Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), split their weekend series with the Chippewa Steel and in the process clinched a playoff berth in the 2021-22 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs! We head into our final weekend of the regular season with a 35-20-1-2 record for 73 points and sole possession of 2nd place in the Midwest Division.
Thursday: SPR 4 – 0 CHP
The boys headed up to Chippewa Falls, WI for their final regular season road trip on Thursday and started off the weekend on the right foot in our quest to clinch a playoff position. With Ethan Roberts in net, the boys never trailed and came away with a commanding 4-0 victory. But the game didn’t begin the way we wrote things up.
It took until halfway through the 2nd period and game for the Jr. Blues to get on the scoreboard and it would be none other than the Captain who got the fireworks started. Joey Dosan, scoring his first goal since returning from injury, beat the Steel netminder to give us a 1-0 lead before Hagen Moe increased his team lead in goals to make it 2-0 good guys.
Hadley Hudak, who joined the team in February via roster expansion, notched his first junior hockey goal late in the 2nd period to make it 3-0 Jr. Blues heading into the 3rd period. Roberts would shut down any hope of a comeback for the Steel and James Callahan sealed the victory with an empty net goal late in the game to make it 4-0.
Roberts turned aside all 28 shots in the win, his 18th of the season and 3rd shutout. Cole Dubicki had 2 assists while Noah Marino, Tristan Shewchuk, Will Magnuson, and Isaac Novak all had one helper.
Friday: SPR 3 – 6 CHP
The weekend started with the news that the Jr. Blues needed at least one point against the Steel on Friday or a Janesville Jets loss to punch our ticket to the Robertson Cup playoffs. Things didn’t go as planned.
Chippewa scored three unanswered goals in the 1st period to have a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the first break and would be trailing 4-0 by the time the Jr. Blues finally got onto the board. Connor Smith notched his 12th of the season to break his seven game scoreless drought, but it was too little too late as the Steel never relinquished their momentum.
Isaac Novak would add a goal late in the 2nd to make it 5-2 at the time, and Fisher Scott grabbed his 2nd of the season to finish things up, 6-3. The loss was handed to Ethan Roberts, his 12th of the year, as he surrendered four goals on 17 shots while Aksel Reid allowed two goals on 14 shots in relief.
Carson Jones had two assists while Hagen Moe and Andrew Schultz each had one in the game. However, the Janesville Jets lost to the Wilderness which in turn meant that the Jr. Blues clinched their playoff spot for the first time since 2018-19!
The NAHL’s Midwest Division has been exciting, if not anxiety inducing, all season long and as we head into the final week of hockey, it’s sure to finish with some fireworks. In 1st place sits the Fairbanks Ice Dogs with 77 points, the Jr. Blues are 2nd with 73 points, the Wilderness are in 3rd with 70 points, and the Wolverines are in 4th with 68 points. The Jets are just outside the playoff picture in 5th with 67 points while the Magicians (6th, 59 pts), the Steel (7th, 51 pts), and the Brown Bears (8th, 33 pts) have all been eliminated from postseason contention.
By the Numbers:
- Hagen Moe has been arguably one of the hottest players in the league since Christmas. In his last 27 games Moe has tallied 18 goals and 9 assists to average a point per game while also committing to play collegiate hockey for Bowling Green University. He is one of six Jr. Blues players to have committed to a Division 1 program this season.
- With his multiple point weekend, Cole Dubicki picked up his 70th point of the season to become the second Jr. Blues player to eclipse that mark in the last three seasons (Brandon Puricelli, 80 pts, 2018-19). Overall the Jr. Blues have nine players with 20 or more points and three more players with 19 points.
- Our goaltenders have been the backbone of our team since the first day of camp. Ethan Roberts has an 18-12-0-1 record with a 2.72 GAA, .916 SV%, and 3 shutouts in 34 appearances while Aksel Reid has a 13-5-1-1 record with a 2.61 GAA and .921 SV%. Roberts committed to the University of St. Thomas in February while Reid had a streak of seven consecutive wins between December and January.
- The Jr. Blues are one of four teams with at least 20 home wins on the season (Lone Star, New Jersey, New Mexico – 20; St. Cloud – 21). Overall we have a 20-7-0-1 record in games at home while we have a 15-13-1-1 record on the road.
We finish up our regular season this Friday and Saturday at The Nelson Center against our longtime rivals the Janesville Jets! Friday’s game begins at 7:05 pm with doors opening at 6, make sure to arrive early to enjoy our final Pregame Happy Hour of the regular season! On Saturday our game starts at 6:05 pm with doors opening at 5. Tickets are available online at tickets.jrblues.com – save some time (and money) and skip the line on game night!