By Rob Brent | February 9, 2019 | 11:00am
JANESVILLE, WI – On Friday night the Janesville Jets faced off against their in state rivals, the Chippewa Steel. A back and forth affair would carry all the way to overtime, making this the second game in a row the Jets would take the contest past regulation. Just as they did last Saturday Janesville would net the game winner, earning the extra point in the standings. Check out the three keys to the Jets’ win here.
SETTING THE TONE
The Jets would get off to a quick start, bombarding the Steel goaltender with shots early. When the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the first, the Jets had outshot Chippewa 17-5.
Janesville could only put one of these shots past the Steel goaltender, but it was still a dominating period that got the Jets off to a hot start. This is an important area of improvement for the Jets, as up to this point they have had trouble putting shots on net. We currently sit 21st out of 24 in the NAHL in shots per game, only registering 27.71 shots per game.
SHOTS PER GAME RANKINGS
Tonight’s first period is in even greater contrast when you consider that the Jets have the second least first period shots per game in the league, averaging only 8.8 shots in the first frame of games this year. The Jets set the tone this game as they rarely are able to do and were rewarded with a one goal lead coming out of the first period.
The Jets penalty killing woes may have finally come to an end Friday night, as the PK unit went a perfect 5 for 5. This was Janesville’s first perfect penalty killing performance since Sunday, January 13th. A struggling penalty kill has been a feature of the recent struggles for the Jets, but this may be a sign it’s starting to turn around.
This was especially apparent in the second period when the Jets found themselves short handed on three consecutive occasions. With the game tied early, a powerplay goal for the Steel could have completely shifted momentum. Janesville got the effort it needed and killed all three of these crucial penalties.
Goaltender Sam Metcalf made a handful of clutch saves, and the defense in front of him efficiently worked to limit chances and clear the puck when they had the opportunity. This was a great team effort, and one that paid dividends in the Jets’ win. If the penalty killing unit continues to play this way, we will continue finding ourselves in the win column more often than not.
HANEWALL PLAYS HERO…AGAIN
There was a feeling of déjà vu as Matt Hanewall bore down on the Chippewa Steel goaltender. Hanewall once again buried the overtime winner for the Jets, just as he had last Saturday in Janesville. The goal was facilitated by a deft defensive play by forward Jack Vincent.
As the steel skated through the neutral zone, Vincent stepped up into the Steel attacker, separating him from the puck. The loose puck was picked up by a racing Matt Hanewall, who would drag the puck from his forehand to his backhand before roofing the puck past an outstretched Chippewa goalie.
The goal moved Hanewall into a tie with Jack Vincent for most goals scored by a Jet this season. Hanewall has been the hero for the Jets two games in a row now, and they certainly have to hope he can continue playing so well in such important spots in the game.
The Jets will take on the Chippewa Steel once again tonight, looking for a sweep at Chippewa Area Youth Arena. The Jets currently sit two points ahead of the Springfield Jr. Blues for third in the Midwest division, needing at least a point tonight to maintain sole possession of the spot. If the Jets can set the tone tonight, as well as kill penalties efficiently and get some clutch scoring, a win should be on the table.
MIDWEST DIVISION STANDINGS
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