By Mason Lyttle
The streak stops at six.
The Janesville Jets pulled off another comeback win on Friday night over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 3-2 in the shootout, but couldn’t climb another mountain, falling 5-3 on Saturday for the series split.
The loss cut the Jets’ division lead to three points over the Ice Dogs, with Fairbanks holding one game in hand.
The benefit Pink in the Rink weekend, sponsored by Mercyhealth, raised over $4,000 for the Mercyhealth Regional Cancer Center.
As captain, Kip Hoffmann has taken and will take more ceremonial faceoffs this season, but it’s hard to imagine one more meaningful than Friday. His grandmother, Brenda Moehling, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and performed Friday night’s puck drop.
“It was awesome,” said Hoffmann. “Hockey is so much more than a game, and this was one of those weekends that showed it. Just putting a jersey on that can help support local patients and families, folks who have battled, folks who are battling, that’s awesome. It’s even greater to be able to play in front of them.”
Pink in the Rink is now alongside the season’s first big win streak in the rear view mirror. This young Jets team now turns its focus to the upcoming two weeks: three straight road games in La Crosse versus the Coulee Region Chill.
Friday, Oct 13: Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2, Janesville Jets 3 (SO)
Shots: Ice Dogs 36, Jets 40
PP: Ice Dogs 0-2, Jets 0-3
The Jets’ tying goal came early in the second on a transition play, with Christophe Fillion entering the attacking zone, drawing a defender to the boards, and dishing to TJ Polglaze to set up a 2-on-1. Polglaze found a crashing Simon Sagissor (1:53 2nd) to knot the game at 1-1. The Jets whiffed on a big opportunity to gain the lead when the Ice Dogs’ Jake Willets boarded Regan Cavanagh, drawing a five-minute major penalty. Cavanagh left the game and did not play the rest of the weekend. Much later in the period, the Ice Dogs again took a lead with a goal from Tyler Deweese (14:57 2nd), capitalizing on their own 2-on-1 break.
For the second straight game, a Jets rookie scored his first NAHL goal to tie the game in the third period. This time it was Matt Barbolini (6:26 3rd), cutting across from the low slot to pick up a rebound and jam it home, tying the game at 2-2.
After a scoreless overtime, Fillion struck on Janesville’s first shot in the shootout, and Nieto turned away all three Ice Dogs shooters for the win.
Saturday, October 14: Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5, Janesville Jets 3
Shots: Ice Dogs 28, Jets 36
PP: Ice Dogs 3-4, Jets 0-4
The winning ways came to a halt Saturday, when the Janesville Jets (9-2-0-0) fell to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (7-2-0-1) Saturday night.
Half of the first period elapsed tamely before a surreptitious goal explosion struck the Janesville Ice Arena. Fairbanks jumped out early with two in 46 seconds from John Stampohar (10:05 1st) on the power play and Hunter Wendt (10:51 1st). On a delayed penalty, Jets extra attacker Jakov Novak scored his fifth of the season backdoor to cut the lead to 2-1. Two minutes later, Robert Blueger (13:38 1st) scored a power play goal on a 2-on-1, and Kip Hoffmann (13:57 1st) instantly responded with a rebound followup. Two minutes later, the Ice Dogs earned their third power play opportunity, where they scored their third power play goal of the period from a Hunter Wendt (15:33 1st) stick in the crease.
In the second, TJ Polglaze (8:11 2nd) tipped a Brenden MacLaren shot home to cut the Ice Dogs’ lead to one, and another comeback seemed not just possible, but inevitable. The Jets had been here before, perhaps too often for comfort, but third period rallies are almost old hat for this group of young guns.
Saturday’s comeback was cut short, however. The Jets took two more penalties in the third period, cutting precious minutes out of their attack time. They managed 10 shots on Josh Benson in the game’s final frame, but couldn’t find their tying goal, and allowed a late insurance marker from Tanner Schachle (18:42 3rd) to seal the Fairbanks victory.
In his first consecutive appearance of the season, Garrett Nieto (6-1-0-0) finally lost his first match, stopping 23 of 28 Fairbanks shots. Josh Benson (5-1-0-1) earned the win in the Ice Dogs’ net with 33 saves on 36 chances.
Midwest Division Recap
It was a weekend of splits in the Midwest, with the Kenai River Brown Bears playing in the division’s only sweep as they dropped a pair of contests in Bismarck, 3-2 and 4-3. The Minnesota Magicians tightened the gap between themselves and the Springfield Jr. Blues with a three-point split, losing Friday’s contest in overtime, 4-3, and bouncing back for a 3-1 win to send the Jr. Blues home. The Coulee Region Chill lost another heartbreaker Friday night in Cloquet, 3-1 against the Minnesota Wilderness, but punched back Saturday with a 5-0 victory.
Midwest Division Standings:
|Fairbanks Ice Dogs
|Springfield Jr. Blues
|Kenai River Brown Bears
|Coulee Region Chill
Saturday, Oct 21: Janesville Jets @ Coulee Region Chill — 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct 22: Janesville Jets @ Coulee Region Chill — 4:00 p.m.
The Jets get a Friday off at the expense of a Sunday game. Janesville plays the season’s first Battle of Wisconsin series this weekend in La Crosse with a pair of games at the Green Island Ice Arena. Head coach Ryan Egan’s Chill did not get off to their imagined start, dropping their first seven contests before Saturday’s 5-0 win over the Wilderness. Emil Zetterquist stopped all 35 shots in the shutout for the Chill. That name should ring a bell for Jets fans: Zetterquist started the season in Janesville.
The rivalry renews Saturday. You can watch both games with the Jets’ call live on HockeyTV.
PROMOS AND EVENTS
The Jets have teamed up with First Community Bank of Milton for a special Milton Community Night on Friday, November 3rd versus the Minnesota Magicians. All students, staff, and family from Milton Middle School are invited to attend free of charge, courtesy of First Community Bank of Milton.
The first Skate with the Jets of the season is just around the corner. Post-game skate rentals are free of charge on Saturday, November 4th, courtesy of Jets sponsor ATC.