Fairbanks, Alaska – The Springfield Jr. Blues concluded a two-week stint in Alaska by earning a series split with the hometown Ice Dogs this past weekend. With the win the team heads into the Thanksgiving break with a 10-12-0-0 record for 20 points.
Friday: SPR 2 – 3 FAI
After a big series victory over Kenai River the prior weekend, the Jr. Blues looked to continue the strong play against a perennial division favorite in the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The hometown club was looking to move into 1st place in the division and got off to a hot start.
The Ice Dogs scored just over a minute into the contest on a beneficial bounce in the slot and maintained that 1-0 lead heading into the 2nd period. Goaltender Aksel Reid provided several big time stops but the Ice Dogs doubled their lead to 2-0 just about halfway through the middle frame.
But the Jr. Blues weren’t giving up that easily. Hadley Hudak broke the shutout big of Ice Dogs netminder Jack Olson late in the 2nd period on a loose puck in front of the net to send us to the 3rd period trailing 2-1 but with hope.
Veteran forward Hayden Riva tied the game up at the 8:57 mark of the 3rd period and, at the time, appeared to have swung the momentum in favor of Springfield. The Ice Dogs, however, would find the right placement on a quick shot from the nearside circle just five minutes later to reclaim the lead and take a 3-2 win.
Reid garnered the loss in net despite stopping 21 of 24 shots and keeping the Jr. Blues in the game throughout the contest. James Callahan, Grant Ellings, Isaac Keller, and Edvards Bergmanis all recorded an assist in the game.
Saturday: SPR 3 – 2 FAI
Fairbanks once again came out firing on Saturday and found plenty of offensive success in the first 20 minutes of hockey. They scored five minutes into the period to take a 1-0 lead and then doubled the score to 2-0 with less than three to play in the frame. An emotional scrap between Isaac Keller and Fairbanks forward Kole Altergott provided a spark that took some time to grow, but proved to be a pivotal point in the game.
Captain James Callahan recorded his 2nd goal of the season to get us on the board in the 2nd period when he buried a 3-on-1 feed past Kayden Hargraves to begin the comeback bid. Hayden Riva would grab his 2nd goal in as many games (to tie the game 2-2 at that) to send us into the 3rd period all square with Fairbanks.
Carson Dorfman and Hargraves proved to be every bit as advertised in the 3rd period, each turning aside several grade A scoring chances down the stretch. The game headed into Overtime where rookie defenseman Jake Peterson picked up his 5th goal of the season on a rebound in the slot to give the Jr. Blues the 3-2 victory.
Dorfman picked up the win in net by turning aside 18 of 20 shots while Keller had two assists. Edvards Bergmanis, Brayden Cook, Tyler Borgula, and Peterson each had one assist.
By the Numbers:
- The Jr. Blues played five games in Alaska during the trip and each game finished with the final score being 3-2. Our record for the trip? 3-2.
- Jake Peterson is having a solid start to his junior hockey career. In 21 games this season he has 5 goals and 5 assists, good for the 2nd most points by a rookie defenseman in the league.
- Speaking of rookie scoring, Tyler Borgula has 9 goals and 8 assists on the season and sits in 3rd amongst all rookie scoring. He leads all rookies in shots taken with 68.
- Noah Marino has spent parts of four seasons with the Jr. Blues beginning in the 2018-19 season and has now played in 121 games for Springfield. He needs just two more games played to move into the Top 20 in team history. The team record is 197 games played held by Trevor Stone (2012-16).
- Head Coach Tyler Rennette is in his 5th season at the helm of the Jr. Blues and has a career record of 128-109-19. He needs three more wins to move into 3rd place in team history (Tony Zazowski, 131; Nick Pollos, 138; Tony Curtale, 143).
The Jr. Blues are off this weekend and our next games will be at home Friday December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd against the North Iowa Bulls. Scout Night will be on December 2nd as we welcome our friends from the Abraham Lincoln Council, BSA to the Nelson Center! Grab your tickets online and be a part of Jr. Blues hockey!