By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | Jan 20, 2018 | 12:43pm
The Rush is a new series that will be posted on JanesvilleJets.com following Game 1 of each regular season series. In The Rush, we will give a quick rundown and list important takeaways: good and bad, that Janesville will need to carry over in the series finale.
Start on time
Last night, the Jets gave up the game’s first goal for the 18th time in 34 contests this season. Their comeback efforts have been remarkable—they’re 11-6-1-0 in those contests—but the fact stands that better starts are needed for this Janesville club to stay competitive among the NAHL’s best. Only five teams (Topeka—10, Coulee Region—12, Brookings—13, New Jersey—15, and Kenai River—15) have scored fewer first goals than the Jets. Even the shot clock, where Janesville dominated Minnesota 40-28, showed the Magicians on top in the opening frame, 12-8. As the Jets approach the fourth quarter of the season (just ten games away), fixing their starts becomes more and more important.
Maybe the penalty box doors were stuck last night, but the officiating team of referee Anthony Opanowski and linesmen Cameron McCambridgeg and Samual Rankin called exactly zero penalties in the contest. The game grew physical, and while nothing particularly egregious occurred, the special teams’ rest likely benefited Minnesota. Against the Magicians this season both Jets specialty teams units have performed above season averages. The penalty kill is 16/19 in those contests, clicking at 84.2%, markedly above the the season average of 76.9%. The power play struck seven—yes, seven—times on 10 outings versus Minnesota. Drawing calls tonight for the Jets could yield a split series.
Current Jet, future Falcon flying high
It took until the third period, but Jakov Novak finally broke through last night. The Windsor, Ontario, native jammed home a rebound for his 18th goal of the season, extending his point streak to 11 games, just one shy of the league-high set by Springfield’s Jeff Skinner (Nov 18 to Dec 30). A three-point night from the Austin Bruins’ Travis Kothenbeutel broke their tie atop the league scoring race, but Novak’s step this season is remarkable. He posted 28 points in 52 games last season, hardly paltry, but has blown that away this year with 43 points across 31 games. At 71 career points, he’s only one away from tying defenseman Alex Smith at 10th in franchise scoring history.
JANESVILLE JETS (23-9-2-0) @ MINNESOTA MAGICIANS (17-16-2-1) — Richfield Ice Arena
Sat. 1/20 | 7:05 p.m. | Richfield, MN