Friday, February 24: Kenai River Brown Bears 3, Janesville Jets 4
Shots: Brown Bears 21, Jets 38
PP: Brown Bears 1-2, Jets 2-2
The Janesville Jets (35-9-0-3) jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back as they took down the Kenai River Brown Bears (10-35-2-0) for a home sweep in advance of the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament.
David Schmidling (3:36 1st) opened the scoring for the Jets, putting home a loose puck on the doorstep for his third goal of the season. Six minutes later, Chris Dodero (9:23 1st) scored in his first series back since suffering a high ankle sprain in December.
In the second, Kip Hoffmann (6:51 2nd) extended the Jets’ lead to three before Cole Paskus (11:18 2nd) scored shorthanded. Kenai’s Sam Sterne (12:05 2nd) answered quickly on the power play, but TJ Polglaze (18:26 2nd) scored the weekend’s fourth shorthanded goal of the series, regaining the four-goal lead.
In the third period, Ryan Mezera (9:13 3rd) cut the Jets’ lead to 5-2, where it would stay until the final horn.
Jake Barczewski (23-0-0-2) was stellar for the win, making 28 saves on 30 shots. Robbie Goor (9-15-0-1) was tagged with the loss, stopping 33 of 38 pucks.
Monday, February 27: Central Division 4, Midwest Division 2
Shots: Central 37, Midwest 31
PP: Central 0-1, Midwest 0-1
As the Midwest’s first place team, the Jets sent five players to the all-division team at this year’s Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Michigan. Head coach Joe Dibble was named to the same position with the Midwest team, and tabbed Peter Bates, Keegan Miller, Cullen Munson, LordAnthony Grissom, and Adam Roeder to skate for him.
In Monday’s opener versus the Central Division, Cullen Munson (8:42 3rd) buried a one-timer feed from Keegan Miller, scoring the Midwest’s first goal of the game. Another assist went to Peter Bates.
Monday, February 27: NAHL Selects 2, East Division 4
Shots: Selects 28, East 19
PP: Selects 0-4, East 0-2
In addition to the five players skating for the Midwest team, Michael Maloney and Jakov Novak were announced to the NAHL Selects team, chosen entirely by NHL Central Scouting. Neither player registered a point in their opener on Monday.
Tuesday, February 28: Midwest Division 2, East Division 4
Shots: Midwest 25, East 31
PP: Midwest 0-4, East 0-4
In the second and final game of the highly-scouted tournament, Cullen Munson picked up an assist on Christopher Lipe‘s (12:17 1st) goal, finding himself on the score sheet again.
Tuesday, February 28: NTDP 5, NAHL Selects 6 (OT)
Shots: NTDP 44, Selects 44
PP: NTDP 0-4, Selects 0-5
In a barn-burner game that ended the Tournament, Jakov Novak (4:40 3rd) scored the Selects’ fifth goal, one they would need as the National Team Development Program rallied to tie the game 5-5 and force overtime. In the three-on-three overtime, New Jersey’s Maxim Andreev (3:29 OT) capped the thrilling match.
In all, Jets players scored two goals and added three assists at the tournament.
Midwest Division Recap
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs took four points out of Illinois with a huge road sweep of the Springfield Jr. Blues, jumping them for third place in the division. The Coulee Region Chill beat the Minnesota Magicians in overtime on Saturday, leaving the Magicians with just one point, which, combined with Janesville’s sweep, extends the Jets’ division lead to 20 points.
Midwest Division Standings:
|3||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||23-23-2-1||49|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||22-23-1-1||46|
|5||Coulee Region Chill||20-22-2-0||42|
|6||Kenai River Brown Bears||10-36-2-0||22|
With the Top Prospects Tournament at the start of the week, and lots of important, playoff-stretch hockey down the line, the Jets will enjoy some much-needed time off as they continue to battle injuries and illnesses.