Springfield, Illinois – In a Thanksgiving weekend matchup that pitted two teams separated by just four points, the Jr. Blues were unable to top the Janesville Jets. Springfield now sits 9-11-2-1 and are tied for 4th place with the Kenai River Brown Bears in the Midwest Division.
Blue Friday: Jets 3 – Jr. Blues 2
On Blue Friday the Jr. Blues looked to continue their momentum having won four of their last six games, but the Jets had other ideas. Matthew Doyle scored his first goal of the season in the 1st period to give the Jets a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes into the second period Justin Engelkes would score to increase the Jets lead to 2-0, but Ryan Reid (Phoenix, AZ) would score just :27 later with assists to Cade Groton (Ashbury, VA) and Same Sterne (Batavia, IL). Heading into the 3rd period the Jets led the Jr. Blues 2-1.
An early 3rd period tally by Engelkes, his fourth of the season and second of the evening, would prove to be the game winner. A frantic rally by the Jr. Blues would draw them closer thanks to a goal from Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO) with three minutes left in the game. Nigel Nelson (Crystal Lake, IL) and Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) had the assists. Cole Brady, however, would not allow another goal and the Jets won 3-2. Jack Williams (St. Louis, MO) stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss, his sixth of the season.
Family Fun Night: Jets 3 – Jr. Blues 2
Family Fun Night on Saturday started off better for the Jr. Blues as Puricelli scored his 15th goal of the season nine minutes into the contest. Assists went to Nikita Kozyrev (Tallinn, Estonia) and Davis Browning (Dallas, TX) on the goal. The Jets would tie the game up just one minute later when Jack Vincent scored his 5th of the season. Heading into the 2nd period the game was all tied up, 1-1.
Vincent wasn’t done hurting the Jr. Blues, as he would add a second goal of the game in the 2nd period to give the Jets the lead, 2-1. However, just :43 later Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL) scored his 9th goal of the season assisted by Ryan Reid and Sam Sterne. With the game tied 2-2, the 3rd period would decide the winner. Sean Driscoll scored for the Jets 2:28 into the 3rd period to give the Jets the lead again and Cole Brady would do the rest of the work. Caleb Hannon (Buffalo, NY) stopped 21 of 24 shots in the 3-2 loss, his fourth of the season.
Numbers Don’t Lie
The Jr. Blues continued a troubling trend losing on Friday. They are now 3-7 on Friday night games, with all three wins happening away from the Nelson Center. While Friday’s have been difficult, playing at home has been equally difficult for the Jr. Blues. At 4-9 in home games the team has only won once at home since October 6th, and two of the four home wins have been out of the division against Topeka.
The Jr. Blues will head west for a inter-divisional matchup against the Topeka Pilots this weekend, the third meeting between the two clubs. Through four games this season so far, each team has won two games. The next home games for the Jr. Blues will be December 14th and 15th against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.