Rob Brent | March 4, 2019 | 1:45pm
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets faced off against the Chippewa Steel in a weekend series in the Midwest Division. Despite the Steel’s low position in the standings, the instate rivals always seem to play close games, and this weekend was no different.
The first game saw the Jets turn in a stellar performance that earned them a 5-2 victory in an all around solid effort. The Steel, however, would have their revenge the next night as they defeated Janesville in a shootout by a score of 5-4.
FRIDAY – W, 5-2
Friday’s game started off in a discouraging fashion. The Jets were unable to produce much offense in the early going. Sloppy breakout, and neutral zone play stifled the Jets’ offensive efforts in the first five minutes of the contest. Chippewa would capitalize on the early Jets’ deficiencies by scoring the first goal of the contest. The Steel had gained the man advantage on a high sticking call and then set up in the offensive zone. After a few chances, a Steel defenseman shot the puck on net, but it was blocked by defenseman Stanislav Dosek. Dosek was hobbled by the blocked shot, and therefore unable to clear the puck after it had been stopped. This allowed Chippewa defender Joey Trifone to corral the puck and put a wrist shot on net. This shot was redirected in front, and into the back of the net by Kyle Schroeder (5:32, 1st).
It was after this goal that the game’s dynamic started to change. About four minutes later, the Jets would find themselves on a powerplay of their own, where they opened the scoring on the man advantage. With the extra attacker, defenseman Andrew Hicks and John Prokop played a two man game, passing back and forth. This created an opening as Prokop slid a puck to the top of the left faceoff dot to a waiting Jack Vincent (10:35, 1st) who one-timed the pass into the back of the net. From there, the Jets continued to control play for the rest of the period. Janesville would be rewarded later in the period when they took the lead towards the end of the first frame. With a few minutes remained, the Jets turned a Steel neutral zone turnover into a nifty rush attack. The puck ended up on Jordan Halverson‘s stick, before he deftly backhanded it to Logan Ommen (Making his first start in nearly a month after recovering from an injury), who would then fire it across the slot to a breaking Tommy Middleton (17:27, 1st).
The second period of this contest proved to be fairly uneventful on the score sheet neither team could produce much offense as the two clubs played a tight checking style. However, it would be the home team that finally broke through late in the period. Defenseman Sean Driscoll would start the play all the way in his own defensive zone when he hauled down a Steel offensive player and swiped the puck before sliding it to Justin Engelkes on the breakout. Engelkes then sent the puck to forward Brendon Jones who was just entering the attacking zone. The Steel defender did not apply enough pressure as Jones was able to find open room on the wing and sniped home a wrist shot past the Steel goaltender’s blocker side. (16:16, 2nd).
The Jets entered the third period with a 2 goal lead, but were unsatisfied leaving it at that. Halfway through the period, the Jets would again extend their lead on Chippewa. Janesville would find themselves with a man advantage once again after a Steel defender was called for hooking. The Jets capitalized on the opportunity when John Prokop forced a neutral zone turnover which gave the Jets an odd man rush. Andrew Hicks found the puck and shot it on net, but it redirected out in front. Luckily the puck had redirected onto the blade of Logan Ommen‘s (11:16, 3rd) waiting stick before he pounded it home. Chippewa would answer shortly after that which cut the lead back to two. This happened when a shot from the point found it’s way to the back of the net in front of a screen that did not allow Cole Brady to see the shot. However, Janesville would put the final nail in the coffin a few minutes later. Jack Vincent was in on a two on one when he cut across the crease and dragged the puck from his forehand to his back hand. He tried to slide the puck past the goaltender but was his shot was stopped. However, the puck was cleaned up by Luke Wheeler (15:07, 3rd) as it lay in the crease.
Chippewa goaltender Igor Samokhvalov stopped 30 of 35 shots. Jets goaltender Cole Brady had a sterling game as he stopped 27 of the Steel’s 29 attempts on goal.
SATURDAY- L, 5-4(SO)
Saturday started much as the previous contest had ended. Janesville carried play through much of the first period. Unlike the previous contest, the Jets struck first. This happened about halfway through the period when the Jets went to the man advantage. Brenden Olson controlled the puck along the wall in the Steel zone and then passed the puck back to the point to Jordan Halverson. Halverson moved the puck across the blue line to the other point where Nicholas Nardella had plenty of room. Nardella used this room to skate from the point to the top of the faceoff circle where he fired a shot past the Steel’s goaltender (10:35, 1st). The Jets continued to dominate the rest of the period but could not produce any more goals.
