JANESVILLE, WI – Corey Leivermann this week became the youngest head coach in Jets history, and tonight has a chance to defeat fellow Minnesotan Trevor Stewart and his Ice Dogs for his first victory as a NAHL bench boss.
On Wednesday, the Jets announced staffing changes, bringing former HC/GM Joe Dibble back in the sole role of General Manager and promoting Leivermann to head coach. Assistant coach Lennie Child became the organization’s top assistant.
The Jets, now with a reorganized hockey operations staff, look to close out a nine-game home stand (5-2-0-0 through seven) with a pair of wins over a Fairbanks team that’s hot on their tail.
Last Friday the Ice Dogs temporarily jumped ahead of the Jets, who currently hold a one-point lead over their bitter rivals. Fairbanks defeated the Chippewa Steel in Chippewa Falls, while here in Janesville the Kenai River Brown Bears took a wild 5-4 win over Janesville. On Saturday, though, the roles reversed, and Janesville took back the narrow division lead.
The last time these two teams met, a December 7th single gamer in Janesville, goaltender Cole Brady stopped all 22 shots his direction in a tight-checking 60 minutes of hockey. The 3-0 Janesville win appeared a little misleading on the box score with two of the three goals scored on Fairbanks’ empty net. Defenseman Jordon Halverson had the lone goal scored on a goaltender in a game featuring just 42 total shots (including the two empty-net goals).
Fairbanks boasts the league’s second-best team defense by shot suppression, keeping opponents to about 25 shots per game, but Janesville has topped 30 shots twice in their last three matches. The Jets’ attack has shown some signs of coming together as the midway point of the season begins distancing itself in the rear view mirror, and the energy is always high when Fairbanks is in town.
These teams split the last two Midwest Division championships, each won over the other team, and are both champing at the bit for a big-stage series.
Record: 18-10-2-1 (2nd, Midwest)
Home Record: 8-4-2-0
Goals For/Game: 2.52 (18th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.68 (10th)
Shots For/Game: 26.45 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game: 31.87 (13th)
Power Play: 14.7% (22nd)
Penalty Kill: 82.9% (10th)
Top Scorers: F Jack Vincent (30GP—9G-12A—21PTS); F Matt Hanewall (31GP—8G-9A—17PTS); F Brenden MacLaren (31GP—7G-8A—15PTS)
Goaltenders: Cole Brady (14-7-1-1; 2.35 GAA; .925 SV%); Sam Metcalf (4-4-0-1; 3.00 GAA; .907 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
FAIRBANKS ICE DOGS
Record: 17-11-2-2 (3rd, Midwest)
Road Record: 10-5-2-0
Goals For/Game: 2.97 (10th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.38 (6th)
Shots For/Game: 32.22 (12th)
Shots Against/Game: 25.31 (2nd)
Power Play: 16.0% (18th)
Penalty Kill: 80.4% (15th)
Top Scorers: F Jonathan Sorenson (32GP—10G-21A—31PTS); F Jax Murray (32GP—11G-14A—25PTS); F Parker Brown (31GP—10G-15A—25PTS)
Goaltenders: Nate Reid (10-7-0-1; 2.05 GAA; .916 SV%); Mattias Sholl (4-1-2-1; 2.19 GAA; .920 SV%); Ethan Lahmon (2-1-0-0; 2.19 GAA; .920 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: D Dylan Abbott (Minnesota State); F Luke Ciolli (Army); F Jax Murray (Arizona State); D John Stampohar (Canisius); D Noah Wilson (Army)