JANESVILLE, WI — The Jets snapped a six-game skid in Thursday’s series-opener versus the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, but allowed a Fairbanks comeback on Friday and lost big on Saturday to let the Ice Dogs take the 2-1 series victory.
Saturday was the tenth and final regular season meeting between the rivals. Fairbanks finishes with the season series win, 8-2.
Saturday’s blank sheet from the Jets very unfortunately fell on the team’s Teddy Bear Toss, but a big crowd still pulled in lots of teddy bears and stuffed animals for circulation to kids in need in the stateline community.
“This is the community event I look forward to each year.” – @carter_hottmann on delivering teddy bears to the children’s wing of Javon Bea hospital. @mercyhealth #MakingSmiles#YourTownYourTeam pic.twitter.com/E8CJgjRsm0
— Janesville Jets (@JanesvilleJets1) December 17, 2019
The team wraps up its calendar year this weekend versus the Kenai River Brown Bears.
THURSDAY — W, 5-2
Janesville never trailed in their 5-2 victory on Thursday, ending a season-high six-game losing streak in declarative fashion with goals in every period.
The Jets got on the board first with a power play goal from Jordon Halverson (6:41 1st), whose shot from the point found its way through traffic.
In the second, a goal scored on a two-on-one from Nick Michel and Brandon McNamara (4:43 2nd) doubled the lead for Janesville.
Fairbanks cut into the lead on a slapshot from Adam Eisele (15:33 2nd), but less than two minutes later, Jets captain Nick Nardella (17:24 2nd) picked up his 10th of the season on a quick wrister.
In the third, Fairbanks again clawed back to within one with a rebound goal from Nicholas Ostbloom (7:17 3rd). But Janesville answered yet again, this time on a point shot from Nick Michel (13:11 3rd), putting the game out of reach for Fairbanks.
Luke Wheeler (19:47 3rd) scored an empty-netter from his own defensive zone for the final tally.
Grant Riley (9-12-1-0) made 27 saves in the winning net. It was an unusually shaky night from Mattias Sholl (16-8-0-2), who allowed four goals on 22 shots in the loss.
FRIDAY — L, 3-1
In a tight-checking goalie duel, Jets newcomer Riley Sims was fantastic versus his former team, but a pair of late-game Ice Dogs goals stole the win for Fairbanks.
A scoreless tie lasted into the third period, until Nick Nardella(3:34 3rd) finally broke the ice with his second goal in as many nights, putting home a rebound from a Casey Roepke shot.
In the dying seconds of a power play, Fairbanks’ Adam Eisele (16:51 3rd) tied it on a backdoor tap-in, and just 23 seconds later, Tyler Deweese (17:12 3rd) put home a rebound for the eventual game-winner.
Luke Ciolli (19:59 3rd) added an empty-net goal in the last second.
Austin Ryman (4-1-0-0) was nearly perfect, stopping 22 of 23 for the win. Riley Sims (0-1-0-0), who began last season with the Ice Dogs, made 28 saves on 30 shots in his first NAHL appearance of the year.
SATURDAY — L, 8-0
The Jets were shut out in the third in final game of the weekend.
The Ice Dogs controlled play the whole game, getting on the board early when Luke Ciolli (3:30 1st) elected to shoot on a two-on-one, scoring high on Grant Riley.
Fairbanks added two goals in the second period. A rebound goal from Mason Plante (10:45 2nd) and a high-slot redirect from Jack Johnston (10:45 2nd) put the Ice Dogs ahead 3-0.
In the third, the Ice Dogs ran away, scoring five more times for the 8-0 final.
A quiet night for Austin Ryman (5-1-0-0) meant he only need 13 saves for the shutout victory, and in the other net, a tough night for Grant Riley (9-13-1-0) finished at 20/28.
Around the Division
Kenai River Brown Bears 3 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 4
Kenai River Brown Bears 5 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 0
Chippewa Steel 2 @ Minnesota Magicians 3
Kenai River Brown Bears 7 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 3
Minnesota Magicians 2 @ Chippewa Steel 6
|1||Kenai River Brown Bears||32||21-8-1-2||45|
|2||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||32||21-9-0-2||44|
|5||Springfield Jr. Blues||31||9-19-2-1||21|
The Midwest Division’s top seed visits the Janesville Ice Arena for the Jets’ final series of the calendar year.
The Kenai River Brown Bears are enjoying a banner year for the 13-year-old club, and have played the Jets well this season. Kenai River is 4-1 versus Janesville this year, and swept the Jets at the start of December in Soldotna, Alaska. In their first home games against the Brown Bears this year, the Jets have a major opportunity to win a big series against a challenging opponent and close 2019 with a statement.
Both games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
Brown Bears @ Jets | Fri Dec 20 | 7:00pm CST
Brown Bears @ Jets | Sat Dec 21 | 7:00pm CST