The Janesville Jets will ring in the new year with hockey as they return to action this weekend.
The Jets will host division rival Fairbanks for a set of three games slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It’s the first action for Janesville in nearly three weeks and the team’s first division match-up since November 22, as league play was paused due to COVID-19-related schedule complications.
While both teams have played just 10 games combined this season, it is not their first meeting. Both teams opened their seasons in Janesville in early November and the Jets came away with a sweep in 6-4 and 8-3 victories.
Janesville currently sits atop the Midwest Division standings with a record of 4-1-1, while Fairbanks is 0-4-0. The Jets also boast the best power play in the division at 23.1 percent and the top penalty kill at 92 percent.
In compliance with local regulations, fans are still not permitted in Janesville Ice Arena at this time. Fans can keep up with the series action via streaming on HockeyTV, or by following the Jets on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Last Time Out
Despite the Midwest Division’s recent pause on play, the Jets stayed plenty busy in December. The team hosted the US National Development Team Program U17s for two games on Dec. 4-5. The home team took Team USA to overtime and a shootout in the series opener and ended up earning a 5-4 victory. The following evening ended with a 10-1 loss.
It wasn’t long before the two teams met again, as the Jets traveled to Plymouth, Mich. for a rematch the next weekend. The first game again ended with a 5-4 score, but this time with the Jets on the losing end with just six seconds left. Team USA prevailed with a 9-3 victory on Saturday for the series win.
Forward Cade Destefani was named the Bauer Hockey Forward of the Month by the NAHL for November just before league play was halted. Destefani has registered six goals and six assists for 12 points this season with a +7 rating. Destefani’s points-per-game rating of two is the best of any NAHL skater who has dressed for each of his team’s games this season, and his six goals on 25 shots gives him a shooting percentage of 24. He is ranked No. 25 in the league in total points through six games, while each player preceding him has played at least 12. Destefani was also named the NAHL Midwest Division Star of the Week twice in November.
The Jets face another Alaskan opponent as the Kenai River Brown Bears come to town on Jan. 8-9. Kenai is set to face off against Chippewa this weekend, as the Jets and Brown Bears battle for division dominance. Kenai is just behind Janesville in the standings with a record of 3-1-0 for six points to Janesville’s nine.