Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues battled back all weekend and came away with 3 out of 4 possible points against the visiting Minnesota Magicians. Cam Wuesthoff, Hunter Longhi, and Cole Schneider all scored their first NAHL goals, while Ryan Wilson picked up his fourth win of the season.
On Friday the Jr. Blues hosted the Magicians for Pink the Rink night as the boys wore special pink jerseys which were auctioned off during the game. The Magicians took an early lead and held onto that lead until Wuesthoff scored with just over 5 minutes left in the 2nd period. Minnesota would respond immediately with two goals in the final two minutes of the frame to lead 3-1 at the break.
But the Jr. Blues refused to give up as Longhi scored twice in the 3rd period to tie the game up 3-3. Despite several opportunities for both sides, 60 minutes proved to be not enough time and the game went to overtime. The Magicians would end the game quickly, however, scoring just :30 into extra time and coming away with the extra point winning 4-3.
Alex Proctor got the start for the Jr. Blues and stopped 24 of 28 shots, keeping the team in the game with timely saves throughout. Wuesthoff picked up 2 assists to go along with his goal while Gino Carabelli and Trent DeNuccio each added an assist as well.
Saturday was an early Halloween celebration as children who wore costumes not only got free admission, but were able to compete in our costume contest during the 1st intermission as well. On the ice the action began eerily similar to Friday’s contest as Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Jr. Blues. Danila Larionovs scored his team leading 6th goal of the season late in the 2nd period to cut the deficit to 2-1 and energize the full house on hand.
Just over two minutes into the 3rd period Schneider scored his 1st goal to tie the game up, 2-2. The remaining time in regulation was filled with hard hitting, old school style hockey that kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer. For the third game in a row the Jr. Blues headed to extra time and for the second time this season needed shootout to decide a winner.
Ryan Wilson, who stopped 30 of 32 in regulation, stopped all three Minnesota shooters in the shootout. It was Caden Villegas, the third shooter for the Jr. Blues, who scored just over the blocker of Samuel Vyletelka, who sent the crowd home on a high note as the Jr. Blues won 3-2.
Carabelli added two more assists in the game while Adisen Brueck also had an assist. The Jr. Blues are now 5-6-2-1 on the season and have 13 points, good enough for 4th place in the Midwest Division just ahead of the Minnesota Magicians and Janesville Jets.
Jr. Blues Notes:
First Things First – In the last two weekends the Jr. Blues have seen 4 players (Holmkvist, Wuesthoff, Longhi, and Schneider) all score their first NAHL goals. With such a young team compared to last year’s squad, you can expect to see many more firsts from here on out.
A Generous Crowd – Our Pink the Rink night was another huge success as we raised a lot of money for Real Men Wear Pink (we will release numbers later this week). In addition to game-worn jerseys, we auctioned off a signed jersey, a custom made wreath, and a signed pennant. We also had pink t-shirts, bracelets, buttons, and broach pins available to be purchased. The Jr. Blues would like to thank Sun Loan Company here in Springfield for donating pink koozies that we handed out at the door.
A Spooky Contest – After the Hanson Brothers dominated our costume contest last season, it was a much tighter affair this year. With over 30 entrants this season we ended with a three way tie for champion: The World’s Most Adorable Chicken, Pocahontas, and Boss Baby. Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest, we loved seeing all of the unique and creative costume ideas!
The Jr. Blues finish off this long home stand this weekend against the Janesville Jets on Friday and Saturday. Saturday will be Scout Night where all Scouts, boy or girl, in uniform will receive free admission to the game.