By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | Jan 27, 2018 | 9:15pm
The Helsinki native and future Wisconsin Badger kept his Jets alive yesterday versus Fairbanks, making 30 saves on 31 shots, and was rewarded for his efforts with the nod tonight.
“Just wanted to see if he could go back to back,” said Jets head coach Gary Shuchuk. “Wasn’t anything to do with yesterday, just wanted to see if he could do it. Garrett has still got some aches and pains, too, so we wanted to make sure he was ready for the following week.
“Daniel’s a competitor,” he continued. “Both of our goalies are competitors. That’s what I like about them. Daniel hates getting scored on in practice and he hates when he gets scored on in games. That shows out there because it didn’t happen tonight. That goes for Garrett, too. They’re both competitors.”
Lebedeff’s 28 saves tonight came in all varieties and were most crucial as the last line of defense on the penalty kill, which went a perfect 3-for-3 tonight.
“I feel great,” said Lebedeff. “The team has been solid in front of me. They’re doing their job and I’m feeling really confident right now. It was a great weekend for us and a good one for me, too. It’s good to see the guys scoring, especially the depth lines. They work really hard. Jordan Steinmetz got that goal in the first to get us going so I kind of knew it was going to be a good game.”
The goal support came once in each period in front of a big crowd at the Nelson Center.
Janesville’s win gives them two more points in the standings as the final third of the season approaches.
Ten minutes into the first period, the Jets broke the ice from the stick of Jordan Steinmetz (9:59 1st), who collected a pass from Benji Eckerle and sniped home his sixth of the season. From there, the play turned physical, with a few crushing hits from each team turning up the intensity.
The Jets took the game’s first penalty just 17 seconds into the 2nd period. The kill did its job, and Janesville earned a couple of cracks at the power play in the middle frame, but couldn’t generate much. Late in the period, Sam Renlund (16:28 2nd) buried a rebound from a Steinmetz shot to double the lead for the Jets.
Determined to put this one away, alternate captain Jakov Novak (3:44 3rd) scored a beautiful goal just one match removed from the expiration of his 12-game point streak. Novak collected a puck at the near blue line, approached his defender, and toe-dragged it in tight before sniping his 20th of the season glove side. The Jets piled on the shots in the closing 15 minutes, finishing with a total of 20 in the third period alone.
Daniel Lebedeff (11-6-2-1) would not be beaten tonight, turning aside shot after shot in the 28-save shutout performance. Evan Fear (8-7-2-0) was solid in net for the Jr. Blues against 45 shots, but needed something even more special for the win tonight.
The Jets come back to Janesville for another two-opponent weekend, this time over two home games. On Friday, February 2, the Kenai River Brown Bears make their second and final regular season trip to the Janesville Ice Arena. The Battle of Wisconsin is renewed on Saturday with the Coulee Region Chill‘s visit as the two teams again compete for the Blain’s Dairyland Milk Can Trophy. You can buy your tickets online, or head to any Janesville area Lions Quick Mart location to save $2 on undated ticket vouchers. Watch the Jets all season on HockeyTV and stay connected through Facebook and Twitter.