By Rob Brent | February 11, 2019 | 1:00pm
JANESVILLE, WI – The Jets traveled to Chippewa last weekend to take on the Steel. The affair with the instate rival saw close action in both games, but it would be the Jets that prevailed in the battle of Wisconsin.
The Chippewa Steel may sit a the bottom of the Midwest division standings, but have been playing much better hockey as of late. This improvement showed as they took Janesville to the limit. The first game went to overtime, and the second ended with only a goal setting the two teams apart.
FRIDAY – W, 2-1 (OT)
Friday night started off on a promising note, as the Jets peppered the Steel’s goaltender in the first period. Shot after shot would not find the back of the net, but Janesville dominated the early going of this matchup. Not even two early penalties could stop the Jets, as they killed off both with ease, allowing no shots on goal while shorthanded. The Jets’ dominance would finally be rewarded with five minutes left in the first period. Jets forward Erik Bargholtz (14:25, 1st) finally netted the game’s first goal on a shot from high in the faceoff circle. The goal was facilitated by a nice pass in the neutral zone from Sean Driscoll after the puck had been played back to him from Nick Gonrowski. The rest of the period was quiet as both goalies put in a good performance to keep the game at a 1-0 Jets’ lead going into the second period. The Jets outshot the Steel 17-5 in the first frame.
The second period would start with Janesville performing a parade to the penalty box. In the first ten minutes of the period the Jets committed four minor penalties. Although the penalty kill was able to remain perfect, the Steel managed to tie the game between powerplays. The Steel passed their way into an odd man rush which resulted in forward Killian Kiecker-Olson (3:06, 2nd) finding himself alone in front of the net. Kiecker-Olson made no mistakes and shot the puck past the outstretched Jets’ goaltender. The rest of the period remained scoreless, and the game would go to a third period needing a decisive result.
The third period turned out to be fairly uneventful as neither team could score the potential game winning goal. Neither team went to the penalty box either, and so the game would go to overtime. The Jet’s would score the game winner in overtime on a nifty defensive play. As the steel skated through the neutral zone, Jack Vincent stepped up into the Steel attacker, separating him from the puck. The loose puck was picked up by a racing Matt Hanewall, who would drag the puck from his forehand to his backhand before roofing the puck past an outstretched Chippewa goalie. This was Hanewall’s second overtime goal in a row, as he had put the Jets past the Jr. Blues the previous Saturday.
The final shots on goal total was 39-27 in favor of the Jets.
SATURDAY – W, 3-2
The first period of Saturday’s night game proved to be a jarring contrast to the prior contest. Chippewa seemed to make a conscious effort to slow the game down, and it worked to great effect. Chippewa blocked shots, mucked up the neutral zone and limited offensive production. At the end of the period, neither team had scored, and the Steel had outshot the Jets 7-2.
This defensive performance continued in the second period, as a relatively slow paced game played out. The first goal of the contest was scored, after what felt like an eternity, halfway through the period. The scorer of the Steel’s only goal Friday night struck again. Killian Kiecker-Olson (11:29, 2nd) parked himself in the slot and waited for the puck to make his way to his stick. When it finally did, Kiecker-Olson roofed the puck past Jets goaltender Sam Metcalf to the put Chippewa on the board first.
The third period started no different, as the Jets’ offense just could not get anything going. Both teams appeared to be playing in quicksand the entire game. Just when it seemed like there would be no breakthrough, the Jets finally got on the board for their first goal of the game. Off of a faceoff in the offensive zone the Jets’ center cleanly won the faceoff to winger Nicholas Nardella. Nardella would immediately play the puck back to Sean Driscoll. Driscoll slid the puck across the ice to Philip Bjorkmann (10:13, 3rd) who wristed home the game tying goal. With about 4 minutes remaining in the period, the Jets would take their first lead of the game when Matt Hanewall fired a pass to Nicholas Nardella (16:11, 3rd) across the crease who pumped the puck into the net. With a minute remaining and the Steel goaltender pulled, Matt Hanewall (19:03, 3rd) would ice the game on an empty net goal of off a nice defensive play and pass by Sean Driscoll. The Steel’s Hutson Collins (20:00 3rd) scored as time expired but the game had already been decided.
With the game winner, Matt Hanewall has scored the Jets’ last three game winning goals, and has now scored more goals than any other Jet this season. Goaltender Sam Metcalf played a crucial role in both games, and in his last three starts has allowed an average of 1.92 goals per game and is saving 93.7% of shots coming his way.
AROUND THE DIVISION
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Springfield Jr. Blues 1 @ Minnesota Magicians 0
Topeka Pilots 0 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4
Corpus Christi IceRays 1 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 5
Springfield Jr. Blues 2 @ Minnesota Magicians 3
Topeka Pilots 1 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4
Corpus Christi IceRays 5 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 1
MIDWEST DIVISION STANDINGS
|Fairbanks Ice Dogs
|Springfield Jr. Blues
|Kenai River Brown Bears
The Jets will return to Janesville to take on the Springfield Jr. Blues. This will be the third meeting between the two clubs in four weeks. In the previous two meetings, The Jets have played to an even 2-2 record. This is a crucial meeting as the Jr. Blues sit back only two points in the standings from the Jets’ third place perch.
The Jr. Blues have been hot lately, as they took two games out of three from the division leading Minnesota Magicians. The Jets can pad their lead on the Jr. Blues with a sweep at home this weekend putting them in a good position going into the playoffs.
Jets vs. Jr. Blues | Fri Feb 15 | 7:05pm CST
Jets vs. Jr. Blues | Sat Feb 16 | 7:05pm CST
Tickets this weekend are available Online or at any Lions Quick Mart location.