JANESVILLE, WI — A dominant weekend in net from rookie goaltender Cole Brady led the Jets to a road sweep of the first-place Kenai River Brown Bears with a pair of 2-1 victories.
Brady’s 75-save performance across 125 minutes of hockey surrendered only two goals to Kenai River, who entered last weekend with the fifth-ranked offense in the NAHL. Brady and the Jets penalty kill unit posted a perfect 9/9 weekend, smothering the league’s top-ranked power play and wrapping up the Jets’ Alaska trip with a 3-1 record and six of a possible eight points.
Brady’s pair of games kept any worry at bay. The Toronto netminder’s weekend to remember gives the Jets a shot in the arm as they return home.
FRIDAY — W, 2-1
Coming off of a 5-0 loss in Fairbanks, Brady rebounded strong, stopping 34 pucks and keeping his Jets alive time and again with saves in big situations. Opposite Brady was Swede Dennis Westergård, who was named last month to NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list of players to watch ahead of June’s NHL Draft.
Late in the first period, it was Logan Ommen (16:19 1st) earning the weekend’s first goal. Ommen and linemates Tommy Middleton and Mason Salquist fought out a win on a defensive zone draw and beat the pinching defenseman to create a 3-on-1 into the Kenai River zone. Middleton drove the right wing and centered a pass which Ommen stuffed past Westergard.
The Brown Bears tied it with a blast from Ryan Reid (5:49 2nd), who unloaded on a loose puck in the high slot as a result of a broken play.
Early in the third period, it was again Logan Ommen (1:40 3rd) punching in on a full line effort. A Brown Bear defenseman’s misplay at the defending blue line helped create a partial odd-man for Janesville, and Salquist pulled the last defender wide just before sliding the pass across for the eventual game-winner.
From there, Brady fought off wave after wave of Brown Bear pressure, stopping all 14 shots in the third period for the win.
Brady finished 34/35 in the victor’s cage for his third NAHL win. Westergard made 21 saves in the loss.
SATURDAY — W, 2-1 (SO)
Just 24 hours after putting in his best game as a Jet, Cole Brady topped it with a 41-save performance, providing support behind Stanislav Dosek‘s goal and Jack Vincent‘s shootout winner en route to a 2-1 victory over the Brown Bears.
Shots were fairly even in the first period — a slight 12-10 advantage for Kenai River — but Brady stepped up to the challenge of a 16-shot second period to keep things scoreless.
The Jets’ penalty kill marched out again early in the third and won its fourth battle of the night (another successful PK in overtime would finish it 5/5), marking the fifth perfect night in the last six games for the unit. The Kenai River power play, which finished 2/2 on Friday, duplicated its effort Saturday in front of goaltender Gavin Enright.
A weird goal, not a pretty goal, is sometimes the solution for a tough goaltender, and that’s exactly what broke the seal for Janesville late in the third. After defensive zone faceoff win, Erik Palmqvist out-hustled the Kenai River defenseman to beat out an icing call, then collected and centered the puck, where it met TJ Sagissor on the right wing wall. Sagissor sent it back to the point for Stanislav Dosek (17:28 3rd), who threw an innocent puck on net just before taking a heavy hit. The puck seemed to carom off a Brown Bear and past Enright. Just 40 seconds later, forward Zach Krajnik (18:08 3rd) put home a low-angle rebound to tie the game for Kenai River.
In overtime, a partial breakaway for Kenai River resulted in another trip to the power play for the Brown Bears, where Brady denied a potential game-winner with a stretching toe save.
Jack Vincent beat Enright with a forehand-backhand move in the shootout’s second frame, and Brady denied all three Brown Bear shooters to cap a phenomenal weekend.
Brady’s 41/42 win outshone a very strong effort from Gavin Enright, who stopped 23 of 24 shots and went 2/3 in the shootout loss.
Around the Division
Springfield Jr. Blues 2 @ Minnesota Magicians 7
Chippewa Steel 2 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Minnesota Magicians 5 (SO)
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4 (OT)
|1||Kenai River Brown Bears||12||7-4-0-1||15|
|4||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||12||5-6-0-1||11|
|5||Springfield Jr. Blues||10||4-4-1-1||10|
After a full day of travel, the Jets returned to the Janesville Ice Arena Sunday evening, and pick right back up with a Monday practice in preparation for the visiting Springfield Jr. Blues this weekend.
The Jr. Blues carried a three-game win streak into Richfield last weekend, but emerged with only one point when Max Brainin‘s pair of third period goals on Saturday forced extra time, where the Magicians came out with a shootout victory. Janesville’s oldest rivals feature three former Jets in forwards Brandon Puricelli, Ben Schmidling, and David Schmidling. Ben Schmidling leads the Jr. Blues in scoring with 11 points in 10 games, and Puricelli’s 10 rank second. Goaltender Jack Williams, cousin of the Dallas Stars’ Ben Bishop, backstops the Jr. Blues, and, like Kenai River’s Westergård, named on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list.
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.
You can help the Jets break Pink in the Rink records this weekend by attending both contests and bidding on one-of-a-kind pieces of merchandise. Fans who cannot attend but are interested in remote bidding may contact Jenny Krueger at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Both games of Pink in the Rink 2018 will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
Jr. Blues @ Jets | Fri Oct 19 | 7:00pm CDT
Jr. Blues @ Jets | Sat Oct 20 | 7:00pm CDT