The Jets took the ice for the first time in 18 days over the weekend and were able to win all three games that they played in.
The road trip began with a single game in Chippewa against the Steel as the Battle of Wisconsin resumed. It was true to its name in battle until the very end. The Jets were able to gain a two-goal lead through the first two periods with tallies from Nick Leyer and Matt Romer.
The teams then exchanged goals in the third period for a 3-2 Jets lead, but Liam Hansson scored with just five seconds remaining and tied the game at three-all.
The overtime period went by quietly, but captain Carter Hottmann answered the call in the third round of the shootout. Owen Millward stopped one more Chippewa shot to seal the 4-3 victory for Janesville and to get the trio of road games off to a winning start.
The Jets then traveled to Richfield, Minn. for a showdown with the Minnesota Magicians. The two teams have been in a heated battle for possession of first place in the Midwest Division for the past several weeks, with Minnesota in the lead and Janesville in third heading into the series.
Friday’s opener was as closely matched as it gets, with the shots at 21-20 in favor of Minnesota and the score tied 1-1 through two periods.
Neither squad was able to break the tie in the third period, and for the second night in a row, the Jets headed to overtime. The hometown kid Charlie Schoen then scored a highlight reel-worthy goal with two minutes left for the 2-1 win. It was Schoen’s second overtime winner in Richfield this season.
Janesville showed no signs of slowing down as the third game of the weekend began. Cade Destefani and Justin Thompson scored in the first two periods to give the Jets a 2-0, and the offense exploded in the final frame. Hottmann, Schoen, Shane Ott and Tommy Middleton all scored within seven minutes and brought the score to 6-0.
Riley Sims held off all of Minnesota’s 25 shots and earned his third shutout of the season, and second win in a row. Thirteen different Jets contributed points in the effort.
The Jets narrowly regained control of first place over Minnesota by just one point and earned six by sweeping the three games. Janesville remained dominant in its penalty kill and posted a perfect 9-9 record over the weekend.
The winning streak wasn’t the only thing of note that the Jets accomplished in the very busy weekend. On Friday, alum and Minnesota Golden Gopher Jack LaFontaine was named the Mike Richter Award winner, given annually to the best goaltender in college hockey. LaFontaine is the first Jet to receive the award, and was the NAHL 2016 Midwest Division Goaltender of the Year. This season, he posted a .934 save percentage and a 1.79 goals against average, new single-season records for Minnesota.
Friday evening after the Jets’ big win, the team encountered a family with an infant experiencing a medical emergency. The team quickly but calmly jumped in to help, which included a 911 call from Riley Sims that explained the situation and prompted an ambulance to arrive within minutes. Thanks to the team and Riley’s heroic effort, the child was given urgent assistance and survived.
Finally, as the weekend finale for Janesville was taking place in Minnesota, former Jet Colin Felix was playing in one of the biggest games of his life in Philadelphia. Felix, a junior defenseman at UMass, appeared in his second national championship with the Minutemen on Saturday, and this time, he brought the trophy home. Felix finished the night with a +3 rating in the 5-0 UMass victory, the first title in school history. He is just the second Jet to win a Division I national championship, as Janesville native Ross Mauermann hoisted the trophy with the Providence Friars back in 2015.