JANESVILLE, WI – The Jets hit the ice tonight in specialty pink jerseys against their longest-tenured rivals, the Springfield Jr. Blues, in Janesville’s only October home series.
Janesville is coming off of a 3-1 Alaska road trip which finished with a sweep of the first-place Kenai River Brown Bears on goaltender Cole Brady’s shoulders. Brady was recognized Monday by the league as the Bauer Hockey Midwest Division Star of the Week for his 75-save effort.
Brady’s performance was especially timely for the Jets, who saw Garrett Nieto go down the previous weekend versus Fairbanks. The Jets picked up former Brown Bear Kevin Lake to fill in on emergency backup duty against Kenai River.
Earlier this week in practice, Brady also suffered an injury, sending the coaching staff to the phones again.
This weekend versus Springfield, the Jets will dress Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, native Eli Bowers in Nieto’s #1 jersey, and Owen Zdunski, formerly of the Chippewa Steel, in Brady’s #34. Zdunski appeared in both games versus Janesville in September’s home-and-home series between the two teams, and began his season with wins over Fairbanks (20 saves on 21 shots) and Lone Star (26/27).
The Jr. Blues are coming off of a pair of road losses in Richfield, Minnesota, last weekend against the Magicians. Springfield battled Saturday for a point but fell in the shootout.
At the top of Springfield’s scoring list are familiar names to fans in Janesville. Former Jets Ben Schmidling (11 points), Brandon Puricelli (10 points), and David Schmidling (5 points) have combined for more than 80 regular season and postseason games for Janesville.
This weekend marks the first matchup between the two teams since last season’s best-of-five Midwest Division Semifinals series, which Janesville won in a sweep. The Jets also won the 12-game regular season slate, 8-2-1-1. Dating back to the Jets’ inaugural season, Janesville holds a 54-23-3-4 record versus Springfield in 84 games.
Partnering with Mercyhealth, the Jets will take the ice wearing specialty pink jerseys for the 9th annual Pink in the Rink weekend. Following Saturday’s game, the Jets will conduct a live auction for each player’s jersey, where fans can purchase the specialty jerseys right off of their favorite player’s back. Proceeds from the jersey auction will be donated to Mercyhealth Cancer Center.
The Jets are extending free admission at the door to breast cancer survivors and their families. Mercyhealth employees are free with one guest.
Employees from Mercyhealth will serve as volunteer bartenders to raise additional funds, with all tips from the weekend also donated to Mercyhealth Cancer Center.
Last season’s Pink in the Rink saw nearly 1,400 fans through the doors as the Jets split their series with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Last year’s pink jersey auction raised over $3,700 for Mercyhealth Cancer Center, most in history.
Puck drops at 7:00pm CDT both nights with Calvin Bush filling in for Mike Hammett on the Jets’ broadcast on HockeyTV.com.
Record: 7-5-0-0 (3rd, Midwest)
Home Record: 1-2-0-0
Goals For/Game: 2.17 (20th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.75 (11th)
Power Play: 19.0% (13th)
Penalty Kill: 81.3% (11th)
Top Scorers: F Tommy Middleton (12GP—1G-5A—6PTS); F Mason Salquist (12GP—0G-6A—6PTS); Five different players tied with 5PTS
Goaltenders: Garrett Nieto (3-3-0-0; 3.42 GAA; .899 SV%); Cole Brady (4-2-0-0; 2.90 GAA; .933 SV%); Owen Zdunski (2-4-0-0; 2.90 GAA; .890 SV%);
Rostered Commitments: F Justin Engelkes (Miami); F Erik Bargholtz (Michigan State); G Cole Brady (Arizona State); F Brenden MacLaren (Ferris State); G Garrett Nieto (Union)
SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES
Record: 4-4-1-1 (5th, Midwest)
Road Record: 0-1-0-1
Goals For/Game: 2.80 (13th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.10 (3rd)
Power Play: 23.3% (7th)
Penalty Kill: 81.5% (9th)
Top Scorers: F Ben Schmidling (10GP—4G-7A—11PTS); F Brandon Puricelli (10GP—6G-4A—10PTS); F Max Brainin (10GP—4G-4A—8PTS)
Goaltenders: Jack Williams (2-2-0-1; 3.67 GAA; .881 SV%); Caleb Hannon (2-1-1-0; 2.10 GAA; .931 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Spencer DenBeste (Lake Superior State); G Jack Williams (Michigan State)