Weekend Preview: Jets @ Brown Bears (G35, G36, & G37)

By Calvin Bush (@calvin_bush24) | Jan 21, 2022 | 4:30 pm

SOLDOTNA, AK — Winners of their last five games, the Jets will make their final trip to Alaska and set up shop for two weeks with a three-game series against the Kenai River Brown Bears at the start of their stay. The playoff push remains heated coming into the weekend, with just five points separating Janesville from the fourth-place Magicians, with the Steel and Wilderness both smushed between fourth and seventh.

Following their one-game faceoff against the Chippewa Steel a week ago, a game that featured a heavy exchange of blows up until the final whistle, the Jets enter their last Alaskan expedition on a high. The 5-4 win in their first game against Chippewa may have been exhausting and may have been ugly, but there is no denying that the Jets have been playing some of their best hockey this season. An always-difficult matchup against their Wisconsin counterpart, the Jets chased red-hot Steel netminder Croix Kochendorfer just minutes into the game. While they may have allowed their opponent to roar back into a tie, Janesville closed out the final 20 minutes and escaped with two points. With how close the Midwest Division currently stands, an ugly win is still a win and counts just the same, especially entering a crucial period away from home.

Janesville’s first set of games in Alaska did not treat them so well. In the opening two games against the Anchorage Wolverines, the Jets allowed 13 goals, and the Wolverines scored on four of their six power plays. The next game, the first of three games, against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, was another rough matchup, a 5-2 loss. The loss to the Ice Dogs marked the Jets’ ninth loss in their last ten games. However, things turned for the better in the next two contests against Fairbanks. The Jets were able to leave Alaska with some positivity and momentum thanks to wins of 4-2 and 5-3, respectively. This started a streak that saw seven wins in eight games and was a monumental turnaround for the Jets.

Now entering another three-game series, their third in four weeks, Janesville has an opportunity to put immense pressure on the three teams in front of them, if there wasn’t already. Like we saw two weeks ago, the Brown Bears are no easy opponent, and in their arena, it will certainly present a different stage.

The Jets will continue to look toward their athletic front of forwards and skillful defense behind them for goals, as they’ve done well during their winning streak. Cy LeClerc had himself a three-point outing last Friday (1G-2A) and is third in the NAHL in overall scoring (43P), third in goals (21), and first in overall scoring amongst rookies. The rookie forward has points in his last four games. Look for the birthday boy Jonah Aegerter to get after it this weekend as well; turning 18 today, Aegerter has goals in four of his last six games and put in a solid two-point effort in the 5-4 win over the Steel.

When you look at the defensemen group in the Jets’ system this year, it proves to be one of the best in the NAHL. Will Troutwine, Cal Mell, and Grayden Daul all have 23 points this season, and the trio has a combined 10 points in the last three games. Owen Millward has continued to stand tall in net for the Jets and has won five of his previous six games. He owns a 1.85 GAA in that span.

The Brown Bears have lost nine games in a row, though they have managed to pick up a point in four of those losses. While their recent games haven’t been pleasant, forward Cole Dubicki allows some light to shine upon Kenai River this year. Dubicki lands at sixth in overall league scoring (13-29–42) and is fresh off a two-assist game against Fairbanks last Saturday. Rookie forward Ryan Finch has scored a goal in three consecutive games, and another rookie in Kevin Marx Noren lands 15th in rookie scoring with 25 points this season.

The Jets’ largest margin of victory this year came against these same Brown Bears, a 6-0 shutout on January 6. It was Owen Millward’s third shutout of the season thanks to a 24-save display and saw 10 Jets land on the scoresheet. Defenseman Will Troutwine also scored a pair of goals in the win.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most shots the Jets have faced were also against Kenai River; the Brown Bears recorded 45 shots on goal the night before the Jets got their biggest blowout win of the year. It was a game that made it to a shootout and resulted in a win thanks to Mike D’Orazio making 42 saves, 46 if you count the shootout.

With the Minnesota Magicians and Wilderness squaring off against one another and the Chippewa Steel traveling to Illinois to take on the Springfield Jr. Blues, the window of opportunity for the Jets to continue their rise in the standings has presented itself at an interesting yet relatively decent time. The other games within the division certainly matter, but the Jets have to take care of their own business first, and it starts with a hunt for the Brown Bears tonight.

These Alaskan trips require a bit more determination for all parties involved, as puck drop tonight and tomorrow is scheduled for 10:30 PM CT. As always, your media team will put in the work and put in the hours and bring you coverage on our TwitterFacebook, and Instagram platforms. Additionally, all three games will be broadcast live on HockeyTV.

#WheelsUp✈️


JANESVILLE JETS

Record: 16-17-0-1 (7th, Midwest)
Road Record: 5-11-0-0
Goals For/Game: 
3.50 (10th)
Goals Against/Game:
3.74 (23rd)
Shots For/Game: 29.41 (24th)
Shots Against/Game:
30.21 (12th)
Power Play: 
17.8% (16th) 
Penalty Kill:
70.2% (29th)
Top Scorers: 
F Cy LeClerc (34GP—21G-22A—43PTS); F Jan Lasak (28GP—15G-12A—27PTS); F William Gustavsson (30GP—11G-15A—26PTS)
Goaltenders: Owen Millward (14-7-0-0; 3.10 GAA; .896 SV%); Michael D’Orazio (2-7-0-1; 3.92 GAA; .876 SV%); Ryan Whittaker (0-1-0-0;  6.00 GAA; .778 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Robby Newton (University of Wisconsin); F Grayden Daul (University of Wisconsin); F Jonah Aegerter (St. Cloud State); F Cy LeClerc (University of New Hampshire); F Jan Lasak (St. Lawrence University); F Ethan Begg (University of Vermont); F Jack Ford (Army-West Point); D AJ Casperson (Long Island University); F Jimmy Doyle (St. Lawrence University); F Jack Larrigan (University of Notre Dame)


KENAI RIVER BROWN BEARS

Record: 7-24-3-2 (8th, Midwest)
Home Record: 5-9-0-0
Goals For/Game: 2.31 (29th)
Goals Against/Game:
4.42 (29th)
Shots For/Game: 29.50 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game:
31.39 (17th)
Power Play:
27.3% (1st)
Penalty Kill:
74.6% (26th)
Top Scorers:
F Cole Dubicki (36GP—13G-29A—42PTS); F Kevin Marx Noren (34GP—10G-15A—25PTS); F David Vleten (35GP—11G-12A—23PTS)
Goaltenders: Bryant Marks (2-9-2-0; 4.10 GAA; .873 SV%); Tommy Aitken (4-14-1-1; 4.16 GAA; .857 SV%)
Rostered Commitments:
D Brendan Hill (Lake Superior State University)


100+ NCAA commitments since 2009.