JANESVILLE, WI — For the sixth time in eight weeks, the Jets played a home series.
For the second time in as many weeks, they were swept by the Minnesota Magicians.
A midseason sour funk continued for Janesville this weekend as the Jets’ losing streak extended to four games, all at the hands of the division-leading Magicians. The Jets’ penalty kill, which has alternated hot and cold this season, allowed seven power play goals, and this still-developing rivalry has seemingly reached new heights. A physical, chippy series went Minnesota’s way last weekend, and you’d better believe both teams checked the schedule late Saturday to see when they’d meet again (late March, with another set of four games).
FRIDAY — L, 5-2
The Jets missed on two power play chances in what became a scoreless first period, but capitalized on their third for the game’s first goal midway through the second. High in the zone, Jordon Halverson shifted towards the center of the blue line, opening space for Erik Palmqvist (9:38 2nd) to receive Halverson’s pass, take a step towards the right wing dot, and put a wrister past Jack Robbel. The Jets’ lead, their only of the weekend, lasted just 11 seconds. On the ensuing draw, the Magicians sent the puck in deep, won a retrieval battle, and former Jet TJ Sagissor (9:49 2nd) tipped home a shot from the low slot. Less than a minute later, Chris Konin (10:28 2nd) took the lead for Minnesota when he buried a wrist shot on a 1-on-1 rush. Leading goal-scorer John Keranen (15:48 2nd) added a power play tally later, making it 3-1 Minnesota after 40.
An impressive wraparound goal from Tommy Middleton (14:40 3rd) got Jets fans a little bit back into the game, but it was bookended by goals from Cameron Buhl (12:54 3rd) and Ben Schultheis (16:33 3rd), cinching tight the Jets’ comeback chances.
Jack Robbel (12-2-0-0) finished strong in net, stopping 32 of 34 shots for the win. Cole Brady (15-9-1-2) made 25 saves in the loss.
SATURDAY — L, 7-2
A whistle-filled Saturday night told a tale of two power plays as the Jets’ man advantage unit went 0/8, while the Magicians clicked five times on seven opportunities to finish the sweep. The Jets’ pre-game Guns ‘N Hoses charity match raised nearly $1,000 Saturday as Janesville Police defeated Rock County Fire, 2-0, for their first win in the event’s three-year history. The night’s law enforcement theme carried through a 111-penalty-minute affair, which included a fight and a goalie ejection.
Early in the first period, the Magicians scored on their first power play of the night with a backhand from Jake Hale (3:15 1st). Just six seconds later, Cameron Buhl (3:21 1st) stripped free a puck on the forecheck and doubled the lead. The Jets got one back on a redirection from Tommy Middleton (13:03 1st), his fourth goal in as many home games, and then began a wild seven minutes to end the opening period. On the ensuing shift, forward Logan Ommen made contact with Magicians goaltender Jack Robbel, who high-sticked Ommen as he exited the zone. A scrum developed, and Rocco Lerario dropped the gloves with Colin Stein, each earning a five-minute major and a ten-minute misconduct. The officials assessed Robbel a high-sticking minor, and just four minutes later, ejected Robbel with an abuse of official penalty.
Each team had two shots on the power play in the second period. Minnesota stymied the Jets’ power play and converted each of theirs. Brenden Olson (7:11 2nd) did score for Janesville, creating a three-game point streak, but his tally could only get the Jets back to within two. Second period goals from Chris Konin (3:47 2nd), Carter Breitenfeldt (6:51 2nd), and John Keranen (12:43 2nd) opened up a 5-2 lead for Minnesota going into the weekend’s final period.
John Keranen (11:52 3rd) picked up another gravy goal for Minnesota, scored on a major penalty to Matt Hanewall, and the game’s final penalty set up a Joel Pavey (17:11 3rd) goal.
Brenden Olson’s goal ensured a no decision for Jack Robbel (12-2-0-0), whose 17-minute night ended with 14 saves on 15 shots. Ethan Haider (13-7-1-0) had the exact same stat line but added a win in 43 minutes of action. Sam Metcalf (3-4-0-1) endured a tough night in the Janesville net, finishing 29/36.
Around the Division
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 2
Chippewa Steel 4 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 1
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 6
Springfield Jr. Blues 2 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 1
|2||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||39||21-13-3-2||47|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||36||18-15-2-1||39|
|5||Kenai River Brown Bears||38||12-22-2-2||28|
The Springfield Jr. Blues returned from their Alaska trip hot, sweeping a three-game set over Kenai River to follow a Saturday win in Fairbanks. Tyler Rennette’s group have won four in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10, a stark contrast to the Jets’ recent fortunes. The Midwest Division’s longest-tenured rivalry saw the teams last meet right after Thanksgiving, when the Jets followed up a pair of losses to Minnesota with a pair of wins in Springfield.
Hoping for a repeat result, the Jets play in the Land of Lincoln this weekend featuring the play-by-play call from Calvin Bush on HockeyTV.com.
Jets @ Jr. Blues | Fri Jan 25 | 7:05pm CST
Jets @ Jr. Blues | Sat Jan 26 | 6:05pm CST