By Mason Lyttle
DULUTH, MN — The Janesville Jets saw their tremendous season come to an end Friday night with a 3-1 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas, the eventual Robertson Cup Champions.
After losing Game 1 in overtime, the Jets needed a win Friday night to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game 3. Two lineup changes were made following the gritty, physical Game 1. Forward Ian Malcolmson came out for Brenden MacLaren, and defenseman Carter Ekberg sat in place of Colin Felix.
It was clear from the start that Game 2 would be just as chippy and physical as the opener, if not more so, and with fewer official repercussions. Through the first two periods, each team had laid several heavy hits, and the teams combined for nearly a dozen sticks broken, many broken across opposing players.
After 40 minutes, the scoresheet was completely blank: no penalties and no goals to show. Each goaltender was perfect. Lone Star’s Max Prawdzik was 19/19 and Jake Barczewski was 24/24.
The third period was a completely different story. Not two minutes had passed before the game’s first penalty was finally assessed. Jakov Novak filled the penalty box for cross checking, and the Jets killed about a minute of his minor before Pete Kessel opened the scoring, just as he had in Game 1. A minute later, Adam Roeder skated the puck into the neutral zone on a 2-on-2 with Kip Hoffmann. He dished to Hoffmann, who gained the blue line and sniped in the game-tying goal, his ninth goal in his ninth playoff game.
With less than two minutes left, Cole Paskus was assessed a tripping call, giving the Brahmas just the second power play opportunity for either team. Defenseman Jakub Melisko threw a shot on from the left point which Drake Glover tipped past Barczewski for the 2-1 lead. The Jets pulled Barczewski on their next offensive zone possession, but Kessel fired in an empty netter from his own zone to seal the game and end the season for Janesville.
Max Prawdzik earned the win, stopping 20 of 21 shots. Jake Barczewski allowed just two goals, both on the power play, but lost with a 31/33 night.