JANESVILLE, WI — Entering a three-game series on a seven-game winning streak, the Jets took care of business with a dominant win on Friday, followed by two thrilling overtime wins on Saturday and Sunday to move their streak to double digits and jump into third place in the division.
Friday: W, 8-3
It took the Jets just six seconds to score in their fourth game in four weeks against the Steel. After Chippewa won the opening faceoff, Ethan Begg made a nice poke check to knock the puck free, then skated down the right wing and sniped a wrist shot for his 11th goal of the year. It was a fitting start for the white-hot Jets in front of another large crowd in Janesville.
Six minutes after Begg’s goal, Jack Larrigan got a deflection on a point shot from Alex Thundercloud to make it 2-0. Chippewa scored just past the halfway point of the first to get within one.
Things went quiet for a while until the Jets went to a power play halfway through the second period, and Mack Keryluk found twine for the 12th time this season. After his one-timer was denied by Croix Cochendorfer the play before, Keryluk set up in the identical spot in the left circle and, this time, fired one towards the far post and by the Steel netminder. It was the lone goal scored in the second and gave the Jets a 3-1 lead.
At 3:55 of the third, Cade Destefani and Jimmy Doyle got loose on a 2-on-1 and did not miss. Dez gave to Doyle, who fired goal number two of his campaign into the back of the net, the eventual game-winning goal.
Following a skirmish in the Steel goal crease just over a minute after Doyle’s goal, Kochendorfer threw a pair of blocker punches to the face of Destefani and was given a five-minute major, ten-minute misconduct, and a twenty-minute game misconduct. 16-year-old Carter Wishart came in to relieve the ejected Kochendorfer in the first game of his junior career.
The Jets took great advantage of facing the young netminder and cashed in again on the five-minute power play at 9:19 of the period. William Gustavsson pounced on a pass into the slot from Cal Mell and threw it by Wishart that made it 5-1.
Thirty-six seconds later and still on the power play, Cade Destefani set up in Ovi’s office and ripped a one-timer over the shoulder of Wishart that popped the water bottle for his third score this year. Chippewa scored at 13:37 to get their second goal of the night.
With five minutes to go, Jack Larrigan set up in the same spot Destefani parked in and got the same result for his second goal of the game and the Jets’ fourth PPG.
Chippewa managed one more goal with under two minutes left, but the Jets got the last laugh with a wicked exclamation point. Starting from the goal crease, Alex Thundercloud brought the puck through neutral ice, maneuvered through three Steel defenders, and somehow put a backhander by Wishart for an incredible solo-effort play. It was “TC”‘s first goal of his junior hockey career, and it was a remarkable one and a perfect way to put a stamp on the win.
Owen Millward stopped 24 of 27 shots in his 23rd win of the year.
Saturday: W, 3-2 (F/OT)
The Saturday standoff was just that: a two-period long stalemate with an empty scoreboard. The Jets only put forth 12 shots on goal to the Steel’s 26 in the first two frames, but the streaking squad managed to bend and not break with the heavy pressure from the opposition.
Chippewa finally recorded the game’s first goal at 3:37 of the third to take a 1-0 lead.
Janesville dug deep and offered a response 30 seconds later with Ethan Begg’s 12th goal that brought the game back to a tie. With some momentum, Jimmy Doyle put the Jets in front four minutes later to take control of the contest.
It appeared the Jets were going to skate away with the win, as they managed the back end of the third relatively well, but Chippewa found an extra gear and tied the game at two at 17:43.
While there was some back and forth in the final two minutes, neither team managed to find the game-winner, which took the matchup into overtime.
The Steel managed only one shot in the extra frame, and the Jets, who hadn’t lost a game in overtime, didn’t let that streak end. At 1:17, the Jets came out on a 2-on-1 with Larrigan on the puck and Cy LeClerc on the left wing. Larry dished a pass to LeClerc, who hammered a one-timer that snuck by Wishart and in to get the 3-2 win and the Jets’ ninth in a row.
