JANESVILLE, WI — After opening the scoring on Friday, the Jets were silenced by the Minnesota Wilderness in a 6-2 loss. Jonah Aegerter and William Gustavsson were the lone goal scorers on Billet Appreciation Night, which saw the Hangar packed with almost 700 fans in the second-last home game of the regular season. Saturday will be the final contest from home ice to put a bow on the 2021-22 regular season, and the Jets need to win to have a chance at getting to the playoffs.
Things started on the right foot for the Jets on Friday after Jonah Aegerter (Jimmy Doyle, Cade Destefani) notched his 13th goal of the year five and a half minutes into the game. Beating a hot goaltender in Matt Smith early in the game was crucial and seemingly set the right tone for the home team, but the Wilderness didn’t let the deficit stand for long.
Five minutes after Aegerter’s goal, Barrett Hall brought the game back to where it started with a tie. The Wilderness took the lead for good at 14:16 of the first with a goal from Ethan Wolthers to make it 2-1. Minnesota took that lead into the first intermission, which featured a special ceremony with all the players joining their billet parents on the ice for Billet Appreciation Night.
From the second period on, it was all Minnesota, who didn’t let off the gas for the remainder of the night. Alex Pineau recorded his first goal four minutes into the second, followed by another goal from Hall and one more from Max Neill while on the power play. The Wilderness scored five unanswered goals between the first and end of the second to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
The Jets mustered up one more score on the night courtesy of William Gustavsson, his 22nd of the year. While Gus’ goal didn’t spark a furious comeback from the Jets, it did secure a significant milestone for one skater. With an assist on the goal, Cy LeClerc recorded his 74th point to break the record for most points scored in a single season (73). Jakov Novak held the record previously.
— Janesville Jets (@JanesvilleJets1) April 9, 2022
LeClerc can break the single-season goals record of 32, also held by Novak, with two goals before the end of the regular season.
Minnesota capped off the victory with an empty-net power-play goal from Gunnar Thoreson to skate away with a 6-2 win. Matt Smith had another impressive night from the goal crease for the Wilderness, making 26 saves on 28 shots in the win.
Owen Millward faced 31 shots on the night, with the majority of them coming from dangerous areas and high-percentage chances, and made 26 saves.
The Anchorage Wolverines shut out the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 2-0 on Friday night, which made the Jets’ path to a playoff spot much more challenging. Janesville’s point cap is now 71 points, whereas the Wolverines’ is 76, and they’re already at 68. If the Jets were to win out, they’d need a regulation loss tonight and three overtime losses from the Wolverines, at the very least, to make it to the playoffs.
Before the game, the Jets will host an End of Season tailgate held in the arena parking lot. Beer and hot dogs will be available, as well as a set of bags, music, and fun in the sun before the final regular-season game at the Hangar. Tailgate festivities begin at 5 PM, doors to the arena open at 6 PM, and puck drop will be at 7 PM.
The Jets will wear their specialty Toyota jerseys again tonight, and you can bid on them LIVE on the DASH Auction app. Click the link here to head to the auction site, or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages and follow the pinned post to get your bids in! The auction ends at 8:30 PM CT tonight.
The Jets will play their final game of the regular season at home on Saturday night to attempt for a split series with the Wilderness. A win to cap off the home series would be great, but a win holds significantly more value than just a simple feel-good win on home ice. A win would keep Janesville’s playoff hopes, which are on life support currently, alive. Some assistance would still be needed from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who play the Anchorage Wolverines tonight, but the Jets need to take care of their own business first and come away with two points tonight.