BLAINE, MN- In the opening game of the 2011 NAHL Showcase at the Schwan’s Super Rink, the Springfield Jr. Blues downed the Odessa Jackalopes 2-1. Connor Girard picked up the first win of his NAHL career, allowing just one goal on 36 shots. Ben Kramer and Josef Pontasch provided the goal scoring as the Jr. Blues made it back to the .500 mark at 1-1-0 on the season.
Kramer opened the scoring with a blast from the top of the circle at 11:02 of the first period. Kramer’s goal was assisted by Alex Bonito and Gavin Tufte. The assist was Bonito’s first point of his NAHL career. The Jr. Blues would not hold the lead for long, as Odessa evened the game with Sheldon Taylor’s quick wrister at 12:48 of the opening frame. The game went back and forth with Girard, and Odessa goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck, matching each other save for save. Mid-way through the third period, Chris Sitler, Kyle Cook and Josef Pontasch found a bit of magic on a tic-tac-toe passing play which commenced with Pontasch burying his first of the season. Girard would shut the door the rest of the way as the Blues pulled out their first win of the season. “We still have a ways to go, but today we showed an improvement (over previous game against St. Louis),” remarked Head Coach, Ryan Hardy. “We have to consistently improve in all aspects of our game, but anytime you walk away with two points, it feels good,” he continued.
The Jr. Blues return to action against the defending National Champion, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, at 8:00PM on Thursday. Tune into Fast Hockey and follow all the action!