The second period of Saturday night’s game proved to be one of the most eventful (and controversial) of the Jets’ season. Brenden Olson would open up the scoring in the second period, as he danced around a Steel defender and slid the puck into the net for an impressive tally (2:37, 2nd). This would be the only highlight of the Jets for the period. The Steel forced a turnover in the neutral zone which saw them gain a 2 on 1 odd man rush. The Steel forward fired a slapshot on net, which was stopped, but the rebound kicked right onto Connor Smuzl’s stick, who put the puck in the net (3:11, 2nd). Shortly after this, a brawl would erupt in the neutral zone after a big hit. Fists flew, equipment was haphazardly discarded as scores were settled between the two teams. When the dust had settled the score sheet showed as follows.
|03:26||CHP||Matt Clark, Fighting-Major, 5 min|
|03:26||CHP||Matt Clark, Fighting (Secondary)-GM, 20 min|
|03:26||CHP||Matt Clark, Offensive Language-GM, 20 min|
|03:26||CHP||Connor Szmul, Fighting-Major, 5 min|
|03:26||CHP||Connor Szmul, Fighting-10 Misc, 10 min|
|03:26||CHP||Joey Trifone, Roughing-Minor, 2 min|
|03:26||CHP||Joey Trifone, Fighting-10 Misc, 10 min|
|03:26||JNE||Philip Bjorkman, Fighting-Major, 5 min|
|03:26||JNE||Philip Bjorkman, Fighting-10 Misc, 10 min|
|03:26||JNE||Matt Hanewall, Abuse of Official-10 Misc, 10 min|
|03:26||JNE||Logan Ommen, Fighting-Major, 5 min|
|03:26||JNE||Logan Ommen, Fighting (Secondary)-GM, 20 min|
The Steel seemed to be the ones who gleaned momentum as they took control of the second period from there. This was also where a bit of controversy came into play, as the Steel would score to tie the game shortly after the skirmish. Present on the ice for that tying goal was Matt Clark, who had been ejected earlier. He should not have been allowed back in the game, and this was an odd moment. From there, the Steel would continue to put pucks into the back of the net as they added two more tallies before the end of the period, giving them a 4-2 lead.
The third period saw a valiant effort from the Jets, as they peppered the Steel goaltender relentlessly. Forward Erik Palmqvist was a star in the period, as he scored not once, but twice (9:55, 17:37 3rd) to tie the game for Janesville. When the third frame had ended, the Jets had battled back to take the game to overtime, while outshooting the Steel 16-5 in the period. The Jets continued their dominance in the overtime period as they didn’t allow any shots on goal while registering 4 of their own. But they could not find the back of the net. The shootout was finally decisive as Jack Vincent scored a shootout goal in the same manner as he had last weekend against Fairbanks. The goal would not be enough, as Chippewa put home two of their own for a 5-4 shootout victory.
Steel goaltender Josh Langford made 34 saves on 38 shots, while Cole Brady stopped 20 shots out of 24.
AROUND THE DIVISION
Kenai River Brown Bears 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 7 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 2
Kenai River Brown Bears 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 5
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 4
MIDWEST DIVISION STANDINGS
|2||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||49||28-15-3-3||62|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||50||26-20-3-1||56|
|5||Kenai River Brown Bears||49||18-26-3-2||41|
The Janesville Jets will be boarding a plane to Alaska next weekend where they will take on the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Brown Bears are coming off a weekend in which they split with the first place Minnesota Magicians.
The two clubs have split the season thus far, as the Jets have earned 3 wins, as well as taken 3 losses against Kenai River this season.
JANESVILLE JETS TOP SCORERS VS KENAI RIVER (SEASON)
Jets @ Brown Bears | Fri, March 8 | 7:30pm AKST
Jets @ Brown Bears | Sat, Match 9 | 7:30pm AKST
The games can be viewed on HockeyTV with a subscription, or you can follow our live coverage of the matchups on social media.