Eckerle Scores Twice, Jets Survive for Split

Jan 21, 2018

By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | Jan 20, 2018 | 9:56pm

RICHFIELD, MN — The Jets capitalized on early mistakes, building a 3-1 lead which they held for nearly 55 minutes. Minnesota struck twice in five minutes to tie the game, but TJ Polglaze and the Jets emerged on top.


[Box Score]

Janesville again allowed the game’s first goal, and again in the first five minutes when Brendan Skarda (3:05 1st) drove wide to Garrett Nieto‘s blocker side and deposited his eighth goal of the season. The Jets responded quickly. Extending his point streak to 12 games, Jakov Novak carried a puck down to the the left faceoff dot and picked a corner to tie the game at 1-1. On a late penalty kill, Benji Eckerle poked a puck loose at the defensive blue line to break himself free, but was denied his first NAHL goal from Magicians goalie Isaiah Saville. Another minor was assessed to TJ Polglaze with 26 seconds left in the period, giving the Jets a two-man disadvantage to start the second.

In a dazzling display of penalty-killing and perseverance, Benji Eckerle (1:32 1st) earned his second shorthanded breakaway chance of the evening. Saville made a blocker save on the shot, but Eckerle smacked home the rebound from mid-air to put the Jets ahead 2-1. Not five minutes later, Benji Eckerle (6:06 2nd) struck twine again, this time roofing a shot from 20 feet out and forcing the Magicians to burn their timeout. The Jets kept pressing, growing their lead in shots to 24-12 by the time Logan Ommen split the defense for another breakaway, but Saville closed the five-hole on him. The Magicians pushed in the last minute, generating a couple of grade-A looks, but missed empty nets each time. After 40 minutes, the Jets held a 3-1 lead.

The third period was mostly quiet for about the first 15 minutes until Matthew Stanton (14:14 3rd) put his Magicians to within one.  The Jets killed a late penalty and it looked over, but with their net empty and five seconds left on the clock, the Magicians found the game-tying goal from Ben Schultheis (19:55 3rd).

For the second straight overtime game, it was alternate captain TJ Polglaze (4:16 OT) burying a backdoor pass from Novak, sealing the game and creating a little point streak of his own, now at four games.

Garrett Nieto (14-3-0-0) made 24 saves in the win, opposite the busier Isaiah Saville (12-9-1-0), who turned aside 36 of Janesville’s 40 shots.

The Jets return to Janesville for a Friday showdown with the division-leading Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Van Galder Night. You can buy your tickets online, or head to any Janesville area Lions Quick Mart location to save $2 on undated ticket vouchers. Watch the Jets all season on HockeyTV and stay connected through Facebook and Twitter.