JANESVILLE JETS at SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES — Nelson Center
Sat 1/27 | 6:05pm | Springfield, IL
LAST NIGHT: Hosting top-seeded Fairbanks, the Jets knew they had a huge opportunity to snap the Ice Dogs’ impressive win (13) and point (21) streaks and make a statement about the remaining third of the regular season’s division battle.
Call it one for two.
The Ice Dogs came away with the win in a six-round shootout and dominated most of the first 40 minutes. The Jets woke up in the third, however, countering Fairbanks’ attack and scoring a game-tying goal with 11 seconds in regulation. Were it not for playing overtime’s final 1:59 on the penalty kill, the Jets might have escaped with the win, but the PK unit came up big at a critical point to force the shootout.
The Ice Dogs’ win and point streaks live on, and they iced on one more point to their division lead over Janesville, now at 12. But the Jets’ effort in the final half of Friday’s game earned themselves a point in the standings and answered the question of just how far apart these two elite NAHL clubs are right now.
The answer, in case you were wondering, is not very far.
Nearly two months of play will pass before the clubs meet next. Before a March 15 date at the Big Dipper, the Jets have 14 games to tighten the screws and gain some ground in the standings.
TONIGHT: That stretch starts in Springfield.
The familiar opponents are on a six-game slide, of which the first four losses were administered by Janesville. Last weekend, the Jr. Blues were swept in Topeka, giving up a game-tying goal on Saturday with 12 seconds left in regulation before surrendering an overtime winner. Their skid, coupled with a four-game point streak from the Minnesota Magicians, has those two teams tied at 40 points for third in the Midwest Division, each still a comfortable 12 ahead of 5th place Coulee Region.
While the Jets took the first four meetings of 2018 between these rivals, it was only their first of those four wins, a 2-0 shutout contest in Springfield on January 5, that was decided by more than one goal.
Tonight, Janesville looks to get the last punch in before these two meet again in March, and pick up another two points.
SEASON SERIES (Jets 6-2-0-0)
|Sep. 16||@ Springfield||W, 5-3|
|Nov. 10||Springfield||L, 3-1|
|Nov. 11||Springfield||W, 5-4|
|Dec. 9||Springfield||L, 4-1|
|Jan. 5||@ Springfield||W, 2-0|
|Jan. 6||@ Springfield||W, 3-2|
|Jan. 12||Springfield||W, 2-1|
|Jan. 13||Springfield||W, 5-4 (OT)|
|Jan. 27||@ Springfield||6:05pm CT|
|Mar. 2||@ Springfield||7:05pm CT|
|Mar. 3||@ Springfield||6:05pm CT|
|Mar. 28||Springfield||7:00pm CT|
Midwest Division Standings:
|1||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||29-5-3-2||63|
|3||Springfield Jr. Blues||18-15-3-1||40|
|5||Coulee Region Chill||10-19-3-5||28|
|6||Kenai River Brown Bears||12-25-1-1||26|
Record: 24-9-2-0 (2nd, Midwest)
Road Record: 13-11-3-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 105GF/89GA
Power Play: 19.7% (11th in the NAHL)
Penalty Kill: 77.5% (17th in the NAHL)
Top Scorers: Jakov Novak (33GP—19G-27A—46PTS); Kip Hoffmann (36GP—14G-25A—39PTS); TJ Polglaze (36GP—6G-17A—23PTS)
SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES
Record: 18-15-3-1 (3rd, Midwest)
Home Record: 8-8-0-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 106GF/107GA
Power Play: 22.2% (5th in the NAHL)
Penalty Kill: 74.2% (22nd in the NAHL)
Top Scorers: Jeff Skinner (35GP—15G-18A—33PTS), Ethan Stewart (37GP—14G-16A—30PTS); Nikita Kozyrev (36GP—12G-15A—27PTS)