By: Rob Brent | April 15, 2019 | 3:45pm
JANESVILLE, WI — The Jets opened their playoff schedule last weekend, taking on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in their first round matchup. The two have been frequent playoff rivals, with this being the third year in a row that the two clubs have met.
Despite best efforts, the Jets skated away with a deficit in the series, losing both games in Fairbanks. Janesville put in a strong effort in both games, but the puck just would not go in. If Janesville continues this level of play, they still have the opportunity to compete in this series.
FRIDAY – L, 2-0
The Janesville Jets traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska for the first leg of this playoff series. Game 1 was played on Friday in front of a hostile crowd.
Game 1 proved to be a tightly contest contested where both teams had little in the way of chances. The tight checking affair ended in a 2-0 loss for the Jets, with both the Fairbanks goals coming in the second period. The story of the night was the goaltending duel between the Jets’ Cole Brady, and the Ice Dogs’ Mattias Sholl.
Brady has been a star for the Jets all season long, earning the team MVP award, and continued his stellar play in game 1. Brady made 33 saves on 35 shots, good for a .943 save percentage. This performance was another head-turning performance for the goaltender from Pickering, Ontario. His spectacular play has made many scouts take notice, as he was recently named the ninth best North American goaltender in NHL Central Scouting’s year end prospect ranking. This is an improvement from the tenth spot, which he held in the midseason report. This made him the highest ranked goalie in the NAHL.
Despite Brady and the defenses’ play, the Jets were not able to solve the Ice Dogs. The results were not what Janesville had hoped for, but if the Jets can hold the Ice Dogs to just 2 goals in future games Janesville will have an opportunity to win.
SATURDAY – L, 4-1
The Jets came into Saturday’s game hoping to tie the series at 1 game a piece and although there were opportunities to do so, Janesville ultimately came home empty handed.
Much like the previous game, neither offense seemed to be able to get going. The game was stopped frequently for penalty calls that gave both teams ample opportunities to score. Neither could so, as both teams would finish the weekend without a power play goal.
The Jets’ lone tally of the night came in the second period on a game tying goal from defenseman Jordan Halverson (3:32, 2nd). The goal came when the Jets had pinned the puck deep in the Ice Dogs’ zone. Fairbanks finally gained possession of the puck, but sent it down the boards for an icing call. On the ensuing faceoff, Erik Palmqvist won the puck back to Erik Bargholtz. Bargholtz tipped a pass to Halverson who fired it into the Ice Dog net for his first career NAHL playoff goal.
The remainder of the game would be played with frequent trips to the penalties box by both teams. In the end, the Ice Dogs came away with a 4-1 victory, as they were on the receiving end of some puck luck late in the game.
AROUND THE DIVISION
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 4
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 3 (OT)
Series tied 1-1
The Jets will return home this Friday, looking to stave off elimination. If the Jets are victorious Friday, game 4 will be played on Saturday. The Jets have a winning record against Fairbanks in Janesville this season, winning three out of five against the Ice Dogs.
To celebrate the playoffs making their return to Janesville, you, the fans, can enjoy a pre-game indoor tailgate for Friday’s matchup. Doors will open at 5:30pm where you can have access to free hot dogs and beer*, as well as raffles and giveaways up until the 7:00pm puck drop. You won’t want to miss this special celebration of the Jets’ season brought to you by your local Madison Toyota Dealers. Proceeds will benefit Curt’s Conquest for a Cure.
*While supplies last, must have ticket to the game. Must be 21 or older for beer.
Game 3: Ice Dogs @ Jets | Fri, April 19 | 7:00pm
Game 4: Ice Dogs @ Jets | Sat, April 20 | 7:00pm*
Game 5: Ice Dogs @ Jets | Sun, April 21 | 3:00pm*
Tickets can be purchased ONLINE or at any Lion’s Quick Mart Location. Early bird tickets can be purchased for Friday’s game with a special price of just $5 up until midnight on Thursday, April 18th!
We at the Janesville Jets want to thank you for your support during another successful regular season of Jets’ hockey. We hope to see you there for an exciting night of playoff action!