CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI — Rested up and ready for the final third of the regular season, the Jets will battle with the Chippewa Steel for just the second time this season in another one-game matchup on Saturday night. Following a clean sweep over the Anchorage Wolverines two weeks ago, the Jets enjoyed this past week off to rest up, bask in their victories, prepare for the home stretch of the season and work their way into the final playoff position in the division.
Heading into their matchup against the Steel, the Jets are only four points behind the fourth and final postseason position in the Midwest, currently held by the Minnesota Wilderness. The Steel are only a point ahead of the Jets, and the two will square off against each other another six times before the end of the season.
The Jets narrowly escaped Chippewa with a win their last time around, a 5-4 victory on January 14 that almost made it to overtime after a late goal from the Steel but was ultimately waved off by the officials. The Jets have lost just one game in Chippewa and are 10-3 overall against their only in-state opponent in the last five years.
The Jets come into Saturday night’s matchup with a bit of extra pep in their step with the week off and momentum following consecutive 3-2 wins over a strong Anchorage Wolverines team. Additionally, the team brought back Cade Destefani, who played with the Jets last season and put up head-turning numbers to back Janesville to a division title and playoff appearance.
On the contrary, the Chippewa Steel are looking for a turnaround. Currently 3-6-0-1 in their last ten, Chippewa has seen their spacing in the standings quickly shrink to a now crammed setup in the Midwest. With their recent struggles, head coach Casey Mignone made some changes to the roster, which looks slightly different from their matchup a month ago. The Steel dropped a close matchup on Friday night to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, a 4-2 loss, and are looking to at least get one point in their weekend homestand.
The Jets were able to chase rising rookie Croix Kochendorfer out of the net in their first matchup, thanks to three goals on four shots. Assuming Kochendorfer gets the nod again, setting the tone and getting pressure early and often on the young netminder will be a top bullet point in strategies to succeed. Add on the fact the Steel are a bit of a new-look squad. Doing what the Jets have done all year in playing their fast game will also come into play in a big way.
Elsewhere within the division, the Springfield Jr. Blues will host the Anchorage Wolverines, the Minnesota Magicians will have the Kenai River Brown Bears in town, and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs will travel to Cloquet, Minnesota, to take on the Wilderness. Following Saturday night’s contest, the Jets will travel back home for consecutive series from Janesville.
Record: 19-19-0-1 (7th, Midwest)
Road Record: 8-13-0-0
Goals For/Game: 3.46 (12th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.64 (21st)
Shots For/Game: 29.79 (21st)
Shots Against/Game: 29.95 (11th)
Power Play: 19.0% (13th)
Penalty Kill: 69.2% (29th)
Top Scorers: F Cy LeClerc (39GP—22G-24A—46PTS); F Jan Lasak (33GP—17G-16A—33PTS); F William Gustavsson (35GP—12G-17A—29PTS)
Goaltenders: Owen Millward (17-8-0-0; 2.95 GAA; .899 SV%); Michael D’Orazio (2-8-0-1; 4.02 GAA; .872 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); F Cade Destefani (Western Michigan University)
Record: 19-21-0-2 (6th, Midwest)
Home Record: 10-12-0-1
Goals For/Game: 2.88 (22nd)
Goals Against/Game: 3.26 (19th)
Shots For/Game: 29.74 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game: 29.33 (8th)
Power Play: 15.9% (21st)
Penalty Kill: 82.4% (14th)
Top Scorers: F Joseph Grainda (41GP—13G-16A—29PTS); F Nick Sajevic (42GP—12G-15A—27PTS); F Joe Kelly (40GP—13G-3A—16PTS)
Goaltenders: Croix Kochendorfer (12-11-0-1; 2.68 GAA; .908 SV%); Zach Hansen (1-4-0-1; 3.90 GAA; .867 SV%); Nick Haas (0-1-0-0; 4.14 GAA; .902 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Matthew Brille (Brown University); F Andrew Delladonna (Ohio State University); D Sam Frandina (St. Lawrence University)