With Millward getting the night off, Mike D’Orazio started between the pipes for the first time since January 22 against Kenai River. The Canadian goalie had an incredible night, making 34 saves on 36 shots to help his team to victory.
Sunday: W, 4-3 (F/OT)
In their first of two games this season against the St. Cloud Norsemen, the Jets pulled off a comeback to remember on Sunday afternoon that extended their winning streak to an incredible ten games. The Norsemen, who lead the Central Division, also went on a streak of 13 wins before their matchup against the Jets.
For the second straight game, both units were held scoreless in the opening 20 minutes of action. The Jets were held to only seven shots on goal while the home team sent 15 to the crease.
The Norsemen got the scoring started only 19 seconds into the second period, followed by another on the power play two minutes later. They took a 3-0 lead at 7:10 of the period. That’s when the Jets snapped awake and began their push back. Forty-four seconds after St. Cloud’s third goal, Spencer Kring gave a pass to the left wing to Jimmy Doyle, who ripped one into the back of the net for another goal. He finished the weekend with three goals in three games.
The game went to the third period with the Norsemen in front 3-1, but the Jets returned even stronger knowing their streak was on the line. At 12:28 and on the penalty kill, AJ Casperson dished a perfect pass through the Norsemen defense onto the stick of Cy LeClerc, who skated in all by himself and sniped his 28th goal on the year. It brought the squad to within one and put immense pressure on the opposition.
That pressure spilled over and resulted in the game-tying goal for Mack Keryluk after Grayden Daul sauced a textbook pass to Mack on the back door. The Jets continued to push but couldn’t get the game-winner in regulation, so the contest reached overtime for the second consecutive night.
The Norsemen had several chances on the offensive front, but strong goaltending from Owen Millward kept St. Cloud at bay and continued to provide opportunities for Janesville. After a great 2-on-1 save from Milly, Will Troutwine navigated through neutral ice and into the offensive end, gave to LeClerc, got the puck right back on the backdoor, and ripped a one-timer through Tomas Bolo to cap off the incredible 4-3 comeback and skate away with their tenth straight win.
For Troutwine, it completed his five-point weekend and was crucial in getting him the NAHL Midwest Division Star of the Week.
As he’d done all year long, Owen Millward kept the Jets in contention all game long and stretched the game even further with some clutch work in the crease during overtime. He made an impressive 39 saves on 42 shots for his 24th win this year.
Around the Division
Minnesota Wilderness 3 @ Minnesota Magicians 2
Minnesota Wilderness 4 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 3
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4 @ Anchorage Wolverines 3 (F/SO)
Minnesota Wilderness 3 @ Springfield Jr. Blues 9
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 0 @ Anchorage Wolverines 2
|1||Fairbanks Ice Dogs||48||31-16-1-2||65|
|2||Springfield Jr. Blues||46||30-15-1-2||63|
|8||Kenai River Brown Bears||49||12-32-3-2||29|
The Jets will return to home ice for another series against the second-place Springfield Jr. Blues. It’s the first series since Janesville squashed the opposition with wins of 3-0 and 9-1 in mid-February. Janesville will be rocking their specialty blue and white “Stick it to Cancer” jerseys, sponsored by Mercyhealth, and fans can bid on player jerseys during intermission and postgame on both nights. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Mercyhealth Cancer Center.
- The Jets extended their winning streak to a season-high ten games with the weekend sweep.
- In six games against them, Janesville has yet to lose a game against the Steel this year.
- With their two overtime wins Saturday and Sunday, the Jets moved to a perfect 5-0 record in overtime games this year.
- Will Troutwine recorded four assists and scored the game-winning goal for a five-point weekend in his first games back in the lineup.
- Alex Thundercloud secured his first junior hockey goal on Friday and added two assists for an impressive four-point night.
- Jack Larrigan extended his point streak to five games with his successful weekend.
- Owen Millward notched wins number 23 and 24 on Friday and Sunday, third-most in the league.
- The team moved to 27-19-0-1 on the season and leapfrogged the Anchorage Wolverines to move into third.