Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), were finally able to welcome fans back into the Nelson Center for the first regular season home game since Spring 2020! In front of a strong showing of support from the Springfield community the Jr. Blues split the weekend series with the Minnesota Magicians and will remain in 2nd place in the Midwest Division.
Friday: Jr. Blues 4 – Magicians 0
The Jr. Blues opened up the weekend with a solid team performance in a 4-0 victory on Friday evening. Michael Valdez, Liam Svensson, and Joey Dosan (twice) all scored while Ethan Robertson picked up his first NAHL shutout by turning away all 38 shots from Minnesota. For the Magic, Sami Molu stopped 33 of 37 in the loss.
Saturday: Jr. Blues 0 – Magicians 4
In a reverse of fortunes, the Magicians came out on Saturday and scored three times in the opening frame en route to defeating the Jr. Blues 4-0. Patrick Czarnecki, Cam Boche, Samuel Jacobs, and Lukas Kanta all scored while Brandon Milberg recorded the shutout by stopping all 34 shots. Ethan Robertson and Ethan Roberts combined to stop 30 of 34 in the loss.
The results of the weekend mean that the Jr. Blues and Magicians remain tied for the 2nd spot in the Midwest Division with 12 points. The Jr. Blues have a 6-2-0-0 record while the Magicians now have a 6-4-0-0 record, just behind the Ice Dogs who lead the league with a 7-2-0-1 record for 14 points. Currently the Midwest Division has six teams with at least 10 points (Fairbanks, Springfield, MN Magicians, MN Wilderness, Anchorage, and Chippewa) while no other division has more than three.
By the Numbers:
- Joey Dosan picked up goals #5 and #6 on Friday night and he is now tied for 3rd in the league in goals. Overall he has 9 points on the season and is one of four NAHL rookies in the top 20 in scoring.
- Both Ethan Roberts and Ethan Robertson are in the top 10 for GAA in the NAHL (1.44 and 1.93 respectively) and they are the only goaltending tandem who both have shutouts.
- The Power Play and Penalty Kill units saw an awful lot of action this weekend as the two teams combined for 23 penalties and 84 penalty minutes overall. The Jr. Blues power play, despite not finding paydirt this weekend, sits as 4th best at 36.8% and the penalty kill is T-10th at 85%.
- Michael Valdez scored his first junior hockey goal on Friday; he joins Connor Smith, James Callahan, Coby Weber, Mac Gadowsky, Noah Holt, and Zach Bade who have also scored their first junior hockey goals this season.
- The Nelson Center saw over 700+ come out and support the Jr. Blues this weekend and for our first home stand since February 2020, we certainly felt the love and support from everyone! Thank you to all who came out and celebrated our return with us!
The Jr. Blues will now head back to the road – a recurring theme for the first half of our regular season schedule. This weekend we have two games up in Chippewa Falls, WI to face the Steel for the first time this year. After this weekend we head to the Great White North for two weeks as we welcome the Anchorage Wolverines into the Division and then face-off with our longtime foe the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Make sure you’ve signed up for HockeyTV to catch every second of Jr. Blues hockey this weekend and beyond!