BLAINE, MN — The Janesville Jets‘ high-flying NAHL Showcase performance was finally grounded Friday night.
The East Division’s Maryland Black Bears downed the Jets, 4-1, in a chippy, physical, and at times emotional contest at the Schwan Super Rink. The Jets’ penalty kill unit had a busy but solid evening, killing all six Black Bear power plays and even picking up a shorthanded goal in the third period, but Janesville’s slow start was too much to overcome.
“It was a disappointing start, to be honest,” said head coach Corey Leivermann. “I thought some guys would step up. With new bodies in the lineup and a chance to showcase ourselves we fell flat. Our slow start fed into their momentum and we took way too many penalties. Time to bounce back. Time to take care of our bodies and be ready to go tomorrow. Four [games] in four [days] is a grind.”
The Black Bears got going early with a pair of goals in the opening six minutes, the first of which from Emil Gabrielson (2:05 1st) ended the Jets’ Showcase scoreless streak. Then it was former Coulee Region Chill defenseman Logan Kons (5:12 1st) doubling Maryland’s lead. Each team’s power play unit stretched its legs in the first, but neither converted.
Maryland increased their lead early in the second when a loose puck found its way to Jackson Sterrett‘s (3:43 2nd) stick, and the UMass-Lowell recruit scored his second of the season.
Janesville’s comeback hopes perked up early in the third period with a special teams effort. On the penalty kill, Nick Nardella (3:35 3rd) picked off a neutral zone pass and slipped the puck five-hole for a shorthanded tally, his first goal of the season. Playing through foggy ice-level conditions,
Maryland regained their three-goal lead, though, when Jack Hillman (8:04 3rd) wired a shot short-side for the game’s final goal.
The Jets’ 2019 NAHL Showcase concludes tomorrow with a 4:00pm CT matinee versus the St. Cloud Blizzard. That game and all regular season and playoff games this season will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com.