Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are coming off a weekend split with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, and now will turn our attention to the Kenai River Brown Bears for an important three game series to finish off our home stand. The Jr. Blues head into this weekend with a 3-3-0-0 record for 6 points.
Last weekend, the Jr. Blues opened up the home portion of our 2022-23 schedule by hosting the defending Midwest Division champs in the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Veteran netminder Aksel Reid was strong in net for the Jr. Blues, stopping 43 of 48 shots combined in the two game series and picked up his second win of the season.
Rookie forwards Tyler Borgula (2 G, 1 A) and Nikita Nikora (1 G, 3 A) continued to impress offensively while newcomers Johnny Mead (2 G) and Cole Lonsdale (1 G, 2 A) provided an extra spark that propelled the Jr. Blues to victory on Saturday.
We now turn our attention to another foe from Alaska: the Kenai River Brown Bears. It’s been nearly a year since we’ve played against our friends from the Kenai peninsula, and it’ll be an early test for a young Jr. Blues team.
The Brown Bears (6-3-0-0, 12 pts) are currently in 3rd place in the Midwest Division and have played spoiler to both Janesville and Wisconsin already: taking two of three from the Jets and sweeping the Windigo. They are led offensively by Ryan Finch (7 G, 5 A) and Garrett Drotts (4 G, 4 A), and are anchored in goal by Nils Wallstrom (5-2-0-0, 2.85 GAA, .914 SV%, 1 SO).
While Kenai River has had some rough seasons in the last decade, they are just one season removed from reaching the Division Finals in the 2020-21 Robertson Cup Playoffs. They’ve gotten off to a hot-start and will be looking to add as many points as they can before they head back to Alaska.
Behind the Shield:
- We announced yesterday morning that our captain James Callahan announced his commitment to continue his education and hockey career at the Air Force Academy starting in the Fall of 2023. He becomes the 11th alumni to represent the Jr. Blues at Air Force, joining names such as Trevor Stone and Brady Tomlak.
- The Jr. Blues will see a familiar face on the other side of the ice this weekend: forward Noah Holt is now the captain of the Brown Bears. Holt appeared in 30 games for the Jr. Blues last season and recorded 6 goals and 2 assists, including a Hat Trick against Chippewa.
- Our games this weekend will be our last home games this month. After this week, we will only have three more home weekends before Christmas. We ramp up the home schedule in January and February before concluding in mid-April.
By the Numbers:
- Jake Peterson now has a 4-game point streak heading into this weekend. In that stretch he has 2 goals and 3 assists. The longest streak this past season for a Jr. Blues player was 7 games by Hagen Moe when he tallied 8 goals and 1 assists between February 19th and March 12th.
- We have played 46 games against the Brown Bears since they entered the league during the 2007-08 season. We hold a 30-16 overall record against Kenai and took four out of six against them last season.
- Our roster has a combined 509 games played in the NAHL with 323 of those games coming from just 3 players: Isaac Keller (109 GP), Noah Marino (108 GP), and Isaac Novak (106 GP). The league record for games played in the NAHL is 233 by former Kenai River defenseman Preston Weeks between 2015-2020.
Our three game series with the Brown Bears gets underway tomorrow evening and concludes on Sunday.
Friday, October 7th @ 7:05 pm
Saturday, October 8th @ 6:05 pm
Sunday, October 9th @ 4:05 pm
Doors open one hour prior to puck drop and tickets may be purchased in advance by visiting tickets.jrblues.com – save some time (and money) and skip the line on game night!