiters.
“There are some good developments,” Tomeo said. “It helps grow college interest. My goal is to play at the D-I level and, I think, when you play well in an event that the North American Hockey League puts on where there are so many Division I schools there, it helps, at minimum, to get you on some schools’ radars.”
After putting on an individual show when needed, Tomeo has a team goal remaining. He would like to be able to share his past championship experiences with his current teammates. The Tomahawks are 30-13-2-2 and second in the East Division.
“The Johnstown Tomahawks are one of the best organizations in the North American Hockey League and Mike Letizia is one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for; he’s someone who really believes in myself and this group,” Tomeo said. “It’s one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on.
“We haven’t won a championship in this organization’s history. It would be so special. As someone, who has been with the first championship in other organizations, you know how special that first one is. It’s something that I want this group to be a part of and to be remembered as a championship team and as brothers forever.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.