JANESVILLE, WI — Two out of three ain’t bad, as they say.
The Jets took four of a possible six points in a three-game homestand against the visiting Kenai River Brown Bears last weekend. Janesville’s six-game winning streak ended Saturday in the two teams’ 10th and final contest of the regular season series. Kenai River won the series 6-3-0-1.
THURSDAY — W, 4-3
The Jets opened the weekend with a high-intensity effort, which translated into a win for the home team.
Grant Riley ended the game with 31 saves, and Kenai River goalie Landon Pavlisin ended with 27.
The Jets’ goals came from Nick Nardella, Parker Lindauer, Charlie Schoen, and Brandon McNamara.
Kenai was led by Skylar Gutierrez, Logan Ritchie, and Ryan Green.
Jets head coach Corey Leivermann said the series was highly anticipated by his team.
“We looked at these games with a playoff mentality,” he said. “Now it’s one of those things where we need the points, and so do they, and they want to change momentum. We have to match their intensity and we have to win the first period. That’s the goal. We have to find a way to close out hockey games.”
FRIDAY — W, 5-4
Five different Jets scored in the Friday win, including newcomer Arsenii Smekhnov, who joined the team earlier last week from the USHL’s Fargo Force.
“It felt amazing,” said Smekhnov about scoring his first goal as a Jet. “It’s a new journey for me, and new opportunities to get noticed. It was just super fun.”
Parker Lindauer got on the board first with a breakaway goal. The Jets were also helped out by Jordon Halverson, Isaac Novak, and Carter Hottmann.
Kenai’s offensive contributors were Lucas Whalin, Max Helgeson, Peter Morgan, and Logan Ritchie.
Riley Sims had 22 saves in the win, opposite Landon Pavlisin, who had 21.
SATURDAY — L, 7-2
Saturday’s fourth annual Guns ‘N Hoses day raised money for two local boys, Edgerton’s Jordan Faust and Janesville’s Isaac Johnson, who are each battling an aggressive form of pediatric cancer known as neuroblastoma.
Team Police defeated Team Fire, 4-1, in the afternoon charity match, which raised funds for the two families with a 50/50 raffle. T-shirt sales and bartending tips continued into the Jets game to push the totals higher.
Isaac and his family were announced with the Jets’ starters, and joined them at the blue line before puck drop.
“It feels wonderful promoting this,” said Debbie Johnson, Isaac’s mother. “Everyone has been so kind and generous and wanting to support, so it has been great, along with the community behind us.”
The six-game win streak hung in the balance as the Jets entered Saturday night’s third period tied at 2-2, but the veteran Brown Bears outskated them in the third period.
Danny Fraga of the Brown Bears ended the night with 32 saves. Grant Riley’s start was cut short when he left the game in the second period. Brown Bear defenseman Adam Szubert ran Riley on a two-on-one, resulting in an ejection and a five-minute major power play for Janesville. Nick Michel scored the Jets’ only goal on the extended man advantage, tying the game at 2-2. Anthony Szurlej scored the earlier goal.
In the third, momentum was lost to Kenai River, who scored five goals.
“This game will help us with handling adversity in tough games down the stretch,” said assistant coach Lennie Childs. “You can’t teach hard lessons with wins. In my mind, there are winners and learners. The best teams learn from their losses.”
Around the Division
Minnesota Magicians 4 @ Chippewa Steel 3
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Shreveport Mudbugs 4
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Minnesota Magicians 0 @ Chippewa Steel 4
Springfield Jr. Blues 0 @ Shreveport Mudbugs 4
|1||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||45||33-9-1-2||69|
|2||Kenai River Brown Bears||48||25-17-3-3||56|
|6||Springfield Jr. Blues||45||13-28-2-2||30|
The Jets will enjoy a Friday evening off before a single-game weekend against the Chippewa Steel.
Steel @ Jets | Sat Feb 15 | 7:05pm CST