By Rob Brent | February 4, 2019 | 4:00pm
JANESVILLE, WI – The Jets took on the Springfield Jr. Blues in Janesville in a rematch from the previous weekend’s series in Springfield. It was a new weekend, but the same result as the Jr. Blues took Friday’s game, and the Jets responded with a win of their own Saturday night.
This series held great importance for the Midwest Division standings. Coming into the weekend the Jr. Blues were hot on the Jets heels, standing only 3 points back. The Jets held onto third place in the division, but allowed the Jr. Blues to gain a point when they lost in overtime.
The two teams will meet again in Janesville February 15th and 16th in what is shaping up to be another significant series.
FRIDAY – L, 6-1
The Jets got on the board first in a promising start. Forward Jack Vincent (14:03 1st) scored on a deflection, when he tipped in a shot that had been fired from the point by Jordon Halverson. The goal would be the only one put on the board in the first frame as both goaltenders stood tall for their teams. Towards the end of the period, Jets defenseman Sean Driscoll was called for a boarding minor, giving Springfield a powerplay leading into the second. The Jr. Blues outshot the Jets 10-8 in the period.
Springfield would capitalize on the power play when Max Brainin (0:44 2nd, PP) blasted a slapshot from the top of the faceoff circle. Janesville failed to answer the Jr. Blues goal, and Springfield would soon take the lead. The Jr. Blues caught the Jets in a partial odd man rush before forward Cade Groton skated behind the net and attempted to score on a wrap around. The attempt was stopped by goaltender Cole Brady but the puck bounced to the slot where Giovanni Carabelli was waiting to slam home the rebound. (15:39 2nd). No goals were scored the rest of the period, and the Jr. Blues skated into intermission with a 1 goal lead, outshooting the Jets 12-9 in the second period.
Five minutes into the third, Nicholas Nardella was called for hooking which sent the Jr. Blues to the powerplay once again. The Springfield powerplay would once again score, setting off an avalanche of goals that would bury the Jets. Reed Stark threw a puck on net from the wing which was redirected and finally put home by Nigel Nelson (6:24 3rd, PP). Shortly after, Max Brainin hit forward Nick Techel with a pass that left him one on one with the Jets defenseman. Techel put on a nice move to break free and backhanded the puck into the net (8:51 3rd) making the score 4-1. Just a minute and a half later, Nigel Nelson (10:17 3rd) would score his second goal of the period on a play close to the net. The scoring would finally end just 30 seconds later when former Jet Ben Schmidling (10:42 3rd) put home a cross crease pass from Brandon Puricelli. The bleeding would stop there, as the Jr. Blues took game 1 with a score of 6-1.
Jets Goaltender Cole Brady made 23 saves on 29 shots, while the Springfield netminder, Jack Williams, put in a sparking performance of 29 saves on 30 shots.
SATURDAY – W, 4-3 (OT)
The Jets entered Saturday night needing a victory to maintain their position in the standings. Needing a jumpstart, Janesville dressed three players that had not played the night before. Forward Luke Wheeler, defenseman Stanislav Dosek, and Goaltender Sam Metcalf all found their way into the lineup. This move paid off in spades in the first period as Wheeler assisted on the opening goal of the game, which was scored by Erik Bargholtz (2:34 1st). Unlike the night before, the Jets would add to their lead before the end of the period when Matt Hanewall (17:39 1st) would put home his first of the game, with assists going to Austin Koss and Stanislav Dosek. The first period ended with the Jets maintaining their two goal lead.
The second period saw the Jets fall prey to the Jr. Blues power play once again. Ben Schmidling (4:06 2nd, PP) scored his second goal of the series to bring the Jr. Blues back to a 1 goal deficit. A few minutes later, Jordon Halverson took a tripping minor that the Jr. Blues would again score on. Brandon Puricelli (9:02 2nd, PP) put the puck in the net to tie the game up at 2 goals apiece. No more goals would be scored the rest of the period, leaving the Jets with a tie game going into the third.
Former Jet Ben Schmidling (0:30 3rd) continued to be a thorn in Janesville’s side as he put Springfield ahead, scoring his second goal of the night, and third of the series, just 30 seconds into the final frame. A sense of familiarity washed over the game, as it seemed the Jr. Blues may pull away in the third period once again. This time however, the Jets answered with a powerplay goal of their own when Justin Engelkes (6:24 3rd) tied the game off of a Jr. Blues slash. Neither goalie would crack the rest of the period, as the two teams battled to the finish with no definitive result. The game pushed on to overtime with third place in the division on the line.
The overtime period started out as a track meet where both teams traded chances, dashing end to end. Just when it appeared the game may head to a shootout, recent stand out Brenden Olson made a beautiful move and passed the puck to an open Matt Hanewall who sniped his second goal of the night, and the game winner. With the overtime win, the Jets earned the weekend split and most importantly held on to their divisional standing.
Sam Metcalf performed well in the win, particularly during the third period and overtime. The goaltender made multiple clutch saves to keep the Jets in the game. Metcalf stopped 31 shots out of 34.
AROUND THE DIVISION
Austin Bruins 6 @ Minnesota Magicians 5
Corpus Christi IceRays 5 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2
Topeka Pilots 2 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 3
Minnesota Wilderness 2 @ Chippewa Steel 3
Austin Bruins 5 @ Minnesota Magicians 4 (OT)
Corpus Christi IceRays 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 6
Topeka Pilots 1 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 2
Minnesota Wilderness 2 @ Chippewa Steel 3 (SO)
|2||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||41||22-14-3-2||49|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||40||20-16-3-1||44|
|5||Kenai River Brown Bears||40||14-22-2-2||32|
The Jets will head to Chippewa to take on the Steel in an important divisional match up. The Steel sit at the bottom of the division but have seen their fortunes change when they swept the Minnesota Wilderness of the Central Division.
The Jets have performed well against the Chippewa Steel this season, playing to a 4-1-1-0 record against the club. The two teams will meet for the America’s Dairyland Milk Can Trophy, a travelling trophy that the Jets and Steel play for that has roots back to when the Chippewa Steel were known as the Coulee Region Chill. Even though this is the team’s first season in Chippewa, beating the Jets is still a point of pride.
Jets @ Steel | Fri Feb 8 | 7:10pm CST
Jets @ Steel | Sat Feb 9 | 7:10pm CST
Both games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com