Weekend Preview: Jets @ Steel (G17 & G18)

By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | November 2, 2018 | 2:56pm

JANESVILLE, WI – The second edition of the “new” rivalry between the Jets and the Chippewa Steel, formerly the Coulee Region Chill, sees a two-game set between the clubs in Chippewa Falls this weekend.

The in-state rivals opened this chapter of their rivalry in September with a home-and-home series, which the Jets swept with a close 2-1 victory at home and a 5-1 blowout in Chippewa Falls. Hudson defenseman Jordon Halverson recorded three points in the series, in which both Cole Brady and Garrett Nieto posted one-goal games.

Janesville then jetted to Alaska, where a sweep of the then-division-leading Kenai River Brown Bears improved their trip to a 3-1 record. The Jets have split series versus the Springfield Jr. Blues and the Minnesota Wilderness since their return. Brady has shone in his increased responsibilities since Nieto suffered a hip injury in Alaska. Brady’s Friday night shutout in Cloquet marked his fourth-straight victory, and he’ll want to start another streak tonight in Chippewa Falls.

Chippewa, on the other hand, is hungry for a victory. They swept the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in their first weekend as the Steel, but have since struggled to pick up points in the standings. A September 21st 4-1 win over Lone Star at the Showcase is their most recent “W,” despite strong road showings against the Ice Dogs and the Magicians.

Head coach Al Rooney’s group checks tightly — their ~28 shots allowed per game ranks 6th in the league — but better starts and better finishes are expected in Chippewa Falls.

Czech forward Tomas Vochozka, who hails from the same town as Jets defenseman Stanislav Dosek, is enjoying a great start to his second year in the NAHL. Only six skaters in the Midwest Division have outpaced Vochozka’s 13 points so far. The ’99 forward, who billets with defenseman and countryman Filip Dusek, developed for a half-season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders before joining the Coulee Region Chill last season.

Chippewa’s youth between the pipes also gives promise against a troubling start. The pair of ’01 goaltenders has tons of room to grow, and is led by 6’5″ Maine commit Josh Langford. The Jets will need to put pucks on early and often this weekend, something the group has been working on into the second quarter of the season.

Puck drops both nights at 7:10pm CDT. Both games are broadcast live on HockeyTV.

WATCH LIVE (HockeyTV)


JANESVILLE JETS

Record: 9-6-1-0 (2nd, Midwest)
Road Record: 5-2-0-0
Goals For/Game:
2.25 (20th)
Goals Against/Game:
 2.50 (8th)
Shots For/Game: 24.00 (24th)
Shots Against/Game:
 31.19 (10th)
Power Play: 
17.5% (16th)
Penalty Kill: 
84.1% (6th)
Top Scorers: 
F Erik Bargholtz (14GP—3G-5A—8PTS); F Jack Vincent (15GP—3G-5A—8PTS); F Tommy Middleton (16GP—2G-6A—8PTS); F Mason Salquist (16GP—0G-8A—8PTS)
Goaltenders: 
Cole Brady (6-3-0-0; 1.74 GAA; .942 SV%); Garrett Nieto (3-3-0-0; 3.42 GAA; .899 SV%); Owen Zdunski (2-4-1-0; 2.91 GAA; .888 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Justin Engelkes (Miami); F Erik Bargholtz (Michigan State); G Cole Brady (Arizona State); F Brenden MacLaren (Ferris State); G Garrett Nieto (Union)


CHIPPEWA STEEL

Record: 3-12-1-1 (6th, Midwest)
Home Record: 2-4-0-0
Goals For/Game: 1.82 (23rd)
Goals Against/Game:
 3.71 (22nd)
Shots For/Game: 26.24 (21st)
Shots Against/Game:
 28.35 (6th)
Power Play: 
15.9% (18th)
Penalty Kill: 
74.0% (21st)
Top Scorers: 
F Tomas Vochozka (17GP—6G-7A—13PTS); F Camden Thiesing (15GP—5G-5A—10PTS); F Killian Kiecker-Olson (17GP—1G-7A—8PTS) 
Goaltenders: 
Josh Langford (1-5-0-1; 3.88 GAA; .872 SV%); Jackson Bernard (0-3-1-0; 3.97 GAA; .850 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: 
G Josh Langford (Maine); D Dylan Moulton (Bowling Green); D Hunter Weiss (Notre Dame)