RICHFIELD, MN — The Jets secured a crucial 5-1 win over the Minnesota Magicians on Friday night to stay close in the playoff hunt. The Anchorage Wolverines won over the Chippewa Steel, keeping the points deficit for Janesville at two. They can secure a sweep over the Magicians with a win, who are playing their final game in Richfield, Minnesota, before moving to Eagle River, Wisconsin.
Friday night’s game was the first meeting between the Jets and Magicians since November 27, a 4-0 shutout win for Janesville. Entering the final regular-season series, Minnesota was four points behind the Jets and six outside of playoff positioning. With the Friday loss, their chances of squeaking into the postseason are bleak. Minnesota has six games left for 12 potential points, as do the Jets. Minnesota’s remaining schedule is slightly more favorable than Janesville’s, though the Magicians’ final season in the State of Hockey will end in Alaska against the Brown Bears and Wolverines. The Jets will have to host the St. Cloud Norsemen and Minnesota Wilderness, then finish in Springfield against the Jr. Blues.
A game full of animosity, hits, and back-and-forth screaming spanned the full 60 minutes of the game. It had been four months since the two met, but they had no trouble reigniting the fire right after puck drop. Only six minutes into the game, the Magi took a checking from behind penalty to set the physical tone. Janesville went to a 5-on-3 power play following consecutive hooking and delay of game minors against the Magi. What happened early in that two-man advantage was, what we’d call, magical.
Another Michigan goal? Nope. A FAKE Michigan goal??? Oh yeah 😎 Cy LeClerc and Zigi Lasak pulled off some incredible trickery for a very strong Goal of the Year candidate last night. See for yourself! #WheelsUp✈ #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/CTBGmx4JaA
— Janesville Jets (@JanesvilleJets1) April 2, 2022
Cy LeClerc, who has scored the Michigan goal twice already this year, faked the whacky move to the near post, while Zigi Lasak picked up the puck behind the net and wrapped it around to the far post for an incredible goal. The goaltender Josh Seeley understandably played the lacrosse-style goal, but the chemistry between Cy and Zigi created some great trickery for a fantastic score.
The first period went scoreless after Zigi’s goal, but it didn’t take long into the second for the Jets to get another goal. After a highlight-reel assist, LeClerc added a goal to his name 20 seconds into the middle frame for his 31st goal of the year and 70th point. He became just the second player in Jets’ history to score at least 70 points in a single season, an accomplishment only done before by Jakov Novak in his stellar 2017-18 season where he scored 73 points.
The Jets took a 2-0 lead into the third and made it 3-0 at 9:42 when William Gustavsson sniped a wrist shot from the left circle over the glove of Seeley for his 20th goal of the season.
Minnesota finally offered a response a minute after Gus’ goal when Hunter Longhi found the back of the net to make it a 3-1.
Not breaking a sweat, the Jets continued their offensive attack when Spencer Kring found twine for goal number six of his season that brought Janesville’s lead back to three goals.
In his first game back in the lineup in two weeks after an injury, Mack Keryluk recorded a goal at 15:14, his 14th of the year, the final goal for the Jets to cap off their 5-1 win.
The Jets had seven power play opportunities and scored on just one of them but held the Magicians scoreless on all six of their advantages. They also owned the shot count with a 43-27 barrage.
Goaltender Owen Millward allowed just one goal in another great night in the crease to secure his 28th victory this year.
The Jets will return to Richfield Ice Arena on Saturday night and look for the sweep over the Magicians before heading back to Janesville for a Sunday afternoon game at 2 PM CT. on Saturday at 7 PM CT. Puck drop is at 7 PM on Saturday and can be watched on HockeyTV with an Away Audio call and on Mixlr live radio!