It had been a long time since the Jets played a game at the Janesville Ice Arena — 48 days to be exact, but the wait was well worth it. Fans got the chance to bid on the Jets’ specialty camo jerseys, which will be worn this upcoming weekend, and defenseman Spencer Kring set a Jets jersey auction record when his threads went for $750. Proceeds from the auction were for a great cause, as they went to benefit Vets Roll and Housing 4 Our Vets. Oh, and fans in attendance witnessed at least five goals in both contests, so free Culver’s cards for two nights was a pretty sweet bonus.
Friday: W, 5-2
Janesville opened the scoring in the opening period when Ethan Begg (4) found a loose puck in the crease and poked it home. The Wilderness got on the board later in the period to bring the game to a 1-1 going into the first intermission. Robby Newton (5) scored on what looked like a harmless shot-pass to the net from the right wing, but it snuck through the wickets of the Wilderness goaltender and put the Jets up 2-1. Eight minutes later, on the power play, Arsenii Smekhnov (2) got the eventual game-winner, a tipped a point shot from AJ Casperson that found its way to the top corner to give the Jets a two-goal cushion.
The offensive showing continued into the third when Jan Lasak slammed home his eighth goal of the season on a poorly-controlled rebound. Minnesota was able to add one more to their count, but Cy LeClerc sent a clearing attempt on the PK down the ice that snuck inside the right post of an empty net to secure the 5-2 win. The first night back home was a big help for both ends of play; the Jets sent 41 shots to the opposition’s cage, and Owen Millward stood tall in net, making 30 saves on 32 shots.
Saturday: W, 7-4
A game that quickly shifted in favor of the Wilderness early ended in a strong comeback victory for Janesville.
Like the night before, the Jets broke the scoreless tie after Cody Menzel deflected home the first goal of his junior hockey league career. Minnesota took no time in attempting to spoil the Jets’ return-home party and scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into the second frame.
Down two in the second and on the power play, Cy LeClerc stayed hot and fired a wrist shot from the right circle to the far side for his 12th goal of the season. Again, the Wilderness had an answer for the Jets and retained their two-goal lead, but it was all Janesville after that.
Jan Lasak (9) closed the scoring in the second period after Arsenii Smekhnov tossed a perfect saucer pass to the stick of Zigi on a 2-on-1 to bring it right back to a one-goal game. It stayed that way for eight minutes before the rookie Cy LeClerc struck again with a man advantage; a pass to the net from Robby Newton was enough for LeClerc to feed it home and tie it at four. Wilderness goaltender Jacob Zacharewicz sustained an injury on the play and was replaced by Sam Livecchi for the remainder of the game.
With just over four minutes left in regulation and on another power play, AJ Casperson wristed a shot towards the net that was tipped by Lasak to put the Jets ahead and secure Culver’s for the home crowd once again. For good measure, the Janesville native Jonah Aegerter got loose on a breakaway and did not miss, going forehand-backhand for his fourth score of the year. With a minute and a half left, the Wilderness emptied their net, only to have Arsenii Smekhnov chuck it down the ice and in to put the stunned Minnesota Wilderness away.
In the 7-4 win, the Jets’ special teams stood out in a big way, going 3/5 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill. Moreover, the response following the three straight goals from the MNW in the first period was even more impressive. The Jets outshot MN 21-12 in the following two periods of play and scored five consecutive goals en route to their fourth straight win.
The Jets will continue their three-week homestand and attempt to extend the win streak this upcoming weekend against the sixth-place Minnesota Magicians.
Top Scorers Over the Weekend
F Cy LeClerc (3 G, 2 A), F Jan Lasak (3 G, 2 A), D Cal Mell (5 A), D Will Troutwine (4 A), F Arsenii Smekhnov (2 G, 1 A)
Around the Division
Chippewa Steel 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 1
Kenai River Brown Bears 2 @ Anchorage Wolverines 6
Springfield Jr. Blues 4 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2
Minnesota Magicians 3 @ Chippewa Steel 4 (F/OT)
Kenai River Brown Bears 1 @ Anchorage Wolverines 4
Springfield Jr. Blues 3 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 6
|1||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||21||13-7-0-1||27|
|2||Springfield Jr. Blues||21||13-7-0-1||27|
|8||Kenai River Brown Bears||15||3-16-0-0||6|
Jets vs. Magicians | Fri Nov 19 | 7:00pm CST
Jets vs. Magicians | Sat Nov 20 | 7:00pm CST