Thursday, April 6: Janesville Jets 4, Coulee Region Chill 5 (OT)
Shots: Jets 31, Chill 32
PP: Jets 1-4, Chill 1-5
The Janesville Jets (41-12-0-4) battled back from a two-goal, third period deficit, but lost their first overtime contest of the season to their in-state rivals and future playoff opponents, the Coulee Region Chill (31-25-2-0) on Thursday in La Crosse.
With the top seed in the Midwest Division playoffs locked up, the Jets rested key contributors Michael Maloney, Cole Paskus, Jack Gates, Chris Dodero, and Lordanthony Grissom, and brought in affiliate players Jonathan Lakhani and Logan Ommen, both from the Chicago area. Lakhani got the Jets going early, picking up his first NAHL point on a 2-on-1 “pass” off the goaltender for Frank Sullivan (5:44 1st) to put home a rebound. Late in the period, Coulee Region’s top-scoring defenseman Steven Quagliata (18:40 1st) tied the game with a seeing-eye shot from the high slot.
In the second, Logan Ommen (6:18 2nd) also earned his first NAHL point, scoring on a rebound chance set up by Keegan Miller. Later, Caleb Schroer (8:50 2nd) again tied the game after Derek Schaedig lost sight of a rebound. Justin Kendall (14:15 3rd) gave Coulee its first lead late in the second with another rebound goal.
The Jets appeared dead early in the third when Billy Duma (2:43 3rd) scored on a cross-crease play to put his Chill up 4-2. Janesville picked up momentum by killing three straight penalties, including an abbreviated 5-on-3 opportunity, and starting their comeback with four minutes left. With Sofo in the box for roughing, Cullen Munson (15:59 3rd) netted a great feed from Carter Ekberg for a power play goal, cutting the lead to one. Two minutes later, Peter Bates (17:55 3rd) picked up a loose puck in the slot and sniped the tying goal upstairs, forcing overtime.
The teams traded chances in the three-on-three overtime period, but Kevin Dineen (3:11 OT) won the game with his 20th goal of the season, picking a corner on Schaedig.
Derek Schaedig (14-7-1-4) made 27 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort, opposite UMass recruit Brad Arvanitis (11-9-0-0), whose win followed a nearly identical performance with 27 saves on 31 pucks.
Saturday, April 8: Minnesota Magicians 1, Janesville Jets 4
Shots: Magicians 28, Jets 28
PP: Magicians 0-4, Jets 1-2
The Janesville Jets (42-12-1-4), icing three affiliate players, jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Magicians (30-22-4-3) on Saturday at the Janesville Ice Arena.
After a scoreless first, Joseph Abate (3:46 2nd) struck twine with a one-timer from Peter Bates on the power play. Later in the period, Keegan Miller (10:11 2nd) doubled the lead when he buried a one-timer of his own, his feed coming from TJ Polglaze. Jets tender Nick Bink picked up his first career NAHL point on the play.
After Minnesota’s Caleb Hite (6:00 3rd) looked to threaten the Jets’ win, Polglaze poked a puck off a Magicians defenseman and started a 2-on-1 with Jakov Novak. Brenden MacLaren (12:07 3rd) buried the ensuing rebound as the late man and solidified the Jets’ lead. With less than a minute to play Lordanthony Grissom (19:19 3rd) went long with a 200-foot empty-netter to seal the win.
Derek Schaedig (15-7-1-4) was marvelous in net for Janesville, earning his 15th win with 27 saves on 28 shots. Ivan Prosevetov (21-15-1-3) received the loss, stopping 24 of his 27 opportunities.
Sunday, April 9: Minnesota Magicians 3, Janesville Jets 1
Shots: Magicians 29, Jets 42
PP: Magicians 0-3, Jets 0-7
The Janesville Jets (42-13-1-4) couldn’t strike on any of their seven power play opportunities, losing their regular season finale to the Minnesota Magicians (31-22-4-3) on Sunday afternoon.
The Magicians built their lead in the first period with goals from Tanner Tweten (7:07 1st) and Brendan Skarda (12:30 1st). The Jets kept tradition by honoring their billets with an on-ice rose ceremony during the first intermission.
