Weekend Preview: Jets vs. Brown Bears (G30 & G31)

By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | December 27, 2018 | 12:21pm

JANESVILLE, WI – Winners of three straight and six of the last seven, the Janesville Jets tonight have an opportunity to extend a hot streak and shorten the gap between 1st and 2nd in the Midwest Division.

Before their holiday break, the Jets swept the Midwest-leading Minnesota Magicians (2-0 / 5-2) at the Janesville Ice Arena, cutting the Magicians’ cushion to just three points. While Janesville was off last weekend, Minnesota swept Chippewa (6-3 / 2-1), but Janesville’s two games in hand keep things interesting.

Canadian goaltender Cole Brady picked up his fourth shutout, tied for the NAHL lead, in Friday’s 2-0 victory, and Eau Claire forward Brenden Olson continued his hot start in Janesville with three points on Saturday. Olson earned Bauer Midwest Division 2nd Star of the Week honors, and Brady picked up an Honorable Mention.

Following Saturday’s win, during which the Jets collected nearly 300 stuffed animals on their 5th annual Teddy Bear Toss, players enjoyed a peaceful break from the rigors of a junior hockey season.

Now, rested, returned, and ready to rumble, the Jets aim for a little home revenge against the Kenai River Brown Bears, who in September spoiled Janesville’s 10th Anniversary Opener with a rare sweep of the Jets.

Kenai River enjoyed a hot start to the season, winning eight of their first 10 games, but it was the Jets who returned the “favor” and spoiled their fun. In the teams’ last meeting, an Oct 5/6 series in Soldotna, Alaska, the Jets eked out a pair of 2-1 victories, beginning a skid for the Brown Bears. Since then, Kenai River has gone 3-14-2-2.

Brown Bears goaltender Gavin Enright, who just before the break announced his commitment to Bemidji State University (WCHA), has started 20 of the team’s 31 games this season. His .929 save percentage is tied with Cole Brady for 6th in the NAHL. Offensively, the group is led by forwards Zach Krajnik (9-14—23) and Michael Spethmann (10-8—18), with plenty of offense coming from Latvian blueliner and Alaska-Fairbanks recruit Markuss Komuls (5-13—18).

A pair of family-focused promotions will end the Jets’ 2018 calendar year. Tonight is the team’s first of two annual Skate with the Jets, featuring free post-game skate rentals courtesy of ATC. Players will come out of the locker room after tonight’s game to skate and take pictures with fans young and old. Tomorrow night is another Free Kids Night where fans 14 years and younger can receive free admission at the door, saving families $7 per child.

TICKETS

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JANESVILLE JETS

Record: 17-9-2-1 (2nd, Midwest)
Home Record: 7-3-2-0
Goals For/Game: 
2.45 (18th)
Goals Against/Game:
 2.62 (10th)
Shots For/Game: 26.31 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game:
 31.79 (13th)
Power Play: 
14.7% (21st)
Penalty Kill: 
83.6% (7th)
Top Scorers: 
F Jack Vincent (28GP—8G-12A—20PTS); F Matt Hanewall (29GP—8G-8A—16PTS); F Brenden MacLaren (29GP—6G-8A—14PTS)
Goaltenders: 
Cole Brady (14-6-1-1; 2.22 GAA; .929 SV%); Sam Metcalf (10-3-4-1; 3.12 GAA; .903 SV%); Garrett Nieto (3-3-0-0; 3.42 GAA; .899 SV%)* 
Rostered Commitments: F Nicholas Nardella (Michigan Tech); F Justin Engelkes (Miami); F Erik Bargholtz (Michigan State); G Cole Brady (Arizona State); F Brenden MacLaren (Ferris State); G Garrett Nieto (Union)

* Injured Reserve


KENAI RIVER BROWN BEARS

Record: 11-16-2-2 (5th, Midwest)
Road Record: 6-9-0-1
Goals For/Game: 2.23 (21st)
Goals Against/Game:
 2.68 (11th)
Shots For/Game: 31.71 (14th)
Shots Against/Game:
 31.61 (12th)
Power Play: 
22.3% (8th)
Penalty Kill: 
76.3% (20th)
Top Scorers: 
F Zach Krajnik (30GP—9G-14A—23PTS); F Michael Spethmann (31GP—10G-8A—18PTS); D Markuss Komuls (31GP—5G-13A—18PTS) 
Goaltenders: 
Gavin Enright (8-8-1-2; 2.22 GAA; .929 SV%); Dennis Westergård (3-7-1-0; 2.90 GAA; .911 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: 
G Gavin Enright (Bemidji State); D Markuss Komuls (Alaska-Fairbanks)