BLAINE, MN — The Janesville Jets, four days after beginning their season with a win in Springfield, opened the 2017 NAHL Showcase with a Wednesday morning victory over their division rivals, the Kenai River Brown Bears.
It was a low-scoring affair with only a few high opportunity scoring chances, and each goaltender made timely saves. The Jets fell behind with a first period power play goal from Kenai River, but struck in each of the following periods for the 2-1 victory.
The teams felt each other out for much of the first period, trading chances and trying to set a tempo. With Benji Eckerle in the penalty box late in the period, it was Luke Posner who struck first, putting his Brown Bears up 1-0.
In the 2nd, with the Jets pressing, Jakov Novak stole a weak clearing attempt high in the zone and found his winger Erik Palmqvist, who sniped a wrist shot far side for his first NAHL goal, tying the game at 1-1. The Jets killed two minors and continued to pepper Pavliukov with chances.
The third time was the charm for the Jets’ man advantage unit. Cycling on the power play, Alec Semandel took a pass and fired a cannon at the net, which Jakov Novak was able to redirect past the netminder for the 2-1 lead. The Jets killed one more penalty and hung on for the narrow win and two more points in the standings.
Finnish netminder Daniel Lebedeff earned his first NAHL win for Janesville, stopping 19 of 20 Kenai shots. Artur Pavliukov, former Coulee Region Chill goaltender, was excellent despite the loss, as he turned aside 45 pucks from the Jets.
The Jets play their 2nd NAHL Showcase game tomorrow afternoon against the East Division’s Johnstown Tomahawks. Puck drops at 1:15 CDT, with Janesville’s Mike Hammett calling the game on HockeyTV.com.