By Mason Lyttle
JANESVILLE — The Jets suffered their third loss in four games Friday night, a 3-1 decision to open their home series versus the Springfield Jr. Blues, but rebounded strongly Saturday with a wild 5-4 victory to close their second annual Salute to Service weekend with a win.
The Jets’ two points on Saturday keeps them ahead of the second place Minnesota Magicians, though Janesville holds a game in hand on their rivals in Richfield.
Fans bid all weekend on the DASH Auction App on the specialty pixelated camouflage jerseys, raising more than $5,500 in net sales, a franchise record. Proceeds will be donated to VetsRoll and Housing 4 Our Vets.
What an awesome weekend for the @JanesvilleJets1 organization. We couldn’t play this amazing sport if it wasn’t for the Men and Women who have made and continuously make the ultimate sacrifice! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 🇺🇸
— Kip Hoffmann (@khoffmann81) November 12, 2017
The Jets host Springfield next on Saturday, December 9.
The Jets head to South Dakota this weekend for an interdivision showdown with the Brookings Blizzard. Before we set the table for that series, let’s dive in to what just happened in Janesville.
Friday, Nov 10: Springfield Jr. Blues 3, Janesville Jets 1
Shots: Jr. Blues 33, Jets 33
PP: Jr. Blues 1-4, Jets 0-3
The Janesville Jets (12-5-0-0) couldn’t solve goaltender Evan Fear, beating him just once and dropping a 3-1 contest to the Springfield Jr. Blues (9-6-1-1).
The Jr. Blues struck first when Aiden Beck (3:51 1st) picked up a loose puck high in the slot, walked in, and wired a shot blocker side on goaltender Daniel Lebedeff. Later in the period, the Jets caught the Jr. Blues with a 3-on-1. Jakov Novak carried the puck over the line on his off wing, Erik Palmqvist drove the net and took the defender with him, and Novak found captain Kip Hoffmann (15:50 1st) for the one-timer.
In the second, Springfield regained the lead with the eventual game-winner, scored down low on the power play by Jeff Skinner (7:40 2nd) after a long cycle. The goal was scored on the second of four consecutive power play opportunities for Springfield.
The Jr. Blues scored their insurance marker from defenseman Fletcher Fineman (1:17 3rd) with a seeing-eye shot from the blue line. Janesville would earn one more power play chance but couldn’t convert.
Saturday, November 11: Springfield Jr. Blues 4, Janesville Jets 5
Shots: Jr. Blues 32, Jets 30
PP: Jr. Blues 0-5, Jets 2-5
The Jets’ power play woke up Saturday night, striking twice in less than 90 seconds in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. Janesville survived a weird finish and Sam Renlund‘s empty-net goal became the game-winner as the Jets iced the Jr. Blues, 5-4.
A key to Janesville’s sustained success will be getting early jumps on teams, just like they did Saturday. Less than a minute into the game, defenseman Grant Anderson (0:36 1st) pinched down his wall and threw a shot on goal that ramped off a Jr. Blues’ stick and leaked through Connor Poczos. Later in the period, with Matt Doyle in the penalty box, Kip Hoffmann carried the puck into the Springfield zone on a 2-on-4. He swiveled his hips to look for a trailer, and when he couldn’t find one he threw the puck on net for Jakov Novak (9:53 1st) to tip in for the shortie.
Springfield cut the lead to one with a snipe from Max Brainin (5:15 2nd) that beat Daniel Lebedeff up high. Later, former Jet Ethan Stewart (7:30 2nd) put home a rebound from a Ben Jones shot to tie the game at 2-2. Late in the period, the Jets drew a pair of penalties to earn a 5-on-3 advantage, which they used to put the game out of reach. Off the ensuing faceoff from the second penalty, John Pesek and Sam Renlund worked the puck over to Novak (15:39 2nd), who blasted a one-timer home for the 3-2 lead. Rookie Matt Barbolini (16:54 2nd) scored his second of the season shortly after to double the Jets’ lead.
The Jets held off the Jr. Blues through 18 minutes of the third period, but Springfield finally got one back with the extra attacker when Brainin (18:11 3rd) buried a shot on a partial break. Sam Renlund (18:46 3rd) iced the game with an empty-netter, his first NAHL goal which became the game-winner when Springfield tacked one more on from Chase Mickelson (19:12 3rd).
Daniel Lebedeff (5-3-0-0) held Springfield to just two goals for 58 minutes, and hung on for the win with a 28-save effort. Connor Poczos (0-1-0-0) lost his Jr. Blues debut, making 25 saves on 29 shots.
Midwest Division Recap
The Jets’ split with Springfield was the only division match of the weekend. In Alaska, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs split with the visiting Bismarck Bobcats, losing 5-1 Friday but finishing the series with a 3-1 win on Saturday. The Kenai River Brown Bears followed suit, losing Friday but winning Saturday against another North Dakota opponent, the Minot Minotauros. The Coulee Region Chill hosted the Minnesota Magicians on Thursday but lost 3-2 in the shootout. The Chill followed up by splitting a home-and-home set versus the Austin Bruins, winning 2-1 in the shootout on Friday and dropping a 3-2 contest in Austin on Saturday. After winning in La Crosse, the Magicians hosted the Minnesota Wilderness in Richfield, and split the series with their rivals to the north.
Midwest Division Standings:
|3||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||10-5-1-2||23|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||9-7-1-1||20|
|5||Kenai River Brown Bears||8-10-1-0||17|
|6||Coulee Region Chill||5-7-1-3||14|
Friday, Nov 17: Janesville Jets @ Brookings Blizzard — 7:05 p.m. CST
Saturday, Nov 18: Janesville Jets @ Brookings Blizzard — 7:05 p.m. CST
The Jets take the road Thursday afternoon for the longest bus trip of the season (March’s trip to Alaska is by plane). Awaiting them in eastern South Dakota are Moe Mantha’s Brookings Blizzard, who are hungry for a much-needed win. The Blizzard closed October with a three-game sweep of the Austin Bruins to earn top spot in the Central Division, but have since lost four straight. They dropped a pair in La Crosse versus the Chill before getting swept in a home-and-home series against their in-state rivals, the Aberdeen Wings, last weekend.
Leading the Blizzard offensively are Doug Larson (8-8—16) and Andriy Denyskin (10-4—14), the latter of whom foils Erik Palmqvist as Brookings’ 6’5″, 220-pound European forward. Their top-scoring defenseman is returner Cameron Teamor with nine points in 19 games, and goaltender Benjamin Beck boasts a .922 save percentage despite a 3-4-0-1 record.
The Jets swept Brookings in both rinks last season, scoring 24 goals across the four wins.
Catch this weekend’s action at the Larson Ice Center live with Mason Lyttle’s call only on HockeyTV.com. Click below for rates to watch the Jets both home and on the road.
PROMOS AND EVENTS
This Saturday morning, join Jets staff at Sneaker’s Sports Bar & Grill for our annual Meat Raffle. Prizes include Blake Wareham’s game-worn 2016-17 road jersey and a Joe Pavelski autographed, game-used stick.
Next week the Jets play a pair of home games after Thanksgiving, featuring a Black Friday Blowout, presented by Blain’s Farm & Fleet.