Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues returned to Springfield and outscored our division rival Janesville Jets 10-3 in a weekend series sweep! After the dust settled on the weekend, we remained in 2nd place in the Midwest Division with a 17-8-0-1 record for 35 points.
Friday: SPR 4 – 0 JNE
Our weekend series opened up on Friday night as we welcomed the Jets to town for the first time in nearly two series, and our first look at the Jets since we opened the season in Janesville back in September. From the puck drop to the buzzer, the Jr. Blues controlled the pace of play and never let our friends from Wisconsin in the game.
Leo Bacallao added to his team lead in goals with a quick strike just 1:25 into the contest, beating Jets goaltender Owen Millward on an odd-man rush. Before we got to the intermission, however, Zach Bade picked up his 5th of the season on a beautiful back-door feed from Hagen Moe to give us a 2-0 cushion after 20.
Bacallao would pick up his second of the game and his 14th of the season on the Power Play in the 2nd period to make it 3-0 before Jonathan Panisa added an empty net tally in the 3rd to seal the 4-0 victory. Ethan Roberts picked up his 2nd shutout of the season by stopping all 36 shots sent his way, while Alex Rossides picked up his first assist of the season in the game. Connor Smith and Joey Dosan also picked up assists in the game as well.
Saturday: SPR 6 – 3 JNE
We headed into Saturday with our eyes set on a weekend sweep and Hagen Moe helped us get on the right foot with the first goal of the game on a tip in just outside the crease. After Janesville scored to tie things up, Carson Jones scored on the Power Play late in the 1st period to give us a 2-1 lead heading into the break.
Cole Schneider would strike on the Power Play in the 2nd period to increase our lead to 3-1, but Janesville wouldn’t go away. The Jets cut into our lead and made it 3-2 after things got a bit rough (Gordie Howe Hat Trick anyone?), but Will Magnuson brought the heat with a laser of a shot to make it 4-2 good guys before we headed to the 2nd intermission.
Janesville continued to battle in the 3rd period, making it 4-3 at one point and then heading to a man advantage with an opportunity to tie the game. But Tristan Shewchuk capitalized on his penalty shot, shorthanded, to extend our lead to 5-3 late in the 3rd period. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring, though, as Ethan Roberts was credited with his first junior hockey goal after the Jets made an errant pass that went into their own empty net after being last touched by Roberts to make it 6-3.
Roberts, in addition to his goal, stopped 47 of 50 shots en route to sweeping the Jets for the second time this season. Zach Bade, Jared Kaplowitz, Joey Dosan, Alex Rossides, James Callahan, Schneider, and Moe all had assists in the game as well.
By the Numbers:
- Ethan Roberts is having a good season so far. He has a 13-5-0-1 record with a 2.41 GAA, .926 SV%, with 2 shutouts and now 1 goal scored. The last Jr. Blues goalie to score a goal during a regular season or playoff game? Mike McKenna in 2000-01 – pretty good company to be in!
- Leo Bacallao is in the middle of a hot streak that has helped his totals rise to 14 goals and 11 assists in 23 games played. He has scored in 8 out of his last 10 games and has nearly double the amount of points he scored in 24 games (7 G, 6 A) with us during the 2019-20 season.
- The Jr. Blues special teams were once again at the center of the action this past weekend. The Power Play unit scored three times while we also added a goal on the Penalty Kill and two empty net tallys. Our PP unit is currently at 28.6%, best in the division and in the league, and our PK is at 82%, 3rd best in the division and 18th best in the league.
- The Jr. Blues have now won four straight against the Janesville Jets to start the 2021-22 season, the first time that we have opened up the season with four wins against our divisional foe. Overall, the Jr. Blues are in the midst of our best start to a season in franchise history, as we have picked up our 17th win faster than any other season (closest: 2010-11, December 11th).
This weekend the boys head up to Mason City, IA for our first matchup against the North Iowa Bulls, a new team to the NAHL this season. Friday and Saturday’s games both start at 7:30 pm CST and can be seen exclusively on HockeyTV. Make sure to select the Away Feed to hear our broadcast team call all of the action! And don’t forget to follow our social media pages to stay up-to-date on all things Jr. Blues throughout the week and on game days!