Early in the second, Ben Schmidling (1:06 2nd) picked up his fourth of the season to cut the lead in half. Jonathan Lakhani and Logan Ommen picked up assists for multiple points in their first weekend of NAHL action. The Magicians’ top-ranked penalty kill stifled the Jets on two full two-minute opportunities, and killed 1:11 of a two-man advantage for Janesville to end the period.
In the third, Mitch Machlitt (4:03 3rd), who joined the Magicians after his high school season finished, scored his second goal in seven games to secure the win for Minnesota.
Jake Acton (4-3-1-0) was nearly impenetrable for Minnesota, stopping 41 of 42 shots. Jake Barczewski (27-6-0-0) was tagged for just his sixth loss of the season in a 26/29 afternoon.
Midwest Division Recap
The Coulee Region Chill needed a three-win weekend and some help to jump over the Magicians and secure the division’s third seed. After beating Janesville on Thursday, their hopes stayed alive. The Springfield Jr. Blues, eliminated from playoff contention for the fourth straight season, battled hard in their final weekend for a home sweep of the Chill, 4-2 and 4-3. Fairbanks completed its regular season schedule a week early, and enjoyed a rest week.
FINAL Midwest Division Standings:
|1||y – Janesville Jets||60||42-13-1-4||89|
|2||x – Fairbanks Ice Dogs||60||33-24-2-1||69|
|3||x – MN Magicians||60||31-22-4-3||67|
|4||x – Coulee Region Chill||60||31-27-2-0||64|
|5||Springfield Jr. Blues||60||27-28-4-1||59|
|6||Kenai River Brown Bears||60||12-46-2-0||26|
GAME 1 | Fri 4/14 | Chill @ Jets – 7:00 p.m. CST
GAME 2 | Sat 4/15 | Chill @ Jets – 7:00 p.m. CST
GAME 3 | Fri 4/21 | Jets @ Chill – 7:00 p.m. CST
*GAME 4 | Sat 4/22 | Jets @ Chill – 7:00 p.m. CST
*GAME 5 | Sun 4/23 | Chill @ Jets – 5:00 p.m. CST
This week, the Jets meet the Coulee Region Chill for the first ever playoff iteration of the in-state rivalry. With home ice advantage through the Midwest Division bracket, the Jets will host Game 1, Game 2, and a potential Game 5 in the best-of-five series. Both games this weekend will be broadcast live on www.HockeyTV.com with Mike Hammett’s call. Tickets are still available for this weekend and can be purchased online here.
PROMOTIONS & EVENTS…
On Thursday, the Jets will hold an “eat-and-greet” with players at the Janesville Chipotle, next to The Diamond Center on Milton Avenue. Jets players, appearing in shifts, will sign autographs and chat with fans from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thanks to Chipotle, the Jets are once again bringing back the fan-favorite rally towel. The first 500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive the exclusive giveaway. This year’s towels are white to signify a “white out,” as the Jets encourage all fans to wear white to home playoff games. All fans wearing white will receive discounted door tickets to all playoff games.
On Saturday afternoon, the Jets will continue another tradition with their annual spring Jet Fest, a tailgate party with music, games, food, and beer. The event, sponsored by Labatt Blue and Curt’s Conquest for a Cure, starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Janesville Ice Arena parking lot. Tickets for the game will be on sale during the event. Fans with game tickets can enjoy three free Labatt drafts, and access to a pay-what-you-can benefit buffet from CCC with brats and hot dogs. CCC is a cycling group who raises funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis research. At the game, the Jets and CCC will hold a raffle for a puck and a photo signed by Bryan Bickell, a 3-time Stanley Cup Champion who recently retired from the NHL, citing his battle with the disease.
Peter Bates (24-32–56) finished as the Jets’ leading scorer…His 56-point campaign ranks fourth all-time in franchise history…Despite an 0-7 outing Sunday afternoon, the Jets’ power play finished 1st in the NAHL at 24.3%, the first time Janesville has finished a season with a top-ranked specialty teams unit…Jake Barczewski’s .929 save percentage finished 2nd in the NAHL among qualified goaltenders, marking the second time in three seasons that a Jets’ goalie has ranked top-2 in that metric (Matt Jurusik led NAHL goalies in 2014-15 with a .939)…Coulee Region has won Game 1 in each of their last two playoff appearances, despite losing both series to the eventual Robertson Cup Champion (2014-15 Minnesota Wilderness, 2015-16 Fairbanks Ice Dogs).