JANESVILLE, WI – The Jets’ rivalry with the Springfield Jr. Blues is far and away the Midwest Division’s oldest, and it renews yet again this weekend at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Though the teams didn’t share a division in the Jets’ inaugural season (Janesville played in the North while Springfield played in the South), they matched up nine times. Yes, Cindy Pickett, nine times. Springfield eked out the season series win that year, but the Jets hold historical bragging rights with a 62-25-4-4 all-time record versus the Jr. Blues. Since the 2016-17 season, Janesville has gone 26-6-2-1 in the rivalry, including a first round playoff sweep last spring.
But that’s all history, as anyone in Springfield would tell you.
The Jr. Blues have won 8 of 11 and are pushing hard for a better seed in an increasingly-muddy Midwest playoff picture. All four teams with current playoff position have played 43 games, so for now, the factor of games in hand is absent. Just two points separate 4th place Springfield from 3rd place Janesville, and only three separate Janesville from 2nd place Fairbanks. Fairbanks needs to close a five point gap to steal the top seed from Minnesota.
No lead is safe with still 17 games in the season.
The Jets, hot off a road sweep in Chippewa, have won three in a row and four of five. A January coaching change brought new systems to learn, and a leadership change inside the locker room can be a challenge to any junior team. The Jets are finding their way as a team and are hungry for two big wins tonight and tomorrow.
Record: 23-16-2-2 (3rd, Midwest)
Home Record: 10-8-2-0
Last Ten Games: 4-5-0-1
Goals For/Game: 2.58 (17th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.05 (17th)
Shots For/Game: 27.49 (22nd)
Shots Against/Game: 31.81 (13th)
Power Play: 14.3% (23rd)
Penalty Kill: 76.8% (19th)
Top Scorers: F Jack Vincent (40GP—11G-15A—26PTS); F Matt Hanewall (40GP—10G-11A—21PTS); Multiple Players (20PTS)
Goaltenders: Cole Brady (16-11-1-2; 2.76 GAA; .912 SV%); Sam Metcalf (7-6-0-1; 3.19 GAA; .899 SV%); Garrett Nieto (3-3-0-0; 3.42 GAA; .899 SV%)*
Rostered Commitments: D John Prokop (Miami); F Nicholas Nardella (Michigan Tech); F Justin Engelkes (Miami); F Erik Bargholtz (Michigan State); G Cole Brady (Arizona State); G Garrett Nieto (Union)*
* Injured Reserve
SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES
Record: 22-17-3-1 (4th, Midwest)
Road Record: 13-7-1-1
Last Ten Games: 7-2-1-0
Goals For/Game: 2.77 (15th)
Goals Against/Game: 2.86 (12th)
Shots For/Game: 29.77 (19th)
Shots Against/Game: 29.07 (5th)
Power Play: 20.9% (10th)
Penalty Kill: 80.5% (12th)
Top Scorers: F Brandon Puricelli (42GP—21G-26A—47PTS); F Ben Schmidling (43GP—21G-19A—40PTS); F Max Brainin (43GP—13G-25A—38PTS)
Goaltenders: Jack Williams (14-10-1-1; 2.80 GAA; .900 SV%); Janis Voris (5-2-0-1; 2.61 GAA; .907 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Caden Villegas (Union); F Spencer DenBeste (Lake Superior State); G Jack Williams (Michigan State)