JANESVILLE, WI — Jets fans helped raise thousands of dollars for local veterans initiatives last weekend by bidding on specialty camo jerseys as the Jets split the Chippewa Steel in a three-point home weekend.
The jerseys were auctioned off exclusively on the DASH Auction App, and a special live auction on Saturday night raised an additional $1,000 when one fan purchased an American flag flown over the United States Capitol, proudly donated by Speaker Ryan’s office.
This was the last series between the two Wisconsin NAHL programs until February, when the pair meet again in Chippewa Falls for the traveling Blain’s Dairyland Milk Can Trophy. Janesville holds a slight edge on the season series thanks to a sweep in a September home-and-home.
FRIDAY — OTL, 4-3
The Battle of Wisconsin opened its first series in Janesville with a back-and-forth affair, with scoring and physicality abound. The Jets’ only lead of the night came early, but was quickly squashed on a major penalty. Janesville dug deep to tie the game twice more, but a game-winner from Killian Kiecker-Olson in overtime thwarted a full Jets comeback.
Janesville struck first Friday night, when Jack Vincent (4:41 1st) picked off a pass with speed in the attacking zone, moved wide on the defenseman, and used a screen from Justin Engelkes to slip one past Langford. Late in the period, Engelkes laid a hard, heavy hit on the forecheck and was assessed a five-minute major and a 20-minute game misconduct, putting the Jets’ 7th-ranked penalty kill unit in a tough spot. The Steel struck twice on the ensuing power play, both before the intermission. First it was Grant Reichenbacher (18:52 1st) on a stick-side, crashing rebound, then just 19 seconds later, Jacob Dirks (19:11 1st) tapped in a pass from Filip Dusek for the 2-1 Steel lead.
Both power plays missed on two opportunities in the second period. In between Janesville’s opportunities, defenseman Alex Murray (7:19 2nd) picked up his first goal as a Jet when his clapper from the point leaked through traffic.
Just a couple of shifts into the third period, Chippewa again took the lead with a tip-in goal from Kyle Schroeder (1:41 3rd). Janesville’s third game-tying-goal of the night came from Erik Palmqvist (10:43 3rd), who gathered a puck off an offensive zone draw, swung around to his off wing, and drove in on Langford to score a crucial goal with his visiting family from Sweden in attendance.
Chances in the three-on-three overtime presented themselves for both teams, including a backhand, driving play from Palmqvist, but with about 90 seconds left until the shootout, a sustained Steel possession led to the game-winner from Killian Kiecker-Olson (3:31 OT).
Shots were nearly even on the two goaltenders. Josh Langford earned his victory on 26 saves against 29 Janesville shots, and Cole Brady managed 22 saves on 26 shots from Chippewa.
SATURDAY — W, 1-0
A perfect 5-5 night from the penalty kill helped prop up goaltender Cole Brady, who earned his second shutout of the young season with a 25-save blanking of the Steel to pick up the split for the Jets.
Janesville outshot Chippewa 13-4 in the game’s opening period, but the shot totals settled after that. In the final 40 minutes, the Steel outshot the Jets 21-17.
California forward Austin Koss (14:34 2nd) scored the first and only goal of the game in the middle frame.
After surrendering back-to-back goals on a five-minute major the night before, the Jets’ penalty kill unit responded with strength, shutting down three separate Steel attempts in the third period alone. The last of those came on a high-sticking minor to Brenden MacLaren, called during a Jets’ power play, and sent the PK out for a little more than a minute with a one-goal lead and less than three minutes to play. The group shut down the power play and hung on to preserve the win and Cole Brady’s shutout.
Janesville’s go-to goaltender in the wake of Garrett Nieto‘s hip injury, Brady finished the four-game set versus Chippewa on a high note. Josh Langford was excellent in the Steel net, racking up 29 saves, a five-game high, on 30 Janesville shots.
Around the Division
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1
Minnesota Magicians 3 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 0
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2 (SO)
Minnesota Magicians 3 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 2
|3||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||20||9-8-1-2||21|
|4||Springfield Jr. Blues||19||8-8-2-1||19|
|5||Kenai River Brown Bears||20||9-100-1||19|
For the Jets, picking up three points at home versus Chippewa was important ahead of a tough trip this weekend to the first-place Minnesota Magicians.
Mid-November is, of course, late in the calendar to open a season series versus a division rival. Looking down the schedule, the next 17 games take us to mid-January, and eight of those contests (four home, four away) are against head coach AJ Bucchino’s group. That’s a lot of cracks at the top dog.
Minnesota forward Cameron Buhl is on fire in his third season, already just seven points shy of a career high in season scoring. Buhl’s 22 points (7-15-22) lead the Midwest Division, and put him right in the log-jam NAHL scoring race. Stillwater native and returner Matthew Stanton has slowed down a bit, registering just one point in the team’s four-game trip to Alaska, but still sits around a point-per-game pace with 19 in 20. Ethan Haider, an ’01 Clarkson commit, has posted a .927 save percentage across 14 starts this season for Minnesota.
Both games from Richfield will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
Jets @ Magicians | Fri Nov 16 | 7:15pm CDT
Jets @ Magicians | Sat Nov 17 | 7:00pm CDT