Springfield, Illinois – The 2022 calendar year started off with a bang as the Springfield Jr. Blues defeated the Fairbanks Ice Dogs by scores of 5-1 and 7-3! With the two victories our record improves to 22-9-1-1 for 46 pts and we sit in 2nd place in the Midwest Division.
Friday: SPR 5 – 1 FAI
The Jr. Blues started early on Friday and never looked back as they opened the weekend series with a commanding 5-1 victory over the division leading Ice Dogs. Carson Jones got us started when he grabbed his 8th goal of the season on a redirect in front of the net to send us to the 1st intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Fairbanks increased pressure in the middle frame but Aksel Reid answered the call as he stopped all 11 shots he faced in the 2nd period. Hagen Moe would do his part to reward his netminder as he scored his 11th of the season late in the period to give us a 2-0 advantage heading into the 3rd.
For the second consecutive Friday game, Isaac Novak took control of the 3rd period and exploded offensively. He picked up his first of the evening and 7th of the season early in the 3rd to make it 3-0 and then added a Power Play strike just past the halfway point to make it 4-0. Fairbanks would break up Reid’s shutout bid to cut our lead to 4-1, but Novak would ice the game and pick up the Hat Trick with an empty net strike with less than a minute to play.
Reid stopped 25 of 26 Fairbanks shots on the evening to pick up his 3rd win since joining the team after Thanksgiving. Noah Marino and Carson Jones each had two assists in the contest while Connor Smith, Zach Bade, and Daniel Juzych each had one.
Saturday: SPR 7 – 3 FAI
Saturday, however, was a much different game and day here in Springfield. As bad weather set in across Central Illinois, Fairbanks came out firing looking to rebound from the loss on Friday. The Ice Dogs scored twice on 15 shots in the opening period to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission. They would score another goal early in the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead, but from there, it would be all Springfield.
Joey Dosan scored his 9th goal of the year to get us on the board and, before our PA announcer could finish announcing the goal, Tristan Shewchuk added his 3rd goal of the season to cut Fairbanks lead down to 3-2. After some rough stuff between the two divisional foes, the Jr. Blues put their foot on the gas pedal and showed why we have been one of the top teams all season long.
The Jr. Blues scored four goals in six minutes to open the 3rd period and left Fairbanks speechless. Connor Smith scored his 8th goal of the season just :23 into the period to tie the game and then Hagen Moe scored his 12th goal a minute and a half later to give us our first lead of the evening.
But the offense would only continue from there. Michael Valdez scored his 4th goal of the season and first shorthanded goal to make it 5-3 and then Moe tallied his second of the night and 13th of the season to make it 6-3. For good measure and to round out a phenomenal night, Zach Bade picked up his 8th goal of the year via the empty net to make it 7-3 and that would be the final score.
Aksel Reid stopped 34 of 37 to grab his 4th win and first sweep of the season. Bade finished with three assists on the night while Isaac Novak, Isaac Keller, Cole Schneider, Andrew Schultz, Carson Jones, Noah Marino, Smith, and Moe all had one assist.
By the Numbers:
- Zach Bade has had quite a hot streak since we returned from our Thanksgiving break. In his last 9 games he has scored 4 goals and 7 assists including a goal and 4 assists this past weekend against Fairbanks. On the season Zach has 8 goals and 9 assists in 32 games played. And speaking of being hot…
- Hagen Moe had 3 goals and an assist this weekend to increase his season totals to 13 goals and 8 assists in 25 games this season. Since November 19th in Kenai, Moe has scored 9 goals and added 5 assists as he now has the 6th most points on the team.
- Aksel Reid has now won 4 straight games since picking up for Ethan Roberts when he was injured. He is 4-0-1 since joining the team and has given up three of fewer goals in four of the five games.
- We are 8-1-1-0 in our last 10 games and are having one of our best seasons in our franchise history. We are one of three teams in the league with single digit regulation losses on the season (9) and currently have the second highest win percentage overall (.697).
We have our last off weekend of the regular season this week but we will be back in action next Friday and Saturday as we host the Chippewa Steel for an important two game series in the Midwest Division.