Late Goal Lifts Jets to Sweep Over Wolverines

By Calvin Bush (@calvin_bush24) | Jan 31, 2022 | 3:45 pm

ANCHORAGE, AK — In their last game from the Last Frontier, and last against all Alaskan teams for the remainder of the season, the Jets again took a 2-2 tie into the third period Sunday night, but managed to get the game-winner in regulation to complete the sweep over the Anchorage Wolverines. The two wins came at a perfect time for the Jets, as they were coming off of consecutive losses to the Kenai River Brown Bears and heading into a weekend off. More importantly, it trampolined them further up the standings and even closer to a playoff spot in the Midwest.
Like Friday’s game, it took a bit of feeling out for both teams before anyone found the back of the net, but it was, again, the Jets gaining the edge first. After heading to the power play, William Gustavsson received a shot-pass from Zigi Lasak and tipped it up and over the shoulder of Shane Soderwall for the Jets’ 23rd power-play goal of the season and Gus’ 12th.

Cal Mell added a helper along with Zigi on the game’s opening goal.

Gus’ PPG was the only score in the first, and the Wolverines had no intentions of allowing the Jets’ lead to stand for long — Drake Albers scored just over three minutes into the second that knotted things up at a goal apiece. The Wolverines took their first lead of the weekend halfway through the frame with a power-play goal from Hunter Bischoff. Out of their eventual seven power-play opportunities, it was the only one that Anchorage scored on.

Down 2-1, the Jets offered a response at 14:22 of the period thanks to a wonderful feed from Mell into the slot where Lasak was left in an entirely different zip code. With time and space to shoot, Zigi sniped a far-side snapshot that tied the game at two.

Zigi’s roommate Cy LeClerc recorded his 25th assist on the play, and Top Prospects selection Cal Mell notched his team-leading 26th.

Another 16 minutes of scoreless skating went on from the Ben Boeke Arena, with each offensive chance for the Wolverines bringing a deafening barrage of cheers from the large crowd in the stands. Janesville went to their third power play of the night at 9:52 of the third and eventually secured the game-winner to silence the spectators.

Only 20 seconds after getting the man advantage, Zigi again displayed some great offensive awareness and found Grayden Daul by himself at the back door, who just had to tap in for the goal.

It was the second power-play goal of the game for the Jets and proved to be the difference in getting the win and the sweep over a hot Anchorage hockey team.

Owen Millward again stood tall in net, stopping 29 of 31 Anchorage shots in the win. He posted a .924 save percentage in his two victories, and has now won eight of his last 10 appearances.

“Getting the sweep was huge; we worked so hard this weekend,” said Jan “Zigi” Lasak. “We knew we were at our lowest last time we were here, and we owed them for last time. We went out and did what we needed to do.” Zigi finished the weekend with flying colors, recording a goal and three assists in two games.

Keeping the Wolverines scoring chances to a minimum, or at least limiting them to outside chances and low-percentage shots, was a significant factor in the wins. Allowing only two goals in each game to a top-five offense is quite the accomplishment, and staying true to what’s worked this season was the big picture.

“Our mindset was just to stick our gameplan and control what we can,” said Jets captain Cal Mell, who was also celebrating his 21st birthday. “Nothing is better than completing a weekend in Alaska with a huge win.” The Wolverines were kind enough to supply the newest legal drinker with a four-pack of their specialty beers, set at the Jets’ bench before the game, complete with a birthday card for Cal.

For the Wolverines, it was the first time they were held to just two goals or less since they played — who else — but the Jets, back on December 30, a 4-0 shutout win for Janesville.

Heading into the third period tied at two in a daunting environment like Anchorage is a big ask, but head coach Parker Burgess felt confident in his guys that they’d find a way again. “They just stuck with it,” said Burgess. “The kids kept believing, and they gave each other their very best. We are very proud of them.” With the consecutive wins over the third-place Wolverines, the Jets are now 8-2 in their last ten games and have some time to enjoy their big sweep with an upcoming week off.

“It’s nice; we are tired but happy and are looking forward to coming home,” said Burgess.

Thanks to their successful trip in Alaska, the Jets now find themselves only four points behind the Minnesota Wilderness in the fourth place position in the Midwest, AKA, the final playoff spot.

BOX SCORE

Around the Division

THURSDAY SCORE

Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 3 (F/SO) 

FRIDAY SCORES

Minnesota Wilderness 5 Chippewa Steel 1

Springfield Jr. Blues 2 @ Minnesota Magicians 3 (F/SO)

Kenai River Brown Bears 5 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3

SATURDAY SCORES

Chippewa Steel 0 @ Minnesota Wilderness 2 

Springfield Jr. Blues 2 @ Minnesota Magicians 3 (F/SO)

Kenai River Brown Bears 4 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 8

STANDINGS

Place Team GP Record Pts
1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs 41 26-13-1-1 54
2 Springfield Jr. Blues 37 25-9-1-2 53
3 Anchorage Wolverines 38 21-13-4-0 46
4 MN Wilderness 40 21-18-1-0 43
5 MN Magicians 39 18-16-3-2 41
6 Janesville Jets 37 19-19-0-1 39
7 Chippewa Steel 39 17-20-0-2 36
8 Kenai River Brown Bears 41 10-26-3-2 25
Coming Up

The Jets will have a much-deserved weekend off before Will Troutwine, Cal Mell, and Jonah Aegerter head to Pittsburgh for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which starts February 7. After that, Janesville will travel to Chippewa Falls for another one-game series for the second time against the Chippewa Steel on Saturday.

Jets @ Steel| Sat Feb 12 | 7:00pm CST


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