JANESVILLE, WI — The Jets have ten home games remaining in the regular season, and there may not be any as crucial as the two upcoming this weekend. On the heels of a split series in Springfield against the Jr. Blues, Janesville returns home to host the Chippewa Steel for the last time this year and the second time in three weeks. That last series versus the Steel featured another split, a result the Jets have reaped often this season. Given the current cutthroat state of the Midwest division standings and the knowledge that Chippewa has four games in hand, this weekend would be a great time for the Jets to post their first sweep of the season.
They say that history often repeats itself, and that old proverb has remained true up to this point this year. After a 2021-22 season that saw the finalization of playoff teams on the final evening of regular season action, it appears the same script could be written again in 2022-23. Throughout the tribulations the Jets have ventured through, they remain in a playoff spot going into the weekend. Janesville has fought an uphill battle for a good portion of the year, losing key players in the long-term, like defenseman Will Troutwine to injury and the bangs and bruises that every team endures leading up to Friday/Saturday matchups. And, like every team that does fight through adversity, it is often the inviolable teams that prosper.
Their final series in Springfield against the Jr. Blues last weekend was a hard-fought one that featured a gutsy 4-2 win on Friday. It wasn’t until the third period that either team scored; a slick snipe from Ethan Begg finally opened the game up, followed by goals from Gabe Lundberg (PP), Noah Gibbs (GWG), and Connor Deturris (EN). Saturday’s game wasn’t quite as upbeat, as the Jr. Blues held the Jets to just one goal in a 4-1 loss. The good news was that the Jets received some help from other teams over the weekend, keeping them within the division’s top four.
With a matchup against their in-state rivals in the Chippewa Steel looming, the key of great significance points to goal scoring, an asset of Janesville’s game that has left much to be desired. It should be noted, however, that the last series against Chippewa featured a five-goal outing from the Jets, a definite high point from that weekend. This series could feature a different test. The Steel have relied on goaltender Carter Wishart every night since the beginning of December after Adam Gajan reported to the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. The Slovakian netminder has received plenty of coverage after posting impressive numbers (2.40 GAA, .935 SV%) at this year’s World Junior tournament, including a remarkable 53-save outing against Canadian sensation Connor Bedard and company in a 4-3 overtime loss to Team Canada. Gajan signed on with the Gamblers in December and has a 4-1 record in five games with the USHL club. The Gamblers are on the road against the Madison Capitols tonight, which gives the Steel the opportunity to regain their stronghold in the crease with little turnaround time.
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Record: 17-15-3-4 (4th, Midwest)
Home Record: 8-8-3-1
Goals For/Game: 2.77 (19th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.72 (9th)
Shots For/Game: 33.36 (8th)
Shots Against/Game: 29.05 (8th)
Power Play: 17% (17th)
Penalty Kill: 75.8% (24th)
Top Scorers: F Jimmy Doyle (39GP—17G-10A—27PTS); F Connor Deturris (29GP—12G-10A—22PTS); D Conner Brown (34GP—3G-18A—21PTS)
Goaltenders: Selby Warren (10-10-2-1; 2.55 GAA; .911 SV%); Dylan Johnson (4-5-0-0; 2.80 GAA; .902 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Ethan Begg (University of Vermont), F Connor Deturris (University of New Hampshire), F Jaden Johnson (University of Maine), D Charlie Lieberman (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), F Geno McEnery (Providence College), F Nate Murray (Colorado College), D Josh Orrico (St. Lawrence University), D Will Troutwine (Holy Cross), D Ryan Williams (Miami University)
Record: 17-16-1-1 (7th, Midwest)
Road Record: 7-7-0-1
Goals For/Game: 3.00 (14th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.94 (13th)
Shots For/Game: 38.06 (1st)
Shots Against/Game: 31.69 (16th)
Power Play: 14.8% (26th)
Penalty Kill: 83% (10th)
Top Scorers: F Kade Nielsen (35GP—18G-14A—32PTS); F Sam Rice (34GP—11G-18A—29PTS); F Matthew Brille (32GP—12G-15A—27PTS)
Goaltenders: Adam Gajan (8-7-1-0; 2.74 GAA; .920 SV%); Carter Wishart (9-9-0-1; 2.81 GAA; .903 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Matthew Brille (Brown University); D Sam Frandina (St. Lawrence University); G Adam Gajan (University of Minnesota-Duluth); F Kade Nielsen (Minnesota State-Mankato); D Shawn Ramsey (University of Wisconsin); F Kazumo Sasaki (Lake Superior State University); D Joey Sylvester (University of Wisconsin); G Carter Wishart (Colgate University)