Friday: L, 6-4
The final 20 minutes saw things get crazy down to the final horn. Just over a minute into the period, Cy LeClerc scored his 18th goal of the season to get the Jets on the scoresheet finally. A minute later, Ice Dogs forward Marcus Lund recorded his first goal to cancel out the Jets’ goal and make it 4-1. Janesville had a response immediately after, 52 seconds to be exact, thanks to Grayden Daul‘s sixth goal of the year, a heavy wrister labeled above Kayden Hargraves’ left shoulder to bring the Jets back to within two.
Impossibly, the Ice Dogs again stifled the efforts of the Jets and, 28 seconds after Daul’s score, got a goal from McCabe Dvorak that brought the game to a three-goal difference for the third time in three and a half minutes. With the Jets struggling to keep Fairbanks off the board, Cannon Lentz took matters into his own hands and got into it with Owen Neuharth at the blue line, yelling “LET’S GO” to the bench on his way to the penalty box. The fisticuffs lit a spark in the Jets, as Ethan Begg scored right off an offensive zone draw to bring Janesville back to within two.
Rather than allowing the opposition to reply, the Jets inched closer with another goal, this one from Jonah Aegerter, his fifth, who received a perfect saucer pass from Cy LeClerc in a two-on-one, that made it a one-goal contest. In just over seven minutes of action in the third, six goals were scored, and a quiet 3-0 game suddenly turned into a 5-4 battle.
Things remained relatively quiet after Aegerter’s goal, but a broken play at center ice allowed the Ice Dogs to get a two-on-one of their own, and Dakota MacIntosh cashed in on the odd-man rush with five minutes left. The momentum shift proved to be insurmountable for Janesville as they fell just short of capping off a riveting comeback in the 6-4 loss.
Saturday: L, 4-1
Saturday featured one of the most well-known events in hockey rinks around the world, the annual Teddy Bear Toss night in Janesville, along with a brief visit from Santa Claus, in the last game before the league-wide holiday break.
Following a night where he displayed his wrestling skills, Owen Neuharth opened the scoring in Saturday’s contest with his eighth goal of the year. A long while later, the Ice Dogs took a penalty that sent the Jets to their first power play of the night. After a plethora of close calls around the net, and with only 59 seconds left in the period, the captain Cal Mell found a loose puck in the crease and backhanded it in to not only tie the game but begin a rainstorm of teddy bears from the stands at the Janesville Ice Arena. In what is a yearly tradition, all teddy bears and stuffed animals will go for a great cause and will this year be donated to the Pediatric Center at MercyHealth for the holidays.
Luckily, the Jets were able to score in the first and allow the teddy bears to be released, as they were held without a goal for the remaining 40 minutes after Mell’s PPG.
Cameron Ricotta scored two consecutive goals (11, 12), followed by Camden Shasby tacking one on with under five minutes left for good measure to secure the Ice Dogs a weekend sweep and their eighth win in a row.
Both teams elected to switch things up between the pipes and send out their second goaltenders in the rubber match. Michael D’Orazio made his seventh start of the year for the Jets and made 28 saves on 32 shots. Tyler Krivtsov, who just posted the first shutout of his junior league career the previous weekend against Chippewa, allowed just one goal on 27 shots in his eighth win in 12 appearances in the season.
The Jets skid reached four games following the sweep, with all four losses coming against the top two teams in Fairbanks and Springfield. The Jets finish the regular season with a 3-3-0-1 record against the Ice Dogs, who they will not see again, barring a matchup in the Robertson Cup Playoffs.
Around the Division
Kenai River Brown Bears 6 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 0
Minnesota Magicians 3 @ Chippewa Steel 1
Kenai River Brown Bears 3 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 4
Anchorage Wolverines 3 @ Minnesota Wilderness 1
Chippewa Steel 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Kenai River Brown Bears 2 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 3 (F/OT)
Anchorage Wolverines 6 @ Minnesota Wilderness 2
Anchorage Wolverines 1 @ Minnesota Wilderness 2
|1||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||31||22-8-0-1||45|
|2||Springfield Jr. Blues||31||20-9-1-1||42|
|8||Kenai River Brown Bears||29||7-19-2-1||17|
The Jets, along with the rest of the league, get this week off to enjoy the holidays before getting back into action just before the New Year. Janesville will host the first game out of the holiday break, a Thursday night matchup against the Anchorage Wolverines. The newest team in the NAHL got the best of Janesville the last time they met back at the end of October. A 6-2 win followed by a 7-3 victory got the Wolverines a head start in the head-to-head record against the Jets. Have a safe and happy holiday, Jets fans!
Jets vs. Wolverines | Thu Dec 30 | 7:00pm CST
Jets vs. Wolverines | Fri Dec 31 | 7:00pm CST
Jets vs. Wolverines | Sat Jan 1 | 7:00pm CST