The Jr. Blues got off to a bit of a shaky start in this afternoon’s game, and Chicago took advantage with a goal at just 1:39 of the game. The Blue and Gold settled down from that and scored three unanswered goals to make the score 3 – 1 at the first intermission.
Stew Bell took a pass from down low and scored in front of the net between the circles. Brett Skibba and Tyler Rehm assisted on Bell’s goal at 5:35. Just over ten minutes later the Blues scored again on Joseph Pontasch’s redirect of a shot by Kevin Walters. Chris Sitler was also credited with an assist on the play. Three minutes later, at 18:57, Sitler gave the Blues a 3 – 1 lead on assists by Joseph Pontasch and Cody Dixon. While the Jr. Blues play was a bit ragged from time to time they controlled the period and their defense has stepped it up today.
I overheard Coach Dibble challenged the team last night and today to do just that, step it up, and they have responded in the first period. They were 1 for 3 on first period power plays, and outshot Chicago 17 – 10.
It was an unbelievable second period. The Hitmen smash Antoni into the pipes and get just a two minute minor penalty. The Blues go into cruise mode and pay the price. They implode as Chicago scores four unanswered goals in the space of two minutes and twelve seconds to take a two goal lead into the second intermission. What can you say except the Blues are very much like the old nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl in the middle of her fore-head. “When they are good, they are very, very good, but when they’re bad they are horrid. The Blues must regroup in the locker room during the second intermission and figure out a way to respond to an inspired Chicago team that has taken the Blue and Gold to task in the second stanza.
As the second period belonged to Chicago, the third period was all Blues and the team showed plenty of character in the face of adversity. Down 5 – 3 going into the third Chicago continued to dominate until Ethan Nauman scored at 11:34 on assists by Radim Matus and Gavin Tufte. Nauman scored a rebound shot at 16:15 to tie the game at 5 – 5. He was assisted by Ruslan Pedan and Radim Matus. Then Kyle Cook scored at 17:30 on an assist by Mitch Rogge to round out the scoring. The game ended with the Blues clearing the defensive zone with 10 seconds left to win it. The game was a grinder and Pedan dropped the gloves with Annunziato with just over a minute left. Blues win a hard fought battle and take two out of three from Chicago.
Next week Topeka comes into the Nelson Center for two games Friday and Saturday. Come on out and cheer this edition of the Blue and Gold on to victory. Game time both nights is 7:00 pm. If you can’t attend join me on FASTHockey for all the action.