Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues return to the ice this Friday and Saturday as we host the Chippewa Steel for an important two game series! With the Midwest Division continuing to tighten, each and every point will be important the rest of the way. The Jr. Blues will head into this weekend sitting in 2nd place in the division with a 22-9-1-1 record for 46 points.
The boys are looking to get back into the swing of things after one final off weekend. Prior to the short break the Jr. Blues swept the 1st place Fairbanks Ice Dogs by the scores of 5-1 and 7-3, our fourth weekend sweep of the season. The victories propelled us to within one point of 1st place, but Fairbanks was able to grow their lead back to five points after a successful sweep of their own over Kenai River.
We’ll shift our focus and attention to the Chippewa Steel who come to town for the second and final time during the regular season. Last time they were here was in early November where we split with the Steel on Scout Night weekend. The team has changed quite a bit since then as newcomers Isaac Novak, Isaac Keller, Jack Boxer, Brayden Cook, and Aksel Reid have not yet seen the Steel in action this season.
For the Steel they are looking to bounce back from a rough week that saw them fall to both the Minnesota Magicians and the Janesville Jets. They are right in the middle of the pack battling for the fourth and final playoff position currently held by the Magicians. They are led offensively by veteran forward Ethan Benz (15 G, 20 A) and have relied on Croix Kochendorfer (10-9-0-1, 2.85, .903, 1 SO) all season long in net.
The Midwest Division crown has been fiercely contested all season long and looks to continue that trend moving forward. Fairbanks sits in 1st (25-11-0-1, 51 pts), Springfield is in 2nd, Anchorage is in 3rd (19-12-3-0, 41 pts), the Magicians are in 4th (17-14-3-1, 38 pts), Chippewa is in 5th (17-16-0-2, 36 pts), the Wilderness are in 6th (17-18-1-0, 35 pts), Janesville is in 7th (16-17-0-1, 33 pts), and Kenai River is in 8th (7-24-3-2, 19 pts).
By the Numbers:
- Isaac Novak has made quite the splash since coming to town. In 8 games with the shield on his jersey he has scored 7 goals and added 4 assists, including a Hat Trick on January 7th against Fairbanks. Novak is no stranger to putting up points in the NAHL as he registered 40 points on 19 goals and 21 assists with the Jets in 2019-20.
- Our goaltending tandem of Ethan Roberts (14-6-0-1, 2.59, .920, 2 SO) and Aksel Reid (4-0-1-0, 2.57, .905) will look to continue to play strong as we progress through January. Reid has played in four consecutive games and has won each decision: one in shootout, one in overtime, and two in regulation.
- The Rookies have really proven their value this season. Currently we have six rookies who have at least 10 points: Connor Smith (8 G, 15 A), Hagen Moe (13 G, 8 A), Zach Bade (8 G, 8 A), Michael Valdez (4 G, 7 A), James Callahan (3 G, 8 A), and Fisher Scott (1 G, 10 A).
- Special Teams Breakdown: The Jr. Blues have the 3rd best PP in the division at 25% (T-3rd overall in league) and the 4th best PK at 76.6% (23rd overall in league). The Steel have the 8th best PP in the division at 17.5% (17th overall in league) and the 3rd best PK at 82.4% (17th overall in league).
Games this Weekend:
The Jr. Blues and Steel will get underway on Friday at 7:05 pm with doors opening at 6 pm. Make sure to arrive early so you can enjoy our Happy Hour that begins at 6 and runs until 7. We’ll conclude the weekend series on Saturday at 6:05 pm with doors opening at 5 pm. Buy your tickets online at tickets.jrblues.com TODAY – save some time (and money) and skip the line on game night!