BLAINE, MN — The first win of the 2019-20 season came in blowout fashion for the Janesville Jets, as three different defensemen combined for four goals in a 5-0 win over the Northeast Generals at the 2019 NAHL Showcase tournament. Goaltender Cristian Wong-Ramos made 21 saves for his first career NAHL shutout.
“The entire game our whole team played well,” Wong-Ramos said. “Me personally, yeah, but it was a great game for everybody. Just a great team effort and hopefully we can carry on through the weekend.”
Wong-Ramos is no stranger to the Schwan Super Rink. The eight-sheet ice arena has hosted playoff tournaments for the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, where Wong-Ramos played four seasons between the 16U San Jose Jr. Sharks and the U18 Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Every game I play is something special, but this rink means a lot to me,” said Wong-Ramos. “Everytime I come here, just like anywhere else too, I think it’s a great day because I’m playing hockey.”
Responding to a tough opening night loss was crucial for the 2000-born goaltender, head coach Corey Leivermann said.
“I think Cristian’s gonna keep improving with confidence,” Leivermann said. “It looked like a tough loss for him last Friday, but he played pretty well. The question was, ‘how do you respond?’ and you clearly saw the answer today. We have the best goalie coach in the NAHL in Larry Clemens, so he’ll only get better. Now it’s on the young guy, Grant Riley, to show he’s not far behind tomorrow.”
In front of Wong-Ramos, Leivermann saw a consistent effort.
“We got a great goaltending performance, a full six defensemen performance, four lines rolling…it’s about ‘together.’ That’s what we preach. Together, compete, effort. We saw it for three periods today, and for a coaching staff that’s all you can ask for.”
The teams felt each other out through much of the first until Nick Gonrowski (13:19 1st) picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat rookie goaltender Joey Stanizzi. Late in the period, a Generals turnover sent a puck to Jackson Sabo (18:58 1st), who took advantage of his time and space in front to bury his third goal of the season.
Early in the second, Swedish rookie defenseman Ivar Sjölund (1:29 2nd) walked in front the right point and sniped his first career NAHL goal, extending the Jets’ lead to 3-0. Cristian Wong-Ramos made a career highlight-reel save a few minutes later, denying the Generals a power play goal on a rebound opportunity with an outstretched glove to snag a puck right on the goal line.
Janesville opened the third period with a quick pair of goals to open the lead up even further. First it was Nick Gonrowski (1:52 3rd) scoring his second of the game on an odd-man rush, then veteran defenseman Philip Björkman (2:35 3rd) picked up his first of the season. Gonrowski’s goal was scored with one second left of a four-on-four, narrowly missing the window for his first career short-handed goal.
The Jets continue their Showcase schedule Thursday with an 8:00pm CT date with the Austin Bruins. All NAHL Showcase games are broadcast in HD live on HockeyTV.