Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues opened up the 2023 portion of the schedule by hosting the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for a two game weekend series that unfortunately didn’t go our way. After the weekend our record sits at 13-17-0-0 for 26 points in the Midwest Division.
Friday: SPR 2 – 4 FAI
The Jr. Blues returned to action this past Friday after a two week break for the Holidays and looked to continue the momentum they had gained in December. The Ice Dogs came in on a three-game winning streak and a share of 1st place in the division.
The good guys opened the scoring at the 6:42 mark when veteran forward Hayden Riva buried a beautiful pass from Mac Gadowsky past the Fairbanks netminder for his 4th goal of the season to give us a 1-0 lead. From that point forward, however, it would be all Fairbanks.
The visiting team would score twice in the 1st period, once in the 2nd, and once in the 3rd to hold a 4-1 lead with less than a minute to play in regulation. Alexander Fendler would cut the deficit to two when he rushed wide on the Fairbanks defenseman and cut to the slot, sliding the puck just inside the post with :30 to play.
Carson Dorfman would be saddled with the loss despite turning aside 23 of 26 and several point blank shots from the Ice Dogs. Isaac Keller, James Callahan, Brayden Cook, and Gadowsky all had one assist.
Saturday: SPR 1 – 2 FAI
Looking to rebound from Friday’s loss, the Jr. Blues and Ice Dogs wrapped up the weekend series in front of a packed house at The Nelson Center. The visitors opened the scoring halfway through the opening period and never looked back.
An unlucky bounce off the glass helped Fairbanks double their lead in the 2nd period and it would take the Jr. Blues until the 18:10 mark of the 3rd period to break up Kayden Hargraves shutout bid.
Jake Peterson tallied his 6th goal of the year by smacking home a loose puck in the slot in a last ditch rush that gave the Jr. Blues one last chance to tie the game up. Fairbanks, however, would find just enough to clinch a 2-1 victory.
Aksel Reid turned aside 32 of 34 shots in net while Cole Lonsdale and Mac Gadowsky each had one assist.
By the Numbers:
- Noah Marino played in his 20th game of the season on Friday and increased his career appearances for the Jr. Blues to 128 – 16th most in franchise history. Marino’s first game was in the Spring of 2018 and he has totaled 9 goals, 18 assists, and 106 PIMs since that game.
- Alexander Fendler scored his first junior hockey goal on Friday night and now has 1 goal and 2 assists in 15 games played. He is the 8th player to score his first junior hockey goal this season and joins Tyler Borgula, Nikita Nikora, Jake Peterson, Adyn Merrick, Jagur McClelland, Scott Miner, and Justin Kingery*.
- Tyler Borgula is currently playing up in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Stampede and has scored 2 goals and 1 assist in 6 games so far. He joins Cole Lonsdale as the second Jr. Blues player to earn a call up to the USHL this season.
The Jr. Blues hit the road this weekend and travel up to Wisconsin for a two game series with our longtime rivals, the Janesville Jets. Friday and Saturday nights games both start at 7 pm and can be seen LIVE on HockeyTV. If you plan on traveling to the games, Friday’s game will be played at the Janesville Ice Arena as usual but Saturday’s game will be played at the Edwards Ice Arena in Beloit, WI.