By Mason Lyttle
Friday, September 16: Minnesota Wilderness 4, Janesville Jets 5
Shots: Wilderness 38, Jets 31
PP: Wilderness 1-6, Jets 0-1
The Janesville Jets (1-0-0) opened their eighth season in the North American Hockey League with a home win over the Minnesota Wilderness (0-1-0), who eliminated the Jets in each of the past two postseasons. Janesville leaned on its offensive firepower and a strong penalty kill unit to dispose of their interdivisional rivals.
Jets veteran forward Adrian Holesinsky (7:18 1st) finished a pretty tic-tac-toe play with Chris Dodero and Keegan Miller to open the scoring. The Wilderness tied it three minutes later with a goal from Ryan Peterson (10:16 1st). Dodero (13:44 1st) regained the Jets advantage with his first in the NAHL before Kip Hoffmann (16:12 1st) doubled the lead.
The Janesville Ice Arena hosted 794 NHL points in its stands with Eddie Olczyk in attendance, who watched his son, Nick Olczyk (8:26 2nd), bring Minnesota back to within one with a short-handed goal. Tristan Rostagno (12:16 2nd) tied things four minutes later, but Janesville would add a short-handed marker of their own as Colorado College commit Jack Gates (17:46 2nd) put his Jets ahead for good. Alternate captain and Madison native Cole Paskus (19:00 2nd) added the game winner just 74 seconds later.
Seven minutes into the third period, Adrian Holesinsky was ejected after receiving a 20 minute match penalty for kicking. Holesinsky was aggressively backchecking on a developing two-on-one for Minnesota when a Wilderness player collided with rookie goaltender Derek Schaedig, leading to a scrum. The Jets successfully killed the five minute major, but just seven seconds after returning to full strength, found themselves on their seventh penalty kill of the night when Hoffmann was assessed a tripping minor. After killing ten minutes of minor penalties and a five minute major, the Jets’ short-handed unit finally broke down as Minnesota’s Dylan Mills (13:28 3rd) cut Janesville’s lead in half with the game’s final goal.
Jets goaltender Derek Schaedig (1-0-0) won his first junior hockey match, stopping 34 of 38 pucks, many on a man advantage. Dylan Lubbesmeyer (0-1-0) received the loss for Minnesota, making 17 saves on 19 shots in relief of Trevor Micucci, who allowed three goals on 12 shots. Paskus (1G, 0A) was the game’s first star, followed by Olczyk (1G, 0A) and Gates (1G, 1A).
Saturday, September 17: Minnesota Wilderness 1, Janesville Jets 4
Shots: Wilderness 28, Jets 28
PP: Wilderness 0-3, Jets 2-4
The Janesville Jets (2-0-0) again rode strong special teams play to complete the sweep of the Minnesota Wilderness (0-2-0) at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Jets forward and Brown University recruit Michael Maloney (3:45 1st) converted the Jets’ first power play and set the tone early with his first of the season. Rookie defenseman Blake Terry (10:35 1st) scored the eventual game winner as forward Jakov Novak’s pass from the corner found him driving the lane. Janesville received 36 penalty minutes in the final 22 seconds of the period, beginning when Paskus was assessed a double minor and a game ejection for checking from behind, followed by Cullen Munson receiving an ten minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct at the horn.
After killing Paskus’ double minor, the Jets tacked on another when forward Brendan MacLaren (6:53 2nd) scored his first NAHL goal. Late in the period, Minnesota’s Michael Mahan (15:00 2nd) buried a rebound and finally got something past Derek Schaedig.
Schaedig added 10 more saves in the third period to preserve the win, while Munson (19:54 3rd) potted a 4-on-6 empty netter on the penalty kill.
Trevor Micucci (0-1-0) made 24 saves on 27 shots, but it was Schaedig (2-0-0) who stood tall, turning away 27 of Minnesota’s 28 shots on goal. Schaedig’s efforts earned him the game’s first star, with captain Adam Roeder (0G, 1A) and Cullen Munson (1G, 0A) rounding out.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 vs. Aston Rebels – 1:15 p.m.
Thursday, September 22, 2016 vs. Shreveport Mudbugs – 8:15 p.m.
Friday, September 23, 2016 vs. Northeast Generals – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 24, 2016 vs. Amarillo Bulls – 12:30 p.m.
The Janesville Jets will head to Blaine, Minnesota, thisweek to take part in the 14th annual NAHL Showcase Tournament, beginning Wednesday at the Schwan Super Rink. All games will be broadcasted live on FASTHockey.com, and Jets home play-by-play broadcaster Mike Hammett will provide commentary. Last season’s Showcase brought more than 330 NHL, NCAA, and junior hockey scouts to the four-day event. The Schwan Super Rink, a $21 million project built in 1998, is the largest ice arena complex in the world, featuring eight sheets of ice in its 300,000 square foot facility.
Since their inception in 2009, the Jets hold a 15-11-1 record in NAHL Showcase games. The Jets split their four matches last season, beating the Topeka RoadRunners and the Minnesota Magicians each by a score of 2-0, while dropping one-goal contests to the Odessa Jackalopes (3-2) and the Aberdeen Wings (1-0). Jack LaFontaine, who was selected 75th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in June’s NHL Draft, shut out Topeka and held Aberdeen to just one marker, stopping 48 of 49 shots between the two contests.
Midwest Division Recap:
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs exploded for 14 goals in their three-game interdivisional sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners at the Kansas ExpoCentre, and held Topeka to just one tally each night. Within the Midwest, the newcomer Minnesota Magicians battled back to split their home series against the Springfield Jr. Blues, with each team taking a 4-2 victory home.
Midwest Division Standings:
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3-0-0, 6 points
Janesville Jets 2-0-0, 4 points
MN Magicians 1-1-0, 2 points
Springfield Jr. Blues 1-1-0, 2 points
Coulee Region Chill 0-0-0, 0 points
Kenai River Brown Bears 0-0-0, 0 points