JANESVILLE, WI — Playoffs are right around the corner and the anticipation is starting to creep in.
After a Thursday night loss in Chippewa, the Jets split their home series with the Minnesota Wilderness, with each game needing more than regulation. Both the Jets and the Wilderness, tight in playoff races, earned three points on the weekend.
THURSDAY — L, 5-3
Janesville surrendered the early lead Thursday, came back with two goals in the second, but then a third period burst from the Steel secured the game for Chippewa.
Jacob Dirks put his Steel out in front on a first period power play. Late in the second, Parker Lindauer also scored a power play goal. Blake Dangos scored with 20 seconds left in the period to put the Jets ahead one.
A fight between the Jets’ Nick Michel and the Steel’s Kylar Fenton opened the period. Chippewa scored three times in eight minutes in the middle of the period, and then a late Jets goal from Xavier LaPointe brought Janesville to within one. In the final minute, the Steel’s Jackson Decker scored the empty-netter to clinch the win for Chippeaw.
Grant Riley finished the night with 34 saves on 38 shots. Grant Boldt got the net for the Steel, making 33 saves on 36 shots.
FRIDAY — L, 3-1 (SO)
With a packed house of 1,101 fans, the energy was high and intense from both the Jets and the visiting Minnesota Wilderness.
Riley Sims ended the game with 27 saves and Isak Johansson ended with 37.
Parker Lindauer was the leader of the night with the goal on the power play to give the early lead.
Aaron Myers of the Wilderness tied the game at one apiece in the second period.
The game went into a shootout, where the Wilderness took the game.
“At the end of the day, we got some help, but two points is something we needed,” said Jets head coach Corey Leivermann of Friday’s effort. “I think we played well. We earned opportunities but when it came time to the moment of truth, we didn’t score. The moment of truth is what we’ve been preaching. One goal is not going to win a lot of hockey games.”
SATURDAY — W, 2-1 (OT)
With a sellout crowd, the Jets did not disappoint.
Grant Riley ended the night with 35 saves and Johansson ended with 33. It was a very evenly-matched game.
Scoring for the Jets were the duo of Lindauer and Nick Nardella.
Nardella scored first to put the Jets up 1-0.
The Wilderness’ Bram Scheerer tied the game at 1-1 late in the third to stay alive.
For the second consecutive game, these teams needed overtime.
Parker Lindauer scored the game-winning one-timer goal with a perfect pass across the crease from Nardella.
Lindauer was fired up after scoring the game-winner, keeping the Jets’ playoff hopes alive.
“It was pretty surreal,” he said. “Looking around in the crowd after I scored, everyone was super excited, and my team was coming to hug me. It was a really good feeling.”
— NAHL (@NAHLHockey) March 8, 2020
Assistant coach Lennie Childs praised his team for their hard work and dedication to the game.
“Picking up the extra point in overtime is big for us since we were one point back before the night,” said Childs. “You have to get your points in the last couple of games here to make sure that we give ourselves a chance to get into that third position. That is what we’re still looking for, and obviously if we fall just short of that, we’ll be in fourth, which is still playoffs.”
Around the Division
Chippewa Steel 2 @ Austin Bruins 3 (OT)
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Northeast Generals 1 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2 (OT)
Amarillo Bulls 2 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 3
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Austin Bruins 4
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 6
Northeast Generals 4 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2
Amarillo Bulls 1 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 5
|1||x – Fairbanks Ice Dogs||52||38-11-1-2||79|
|3||Kenai River Brown Bears||52||27-19-3-3||60|
|6||Springfield Jr. Blues||54||16-34-2-2||36|
Jets @ Jr. Blues | Fri Mar 13 | 7:05pm CST
Jets @ Jr. Blues | Sat Mar 14 | 6:05pm CST