Janesville, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues were unable to quiet the Janesville Jets over the weekend, only able to secure one of four possible points. With the loss on Friday and the shootout loss on Saturday, the Jr. Blues record now sits at 13-26-2-2 for 30 points. The Jr. Blues are in 6th place in the Midwest Division; four points behind the Magicians and seven points behind the Jets who control the final playoff spot.
Friday night saw the Jr. Blues visit Janesville for the first time this regular season, and unfortunately, it was all Jets. The Jets opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest before Jonathan Panisa found the back of the net to tie the game up late in the 1st period. However, two quick goals before the buzzer gave Janesville a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the break.
From there, the Jr. Blues had flashes of excellence, but Janesville maintained the pressure throughout the final 40 minutes to seal a big win for the Wisconsin club. Carson Jones and Hunter Longhi would each score in the 2nd period, but the Jets would add two of their own to lead 5-3 after two periods of play. Two more goals by the Jets in the 3rd period would give them a 7-3 lead, which would turn out to be the final score.
Ryan Wilson got the start in net, stopping 32 of 39 shots. Caden Villegas, Jeremy Gabriele, Longhi, Billy Simms, Adisen Brueck, and Jackson Salt all had one assist each in the game.
If Friday’s game was never in question, Saturday’s game was filled with doubt. Janesville got off to another hot start, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes of play to lead 2-0 in the intermission. The Jr. Blues would storm back in the middle frame by scoring four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead heading into the break.
Panisa got the scoring started just :45 into the 2nd period, before Giovanni Carabelli tied the contest up one minute later. Jones would score his 2nd of the weekend shorthanded to give the Jr. Blues the lead, and Jack Rhode would give them a cushion when he scored late in the 2nd period.
The Jr. Blues, however, would be unable to hold the lead. The Jets scored their third shorthanded goal of the weekend to cut the lead to 4-3, before tying the game up 4-4 on the power play. No scoring in overtime sent the game to a shootout where Janesville would get the only tally and win 5-4.
Wilson got the start in net and stopped 39 of 43. Salt had two assists, while Longhi, Jayden Jensen, Jones and Michael Spinner each had one assist.
Jr. Blues Notes:
Mr. Jones – Carson Jones is in his first junior hockey season this year after playing four years at Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota. Jones has appeared in 38 games this season and has 11 points to his name, but he has been particularly hot as of late. In his last four games, Jones has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) including a shorthanded goal on Saturday.
I Think We Have An Emergency – Goaltended Kason Yomada was called on to help out the Jr. Blues this weekend when backup netminder Joe Sharib went down with injury. The 5’11” 165 lbs. goalie who currently plays for the Peoria Mustangs in the NA3HL is the second Mustangs netminder to serve as an emergency backup for the Jr. Blues this season (Cole Walter). An emergency goaltender can only appear in a game when the starting goalie is injured, as such, neither Yomada nor Walter saw any action in their time with Springfield.
Next Man Up – The Jr. Blues welcomed center Ethan Heidepriem to the family this past weekend as the Findlay, OH native came over in a trade with the Maryland Black Bears. Heidepriem appeared in 40 games for the Black Bears and compiled 5 goals and 16 assists for 21 points, which would be good enough for fourth most on the Jr. Blues.
The Jr. Blues will continue their grueling road trip by visiting Shreveport, LA this weekend for a two game set with the Mudbugs. It will be the second time these two teams have played each other this season after they split a weekend series here in Springfield in early October. Next home games for the Jr. Blues will be February 21, 22, and 23 against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.