By: Rob Brent | February 17, 2019 | 12:05pm
JANESVILLE, WI – The Janesville Jets and Springfield Jr. Blues met in Janesville Saturday night, with important playoff implications on the line. The Jets rebounded from a weak performance the previous night to take back their place in the divisional standings with a 4-2 win over the Jr. Blues. Here are our three keys to the big win.
ANSWERING THE BELL
Saturday night’s game, in many ways, was a game where the Jets answered adversity. After a loss where the team did not look it’s best, they put in an all around solid performance. The penalty kills was stingy, the offense produced multiple high quality chances, and converted on them. Perhaps the most important act of resilience came in the form of how the Jets responded to Jr. Blues goals. The Jets took the lead early in the game on a goal by Andrew Hicks, but the Jr. Blues would answer towards the end of the period. The Jets played well immediately following the goal, and once again took the lead in the second period. Again, the Jets would respond strongly as Justin Engelkes and Philip Bjorkman scored in short order. Janesville was able to respond to Springfield goals quickly, and this resiliency was key to the Jets victory.
The Jets put in their best offensive performance of the last two series on Saturday night. Janesville was able to eclipse 20 shots on goal for the first time in two games. Teams can’t score if you don’t put pucks on net. The Jets have been struggling with just that as of late. But on this night, the offense executed simple plays that got the offense going. the game was punctuated by a three goal third period that saw Justin Engelkes score twice (He also assisted on Hicks‘ goal in the first for a three point night), as well as getting a goal from Philip Bjorkman.
The Engelkes goals were assisted by John Prokop, Tommy Middleton, Brendon Jones (earning him his first point as a Jet), and Erik Palmqvist. Palmqvist would also earn an assist, along with Luke Wheeler, on the Bjorkman marker. The Jets put together a solid all around performance on offense, and will need to continue these habits moving towards the playoffs.
RETURN TO FORM
Goaltender Cole Brady Made his first start for the Jets in two weeks Saturday night. Janesville had been utilizing Sam Metcalf while he was on a three game win streak. The last time we saw Brady he had given up 6 goals on 29 shots to these same Jr. Blues. Springfield matched their output during this game, but Brady was up to the task, stopping 27 of their 29 shots on goal. The Jets will fare much better if Brady can continue this form, as he had earlier in the season. The Ontario native is ranked as the 10th best North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting, and is committed to play D1 hockey at Arizona State University. The goaltender will also travel to Attleboro Massachusetts to play in the NAHL top prospects tournament. This is all to say, Brady is supremely talented, and the Jets are a better team when he is at the top of his game.
With the win, the Jets have retaken sole possession of third place in the Midwest division standings. The Jets will stay in Janesville next weekend when they take on the second place Alaska Fairbanks Ice Dogs. With a weekend sweep, the Jets would move to just one point behind Fairbanks. This could also serve as a playoff preview if the standings stay constant. Special teams could take center stage in this series. The Ice Dogs have the most efficient penalty killing unit in the division, successfully stifling 82.6% of opposing powerplays.
MIDWEST DIVISION STANDINGS
Tickets for the weekend series can be bought ONLINE or at any Lion’s Quick Mart Location.