After starting their three-game series against the Kenai River Brown Bears with a win, their sixth consecutive one, the Jets dropped back-to-back games to the last-place division rivals. Allowing seven power-play goals in those two losses was a glaring setback, and the league’s best power-play unit in Kenai River (30.7%) more than capitalized on their chances.
“It was disappointing to end the series like that,” said Jets defenseman Grayden Daul. “Their [Kenai River] power play is what wins them games, and we weren’t disciplined. We just have to put those two games behind us and focus on the next series.” The Jets finished the regular season with a 4-2 record against the Brown Bears.
Now turning their attention to the third-place Anchorage Wolverines, the Jets will look to start a new winning streak before getting a week off heading into February. When the last two games of the regular season against the Wolverines are said and done, the Jets will have 21 remaining games in the 2021-22 season. They currently sit four points outside of fourth place in the division, which is now held by the Minnesota Wilderness.
With their only two games against the Wolverines from their ice being two losses with a combined score of 13-5, this weekend will provide an opportunity to illustrate a different story for the Jets. They did win two of three from home ice on New Years’ weekend, including a 4-0 shutout win on December 30, exactly two months after their last series in October.
Like the Jets, Anchorage plays at a relatively smaller complex, the Ben Boeke Ice Arena, but pack the place full almost every night, averaging just under 1,000 fans per game. All three Alaskan rinks feature a rowdy atmosphere, but with the Wolverines coming off a dominant weekend against their in-state rivals and now second-place Fairbanks Ice Dogs, it’d be a safe assumption to say the “The Ben” will be up and at em’ again. The Wolverines’ power play at home is among the best in the NAHL at 30.8% and average the second-most goals per game. Suffice to say, they’re a lethal unit on the scoring front.
If there are a set of “Keys to Victory” points to make, one of those bullets will surely say “contain #24 and the rest of that first line.” Wolverines rookie Talon Sigurdson has scored a goal in four consecutive games and leads both the NAHL and the rookie class in total goals (28). While the recent Arizona State commit has found great success lately, the Jets kept Sigurdson in check in their last set of games, holding him to just one point in three games from Janesville. Cameron Morris, one of three Anchorage selections for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, and Aiden Westin follow Sigurdson in the Wolverines’ top scorers. The three have a combined 104 points this season.
The Jets will combat the opposition with some great goal-scorers of their own. Cy LeClerc, also a rookie, ranks third in the NAHL and rookies, like his counterpart, in goals this season with 22. LeClerc’s 45 points are tied for the most for rookies this season, and he’s recorded a point in six of his last seven games.
Recently acquired forwards Jack Larrigan and Jimmy Doyle have found a rhythm in the Jets’ systems, and have connected well with their linemates. Larrigan scored his first goal with the Jets in their 5-4 win over Chippewa two weeks ago and added a goal and an assist in the first game against Kenai River. Doyle, who played with the Bismarck Bobcats in the NAHL last year, has found the scoresheet in four of his last six games and, like Larrigan, scored his first goal as a Jet in the opening game against Kenai River last week.
Forward Jonah Aegerter, who was just selected to play in this year’s Top Prospects Tournament in Pittsburgh, is on a five-game point streak and has found the back of the net in four of those five games. While the forward from Janesville already has a commitment to St. Cloud State University, the NAHL allows players who NHL Central Scouting has identified as prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft to compete in the tournament. Aegerter, who just turned 18 a week ago, will look to continue his point streak and stay hot heading into one of the most highly scouted events in junior hockey.
Defensemen Cal Mell and Will Troutwine were also selected to participate in the tournament, and they both have put up head-turning numbers. Captain Cal has assisted a goal in five straight contests and is a +10 during that stretch. His 26 points this year are tied for third amongst defensemen. The Eveleth, Minnesota native in Troutwine also lands in the top defensemen discussion this year; a total of 23 points puts him at a tie for sixth. Grayden Daul (25 pts) and AJ Casperson (23 pts) also appear in the top 20 in scoring.
The Minnesota Wilderness travel to Chippewa Falls to take on the Steel tonight, along with the Magicians hosting the Springfield Jr. Blues. With their shootout win over the Magicians last night, the Jr. Blues moved into first place in the Midwest.
The final duo of games from Alaska starts tonight with a scheduled start time of 10:00 PM CT. The teams will get a rare Saturday off and finish the series with a Sunday matinee at 7 PM CT. Only one more late night looms, and if you’re willing to stay up, you can hang with us on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram platforms for updates. Otherwise, both games will be broadcast live on HockeyTV.
Record: 17-19-0-1 (7th, Midwest)
Road Record: 6-13-0-0
Goals For/Game: 3.49 (11th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.73 (22nd)
Shots For/Game: 29.76 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game: 30.11 (13th)
Power Play: 18.5% (13th)
Penalty Kill: 67.4% (29th)
Top Scorers: F Cy LeClerc (37GP—22G-23A—45PTS); F Jan Lasak (31GP—16G-13A—29PTS); F William Gustavsson (33GP—11G-16A—27PTS)
Goaltenders: Owen Millward (15-8-0-0; 3.05 GAA; .897 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)
Record: 21-12-3-0 (3rd, Midwest)
Home Record: 10-3-2-0
Goals For/Game: 3.78 (2nd)
Goals Against/Game: 3.00 (16th)
Shots For/Game: 32.11 (9th)
Shots Against/Game: 28.00 (7th)
Power Play: 24.2% (5th)
Penalty Kill: 84.7% (8th)
Top Scorers: F Talon Sigurdson (36GP—28G-14A—42PTS); F Cameron Morris (36GP—5G-29A—34PTS); F Aiden Westin (30GP—14G-14A—28PTS)
Goaltenders: Raythan Robbins (14-13-2-0; 2.41 GAA; .916 SV%); Shane Soderwall (7-9-1-1; 3.41 GAA; .873 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Alexander Babich (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); F Campbell Cichosz (Minnesota State University – Mankato); F Talon Sigurdson (Arizona State University)