The Jets (7-11-0-1) gave the home crowd much to cheer about in their return to the Hangar following an almost two-month road trip, scoring five and seven goals in the two contests to get two wins and send the Janesville faithful home happy with Culver’s cards. The wins helped the Jets move their winning streak to a tie for the league’s longest active streak at four games, and they’ll look to keep things rolling against the other Minnesota rivals, the Magicians, this weekend. It’ll be the second-last set of three consecutive series at home for the Jets before they make one short drive down to Springfield, then come back to Wisconsin for another long stay through the new year.
In one of the Jets’ biggest promotions with Salute to Service, last weekend’s games were appropriate to have for the occasion. Friday night was a great start, a 5-2 win, with all five goals coming from different skaters. The wealth was spread around amongst not just the players on the ice, but the fans in the stands. Any home game where the Jets score five goals, fans receive a free Value Basket card, redeemable at any Culver’s restaurant. The party continued on into Saturday, despite having to play from behind. Down 3-1, the Jets scored five straight goals in a ferocious comeback to win 7-4 and secure their fourth straight win, and Culver’s once again.
While talking with Assistant Coach Ryan Black in the weekly show, “The Coach’s Corner,” Black mentioned the small tweaks that the team had been making on special teams to make the necessary improvements. For a short time, the Jets’ power play and penalty kill were among the worst in the NAHL. In Saturday’s win, Janesville killed all five of Minnesota’s man advantages and went 2-for-3 on the power play. This came three weeks after the Wilderness went a whopping 5-for-5 on the power play in a 6-3 win. In their last four games, the Jets have allowed just one goal in 12 power play opportunities for their opponents. It’d seemingly be safe to say that Coach Black and the Jets have made some very significant tweaks in the special teams units.
On the flip side, the Minnesota Magicians are experiencing the exact opposite of what the Jets currently are. Riding on a four-game losing streak, the Magi are coming out of a home and home against the Chippewa Steel, with their most recent loss a heart-breaker in overtime. Though the skid is not one to be happy with, the Magicians still have a small cushion in front of the Jets. The two teams sit next to one another in the standings, and six points separate them in the 6th and 7th place spots. The Magicians can be happy with the small space between them and Janesville, but now is the time for them to turn things around, since their next four games will be against these Jets.
The same can be said for Janesville. The strong turnaround we’ve seen has been one to appreciate and get excited about, even if there is still work to be done. These next two weeks can be pivotal in climbing their [Jets] way back into the contending part of the Midwest Division standings, as only six points separates the first place Fairbanks Ice Dogs (27 pts) from the sixth place Magicians (21 pts). Certainly some losses from the top teams would provide great assistance, but with 12 of their next 14 games being played at Janesville Ice Arena, the Jets have managed to find a rhythm at a very opportunistic time.
This weekend’s games start at 7 pm CT per usual, with doors open at 6 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at any Lions Quick Mart in Janesville. Due to a miscommunication last weekend, the Jets will be wearing their specialty camo jerseys during actual play tonight.
You can still join in on the fun in Janesville even if you’re not in attendance! If you’ve got internet access and a cellular device, laptop, or television, you can watch the action on HockeyTV or follow live updates on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Record: 7-11-0-1 (7th, Midwest)
Home Record: 3-2-0-1
Goals For/Game: 3.53 (T-8th)
Goals Against/Game: 4.32 (27th)
Shots For/Game: 29.11 (20th)
Shots Against/Game: 28.21 (10th)
Power Play: 18.5% (17th)
Penalty Kill: 63.1% (29th)
Top Scorers: F Cy LeClerc (19GP—13G-11A—24PTS); F Jan Lasak (18GP—10G-8A—18PTS); F William Gustavsson (17GP—8G-9A—17PTS)
Goaltenders: Owen Millward (6-3-0-0; 3.76 GAA; .866 SV%); Michael D’Orazio (1-5-0-1; 4.06 GAA; .859 SV%); Ryan Whittaker (0-1-0-0; 6.00 GAA; .778 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Keaton Peters (Northern Michigan University); 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 Jake Sacratini (American International College); F Ethan Begg (University of Vermont); Jack Ford (Army-West Point)
Record: 9-7-3-0 (6th, Midwest)
Road Record: 4-3-1-0
Goals For/Game: 3.53 (T-8th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.63 (23rd)
Shots For/Game: 28.79 (21st)
Shots Against/Game: 32.47 (21st)
Power Play: 21.1% (11th)
Penalty Kill: 72.3% (26th)
Top Scorers: F Hunter Longhi (19GP—11G-12A—23PTS); F Gavin Best (19GP—4G-16A—20PTS); F Trevor Kukkonen (17GP—9G-9A—18PTS)
Goaltenders: Brandon Milberg (4-4-2-0; 2.99 GAA; .905 SV%); Kyle Kozma (1-1-1-0; 3.68 GAA; .889 SV%)
Rostered Commitments: F Rob Christy (Colorado College); G Brandon Milberg (Sacred Heart University)