Mason City, Iowa – The Springfield Jr. Blues headed into Mason City looking to build upon the momentum they had been slowly building the last couple weekends. A strong showing on Friday was followed up with a tough break on Saturday night and after the dust settled we sit with a 6-9-0-0 record for 12 points.
Friday: SPR 3 – 1 NIO
The Jr. Blues struck early and held control of the contest from the first puck drop. Lucca Munoz picked up his first goal of the season and his first in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) just :33 into the game.
The Bulls found an answer early in the 2nd period to tie the game up 1-1 but veteran forward Isaac Keller gave the Jr. Blues the lead just past the halfway mark of the period to give us a 2-1 lead that we would not relinquish.
Blueliner Jake Peterson picked up his 4th goal of the season on a rocket of a shot early in the 3rd period to make it 3-1 and that’s all goaltender Aksel Reid would need.
Reid finished up the night stopping 22 of 23 shots and gave the Jr. Blues the spark they had been so desperately looking for. Grant Ellings and Adyn Merrick both picked up assists on Munoz’ goal, their first points since joining the team. Andrew Schultz, Jagur McClelland, Tyler Borgula, and Nikita Nikora each had an assist as well.
Saturday: SPR 2 – 6 NIO
The boys started strong again on Saturday night, as defenseman Scott Miner picked up his first junior hockey goal just 3:12 into the opening frame to give us a 1-0 lead. The game from that point forward, however, belonged to the home team.
The Bulls chased netminder Carson Dorfman from the game by scoring the next three goals of the game to send us to the intermission trailing 3-1. Aksel Reid took to the crease to start the 2nd, but the Bulls weren’t finished offensively as they scored early in the period to make it 4-1.
Brayden Cook scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway on the power play to cut the deficit to 4-2, but North Iowa netminder Mitch Day kept the Jr. Blues at bay the rest of the way. The Bulls would add two more goals in the 3rd period to walk away with a 6-2 win and a weekend split.
Dorfman stopped 11 of 14 and Reid stopped 16 of 18 as the Jr. Blues split their third consecutive weekend series. Cole Lonsdale and Nikita Nikora each had assists in the game.
By the Numbers:
- With Scotty Miner’s goal on Saturday, the Jr. Blues have now had 6 rookies score their first junior hockey goals this season. He joins Nikita Nikora, Tyler Borgula, Jagur McClelland, Jake Peterson, and Justin Kingery. Overall, 9 rookies have picked up their first point this season with Alexander Fendler, Adyn Merrick, and Tyler Bishop each getting their first point via an assist.
- Speaking of rookie scoring, three Jr. Blues newcomers sit in the Top 25 in rookie scoring. Nikora sits in 4th with 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points; Borgula is in 5th with 6 goals and 5 assists for 11 points; and Peterson is 25th with 4 goals and 3 assists.
- Our power play sits at 13.9% but we have also had the 2nd fewest opportunities in the league. The penalty kill unit sits at 71.8% and have gone 17/18 in our last five games.
The Jr. Blues are back at home this weekend as we host our longtime rival the Janesville Jets on Friday (7:05 pm) and Saturday (6:05 pm)! Tickets are available at tickets.jrblues.com and doors will open one hour prior to puck drop for both games.