PREVIEW: Jets vs. Jr. Blues (Game #27)

Dec 9, 2017

By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | Dec 9, 2017 | 3:20pm

Sat 12/9  |  7:00pm  |  Janesville, WI

LIVE STREAM: HockeyTV  |  TWITTER: @JanesvilleJets1

LAST NIGHT: The Janesville Jets gave up a goal on their first penalty kill of the night, and for a moment it looked like the Kenai River Brown Bears and their fourth-ranked power play would control the night. The Jets survived the rest of the period, highlighted by three successful penalty kills, and turned the pressure up. They poured on the shots in the final 40 minutes, firing 14 on Gavin Enright in the second period alone, and finally broke the seal. Goals from Jordan Steinmetz and Jakov Novak in the middle frame reversed the narrative and Kip Hoffmann collected two insurance markers, one on an empty net with one second left, to seal the deal for their third straight win. Daniel Lebedeff was outstanding for Janesville, stopping 28 of 29 Kenai chances.

TONIGHT: Home fans enjoy a rarity on the Jets’ last set of games before the holiday break: two different opponents in a Friday/Saturday home stand. The Springfield Jr. Blues surrendered two one-goal leads last night in La Crosse, losing 5-3 to the Coulee Region Chill, failing to gain separation on the fourth-place Minnesota Magicians, who also lost yesterday in a home match with Fairbanks.

The Jets split their “Salute to Service” weekend versus Springfield last month, losing Friday’s match 3-1 before bouncing back with a 5-4 win on Saturday. Daniel Lebedeff was in net for each game. Unsurprisingly, Kip Hoffmann and Jakov Novak lead Janesville skaters with six and five points respectively versus the Jr. Blues.

Historically, the Jets are 48-22-2-3 against their rivals to the south, a .640 win percentage over the longest-tenured team in the NAHL.

Tonight is the Jets’ fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss event, this year sponsored by the Janesville Gazette. The Teddy Bear Toss is a popular Christmas season staple for teams across junior hockey. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to the game, and to throw them onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal. The toys are then gathered up to be donated as Christmas presents to hospitals and charities. The tradition was started in 1993 by the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers. For the Jets’ event, all bears and animals will be collected and donated to the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots program. The Jets have already received plush donations from Kohl’s and Perfectly Plus. Like with Friday’s food drive, every fan bringing a plush animal will receive $1 off their admission.


SEASON SERIES (Jets 2-1-0-0)

Sept. 16 @ Springfield W, 5-3
Nov. 10 Springfield L, 3-1
Nov. 11 Springfield W, 5-4
Dec. 9 Springfield 7:00pm
Jan. 5 @ Springfield 7:05pm
Jan. 6 @ Springfield 6:05pm
Jan. 12 Springfield 7:00pm
Jan. 13 Springfield 7:00pm
Jan. 27 @ Springfield 6:05pm
Mar. 2 @ Springfield 7:05pm
Mar. 3 @ Springfield 6:05pm
Mar. 28 Springfield 7:00pm

Midwest Division Standings:

Place Team Record Pts
1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs 16-5-3-2 37
2 Janesville Jets 17-7-2-0 36
3 Springfield Jr. Blues 14-10-1-1 30
4 MN Magicians 14-11-1-1 30
5 Coulee Region Chill 7-12-1-5 20
6 Kenai River Brown Bears 9-17-1-0 19


  • TWO-HEADED MONSTER: Part of the Jets’ early success was because of their ability to deploy Daniel Lebedeff and Garrett Nieto interchangeably, hitting opposition with two talented goaltenders without risking fatigue. Since November 4, Nieto has played just 28:48, all in what was supposed to be his return from injury, a game against the Brookings Blizzard on November 18. He was re-injured in the game and hasn’t played since. Getting a healthy tandem back will be huge for the Jets.
  • IN THE ZONE: I wrote yesterday about Jordan Steinmetz’s recent scoring success. The Wisconsin native scored again last night in his third straight contest. The first of this tear was his first NAHL goal, and now he’s King Midas. Part of what makes this league so fun is watching the in-season development of rookies, and Steinmetz is enjoying that exact success, similar to players like Joey Abate, TJ Polglaze, or Cole Paskus in recent years.
  • BEAR BOY: It’s always fun to play prognosticator with the Teddy Bear goal. Last year it was Keegan Miller igniting the crowd just 81 seconds into what would be a 6-1 win over the Springfield Jr. Blues. The year before, defenseman Blake Wareham scored his second of the year halfway into the first period to bring a record 563 bears over the glass. This season, Brenden MacLaren, Reid Hill, Matt Doyle, Jordan Steinmetz, Kip Hoffmann, and Alec Semandel each have scored the opening goal of a game. Dark horse favorite for tonight: Nathan Solis has two goals this season, each of them the game’s first.


  • Kip Hoffmann is 1 point away from 100 in his NAHL career
  • Carter Ekberg is scheduled to play his 75th career NAHL game tonight
  • Alec Semandel is 3 games away from 75 in his junior hockey career (USHL, NAHL)
  • TJ Polglaze is 7 games away from 75 in his NAHL career
  • Kip Hoffmann is 9 games away from tying Cullen Munson’s Jets record of 175 regular season games


Current Jets, ranking among the franchise all-time leaders:

GAMES PLAYED (regular season)

RANK Player Pos GP
1 Cullen Munson F 175
2 Adam Winborg F 170
3 Kip Hoffmann F 166
4 Adam Roeder D 147
5 Bryan Kronberger D 137
6 Jeff Alderfer D 120
7 Jordan Himley F 120
8 Alex Smith D 118
9 Lordanthony Grissom D 115
T-10 Ross Mauermann F 113
T-10 Connor McBride F 113

 GOALS (regular season)

 RANK Player Pos G
1 Adam Winborg F 62
2 Connor McBride F 48
3 Cullen Munson F 43
4 Kip Hoffmann F 42
5 Jordan Himley F 40
6 Ross Mauermann F 39
7 Cole Paskus F 35
8 Drew Callin F 34
9 Jordan Bancroft F 32
T-10 Brandon Schultz F 30
T-10 Pijus Rulevicius F 30

 POINTS (regular season)

RANK Player Pos Pts
1 Adam Winborg F 145
2 Cullen Munson F 113
T-3 Ross Mauermann F 99
T-4 Kip Hoffmann F 99
5 Connor McBride F 92
6 Jordan Himley F 77
7 Cole Paskus F 74
8 Evan Feno F 73
T-9 Jordan Bancroft F 72
T-9 Alex Smith D 72


Record: 14-10-1-1 (3rd, Midwest)
Road Record: 5-3-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 78GF/79GA
Power Play: 20.0% (15th in the NAHL)
Penalty Kill: 73.6% (20th in the NAHL)
Top ScorersJeff Skinner (24GP—11G-12A—23PTS), Ethan Stewart (26GP—10G-12A—22PTS); Multiple Players (19PTS)


Record: 17-7-2-0 (2nd, Midwest)
Home Record: 8-4-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 75GF/67GA
Power Play: 20.2% (13th in the NAHL)
Penalty Kill: 75.7% (17th in the NAHL)
Top ScorersJakov Novak (23GP—12G-18A—30PTS); Kip Hoffmann (26GP—12G-18A—30PTS); TJ Polglaze (25GP—3G-14A—17PTS)


Sat 12/9  |  7:00pm  |  Janesville, WI

LIVE STREAM: HockeyTV  |  TWITTER: @JanesvilleJets1