Soldotna, Alaska – The Springfield Jr. Blues continued to gain ground in the Midwest Division by taking two of three games against the Kenai River Brown Bears this past weekend. Each game ended by the final score of 3-2 and the Jr. Blues were led offensively by forwards Tyler Borgula and Cole Lonsdale. After the weekend series, the Jr. Blues record sits at 9-11-0-0 for 18 pts and we sit in 7th place in the division.
Friday: SPR 3 – 2 KNR
The action on Friday got underway at 10:30 pm CST, but it wasn’t until well after midnight that the fireworks finally began to fly. After 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, rookie forward Tyler Borgula needed just 74 seconds to break the ice in the 3rd period.
His goal was followed up by fellow rookie forward Adyn Merrick’s tally at the 5:23 mark of the period, his first junior hockey goal! The momentum appeared to be squarely in the Jr. Blues corner until the Brown Bears broke Aksel Reid’s shutout bid just before the halfway mark to make it a 2-1 game.
Borgula would score once again – this time at the 15:08 mark – to extend our lead to 3-1, which would prove to be a very important tally. The Brown Bears refused to give up and score with just over three minutes to play to make it 3-2.
Reid shut the door the rest of the way and finished the night with 31 saves – including 16 in the 3rd period – for his 4th win of the season. Andrew Schultz, Grant Ellings, Nikita Nikora, and Cole Lonsdale all had an assist in the game.
Saturday: SPR 3 – 2 KNR
We wouldn’t have to wait long for the scoring to begin on Saturday night as veteran forward Hayden Riva scored his first goal of the season just :21 into the game. The Brown Bears would answer back with a goal of their own just about three minutes later to tie the game 1-1.
Noah Marino, who is in his fourth season with the Jr. Blues, tallied his first goal of the season on a shorthanded clearing attempt in his own zone that bounced up and over the Kenai goaltender to give us a 2-1 lead just before the intermission.
In the 2nd period the lone goal scored by either team came off the blade of Lucca Munoz when he fired a rocket past Nills Wallstrom to give us a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.
The final period would be a tightly contested matchup with both sides letting their emotions do most of the talking. The Brown Bears would score to make it 3-2 just past the halfway mark but the defense would allow no more offense after that.
Carson Dorfman picked up his 4th win in net by stopping 36 of 38 shots in the contest. Isaac Keller, Andrew Schultz, and Riva each had an assist in the game.
Sunday: SPR 2 – 3 KNR
After back-to-back emotional nights, it was no surprise to see that the tempers and frustrations were running high on both benches. The Jr. Blues would open up the scoring late in the 1st period on a Power Play strike from Cole Lonsdale to give us a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
The middle period – and the beginning of the final period – were filled with three goals from Kenai River as they took their first lead of the weekend in the middle of a five minute stretch that saw momentum swing to the Brown Bears.
Lonsdale would grab his second Power Play goal of the game late in the 3rd period to give us a final chance, but the final score would be 3-2 once again in favor of Kenai.
Aksel Reid started in net, stopping 23 of 26 shots and picked up the loss. James Callahan had two assists while Tyler Borgula and Mac Gadowsky each had one.
By the Numbers:
- Of the six games that the Jr. Blues and Brown Bears played this season, four of them finished with a 3-2 score. The other two games finished with a 3-1 score.
- The Jr. Blues Penalty Kill was perfect this weekend going 11 for 11. We have now killed off 14 of our last 15 penalties successfully.
- With 2 goals and 1 assist on the weekend, Tyler Borgula now has 16 points on the season (9 goals, 7 assists) and is tied for the 2nd most points by a rookie so far this season. Borgula also has the most points on the Jr. Blues.
- For the tough start that we’ve had, the Jr. Blues have only lost one series so far this season. And after this past weekend we have now secured our first series victory – ironically both have come against the Brown Bears.
Our next games will be this Friday and Saturday in Fairbanks, Alaska as we face off with the Ice Dogs for the second time this season. Both games begin at 10:30 pm CST and can be watched exclusively on HockeyTV!