Richfield, Minnesota – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their weekend series with the Minnesota Magicians this past Thursday and Friday. Leo Bacallao had four points on the weekend while Aaron Swanson had three points of his own as the Jr. Blues wrapped up 2019 on a high note. With the split, the Jr. Blues record is now 10-20-2-1 and they are tied with the Magicians for 5th place in the Midwest Division.
The final North American Hockey League (NAHL) series of 2019 began a day earlier than normal for the Springfield Jr. Blues and Minnesota Magicians. On Thursday night the Jr. Blues arrived in Minnesota to finish out the year, and the decade, in what’s fast becoming a heated Midwest Division rivalry. The Magicians scored five minutes into the 1st period on a tip from the slot to take a 1-0 lead, a lead they would hold for the remainder of the 1st period and all of the 2nd period.
Despite several scoring chances for the Jr. Blues, it wouldn’t be until early in the 3rd period that they would be able to get on the scoreboard. Leo Bacallao waited out Magicians goaltender Dysen Skinner to tie the game 1-1 just 1:56 into the 3rd period. However, two minutes later the Magicians would regain the lead before adding two goals late to defeat the Jr. Blues 4-1. Ryan Wilson got the start in net for the Jr. Blues, stopping 29 of 33 shots. Jeremy Gabriele and Jonathan Panisa each had an assist.
With one more opportunity to get in the win column this year, the Jr. Blues started fast on Friday and never let up. Aaron Swanson scored :24 into the contest, and Bacallao scored three minutes later and the Jr. Blues held a commanding 2-0 lead before you could blink. As the 2nd period began, the Jr. Blues upped their effort in the middle frame as they would score three more times to lead 5-0 after two periods. Swanson scored his second of the night, Panisa tallied his 5th goal since returning from the USHL, and Trevor Scherer scored his first goal with the Jr. Blues.
While the 3rd period didn’t see as many goals scored as the previous period, the Jr. Blues battled off each attempt by the Magicians. The home team was able to break through Wilson’s shutout halfway through the period, but an answer from Adisen Brueck furthered seal the victory. Wilson stopped 31 of 32 shots in the 6-1 victory to pick up his 7th win of the season. Jack Rhode had three assists, Bacallao had two assists, while Swanson, Hunter Longhi, Billy Simms, Brueck, Mason McCormick, Cole Schneider, and Carson Jones each had one assist a piece.
Jr. Blues Notes:
Take A Bow, Kid – Trevor Scherer scored his first junior hockey goal on Friday night in his 9th game with the Jr. Blues. Scherer, a native of Hilliard, OH, arrived in Springfield after playing 14 games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in the East Division. Scherer is the 8th player this season to score his first junior hockey goal for the Jr. Blues (Marino, McCurdy, Brueck, Jones, Longhi, Schneider, Wuesthoff)
Leading the Pack – We are at the halfway mark of the season (roughly), and through 33 games Caden Villegas is leading the team in scoring with 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists). From there Aaron Swanson has 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists), and then three players are tied with 15: Hunter Longhi (9 goals, 6 assists), Adisen Brueck (8 goals, 7 assists), and Danila Larionovs (6 goals, 9 assists).
The Jr. Blues will be off Christmas this week. The team will report the following week as we host the Topeka Pilots on January 3rd & 4th. Tickets are available for those two games at our office at The Nelson Center.