By Mason Lyttle
Friday, November 20: Janesville Jets 5, Kenai River Brown Bears 3
Shots: Jets 43, Brown Bears 26
PP: Jets 2-4, Brown Bears 1-1
The Janesville Jets (11-6-2) staved off a comeback effort from the Kenai River Brown Bears (1-21-0), scoring three times in the third period to cap off the 5-3 victory.
Early in the first period, Roberts Smits picked up a puck on a forecheck behind the Kenai River net and found Taylor Fernandez (3:15 1st) open in the slot. Fernandez’s fifth of the season extended his goal-scoring streak to three games, all on the Jets’ Alaska road trip. With three goals and an assist in Fairbanks last week, the NAHL named Fernandez the Midwest Division’s Easton Hockey Star of the Week. Midway through the period, Zach Solow (11:32 1st) took a cross-crease pass from Cullen Munson to capitalize on the Jets’ second power play opportunity and double the lead.
The long change saw one of the highest cumulative shot totals of Janesville’s season. The Jets couldn’t find the back of the net with any of their 19 second period shots, but Jason Lem (4:36 2nd) put the Brown Bears on the board with one of Kenai River’s 12 pucks directed towards Jack LaFontaine in the middle frame. Approximately ten minutes later, Minnesota native Gunnar Goodmanson(14:16 2nd) tied the game at twos.
Janesville pressed in the third period to extinguish the flames of Kenai River’s comeback effort. Eau Claire’s own Jake Bresser made a nice pass off the goaltender’s equipment, allowing John Peterson (2:17 3rd) to bury a juicy rebound. A short time later, Madison native Cole Paskus (3:47 3rd) took advantage of another rebound, scoring his first NAHL goal to regain the two goal advantage. Brown Bears forward Tanner Dufault (13:40 3rd) kept things interesting with a goal on the man advantage, but Adam Winborg (16:28 3rd) sealed the victory with his own power play marker shortly afterwards.
Jack LaFontaine (8-3-1-1) won his eighth game in his 12th start, stopping 23 of 26 shots. Brian Baker (1-11-0-0) registered the loss for Kenai River, managing 38 of 43 pucks his way.
Saturday, November 21: Janesville Jets 7, Kenai River Brown Bears 3
Shots: Jets 41, Brown Bears 36
PP: Jets 3-6, Brown Bears 1-6
The Janesville Jets (12-6-2) scored early and often to finish the sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears (2-22-0), staying perfect through four of their eight scheduled games in Alaska this season.
Jets defenseman Blake Wareham (5:05 1st) scored his first NAHL goal on a point shot that snuck its way through a crowded crease. Just three minutes later, Cullen Munson (8:19 1st) put home a loose puck from another shot from the point to extend the lead to two. Zach Solow (10:10 1st) put the Jets up 3-0 with a wraparound effort. Justin Bofshever (15:06 1st) put Kenai River on the board late in the period before Adam Kresl (19:11 1st) scored a power play goal to again cut into the Janesville lead.
Nearly 12 of the 20 minutes in the middle frame were played 5-on-4, with Janesville successfully killing four penalties assessed in the period. After more than 17 scoreless minutes, Taylor Fernandez (17:01 2nd) finished a 2-on-1 with Solow, doubling Janesville’s lead.
The third period was all special teams as the Jets clicked on all three of their power play opportunities but surrendered a shorthanded goal. Taylor Fernandez (4:32 3rd) stayed red hot with his sixth goal and eighth point in Alaska. Kenai River’s Cameron Cooke (14:37 3rd) gave Janesville a shake with a short-handed goal before Andrew Roye (15:05 3rd; 19:32 3rd) twice struck twine with the man advantage, sealing the victory for Janesville. Roye’s two goals added to his pair of assists, and with five total points in the series, he was named the Midwest Division’s Easton Hockey Star of the Week, the second straight title for Janesville.
Blake Weyrick (4-3-0-0) held down the fort for his Jets, making 33 saves on 36 shots. Nicholas Nast (0-11-0-0) stayed busy but took another loss for Kenai, stopping 34 of 41 Janesville pucks.
Friday, November 27 vs. Minnesota Wilderness – 7:00 p.m. CST
Saturday, November 28 vs. Minnesota Wilderness – 7:00 p.m. CST
The Janesville Jets will come off of Thanksgiving none too thankful to play the Minnesota Wilderness, a physical team who has made a name for giving the Jets a difficult time. Janesville’s magical 2014-15 campaign came to an astonishing end with a pair of 2-1 losses in the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals to head coach Corey Millen’s Wilderness, the only divisional foe whom the Jets have never beaten. Three weeks ago in their last matchup, also in Janesville, Minnesota’s offense registered a pair of four-goal performances, following a 4-3 victory with a 4-0 shutout win. The Wilderness play their in-state rivals, the Minnesota Magicians, on Wednesday. Last weekend, the Wilderness earned a difficult road sweep of the Minot Minotauros, who nearly completed a three-goal comeback on Friday but fell, 3-2. It was Minnesota who came back on Saturday to tie the game, 1-1, before besting Minot in a 6-round shootout. Chase Munroe (12-4-1-0) won Friday’s contest and Luke Kania (4-1-0-0) made 30 saves on 31 shots for the win on Saturday. Over their last four games, 23 different Wilderness players have registered a point, led by Tyler Cline (0-3—3), Ryan Bloom (2-0—0), Brett Heikkila (0-2—2), and Aaron Miller (0-2—2).
FRIDAY – The Jets are celebrating their Black Friday game with their most affordable ticket offer ever: call or stop by the Jets’ new downtown office from 9am – 2pm on Black Friday to receive $3 tickets to that night’s game. Finish your hectic day of shopping with 99¢ Miller Lite draughts at the Janesville Ice Arena. For tickets, call the ticket line at (608) 752-5387.
SATURDAY – Stick around after the contest to see which Jets player will succeed Zach Yoder as the Movember Champion.
Midwest Division Recap:
A pair of gaps tightened in the Midwest Division as the Minnesota Wilderness swept the Minot Minotauros, gaining a point on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who split their home series with the Coulee Region Chill, earning three of four possible points. The Springfield Jr. Blues suffered a home sweep at the hands of the Topeka RoadRunners, and Janesville’s sweep places them just two points behind their Illinois rivals. The NAHL’s toughest division boasts four of the 10 teams with 26 points or more.
Midwest Division Standings:
Fairbanks Ice Dogs….……………..17-4-2, 36 points
MN Wilderness….……..…………..16-7-1, 33 points
Springfield Jr. Blues…..……………13-6-2, 28 points
Janesville Jets………..…………….12-6-2, 26 points
Coulee Region Chill…………………8-11-0, 16 points
Kenai River Brown Bears…………1-22-0, 2 points
IN THE COMMUNITY…
The Jets will continue a community tradition Monday night when they partner with the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Toys“R”Us for their Toys for Tots shopping event. Players will break into teams and hunt for the holiday season’s must-have items, which will all be donated to children in need in Rock County.
Tuesday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., you can catch your favorite Jets players as they begin another festive favorite. Bundled up against the cold, Jets players will be ringing the familiar holiday bells, raising money for the Salvation Army. Players will ring at Woodman’s, Big Lots, Pick-N-Save, Schnucks, Shopko, Festival Foods, the Janesville Mall, and both Sentry locations, West (W Court St) and East (E Milwaukee St).