Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues welcomed our longtime divisional rival the Janesville Jets to town this past weekend and skated away with a weekend split thanks to the outstanding performances of forwards Nikita Nikora and Cole Lonsdale. The Jr. Blues now have a 7-10-0-0 record for 14 points.
Friday: SPR 1 – 4 JNE
After three consecutive weekends on the road the boys returned to the Nelson Center for a pivotal two-game series with the Jets. Things started off on the right foot for the Jr. Blues as Nikita Nikora buried his 5th goal of the season in the 1st period to send us to the break leading 1-0.
The rest of the game, on the scoreboard at least, belonged to the visitors as they scored twice in the 2nd and twice in the 3rd to come away with the 4-1 victory. Despite the score, the Jr. Blues actually outshot the Jets 24-23 and both teams had power play goals.
Aksel Reid got the start for the Jr. Blues, finishing the night stopping 19 of 22 and picking up the loss. Tyler Borgula and Cole Lonsdale both had assists on the goal by Nikora.
Saturday: SPR 4 – 2 JNE
The Jr. Blues refused to give in, however, as they came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday evening. Maybe it was the large crowd or an adjustment from the coaches after Friday, but the boys started and finished strong against the Jets.
Cole Lonsdale got it started just past the halfway mark of the 1st period on a breakaway where he beat the Jets goaltender over the shoulder. Edvards Bergmanis would double our lead with his first junior hockey goal late in the frame to send us to the intermission up 2-0.
Nikora would score his second goal in as many nights on a rebound from the slot to give us a commanding 3-0 lead early in the 2nd period but the Jets wouldn’t go away. They would find the back of the net twice in the final ten minutes of the period to cut our lead to 3-2 heading into the 3rd period.
Borgula upped our lead to 4-2 late in the 3rd period when he found a bouncing puck at his own blueline and skated down the ice and rifled one into the top right corner to seal the victory.
Carson Dorfman got the nod in net and turned aside all but 2 shots to pick up his 4th win overall this season (3 with SPR, 1 with LOS). Drew Berres, Noah Marino, Jake Peterson, Hayden Riva, James Callahan, Isaac Keller, and Lonsdale all had an assist in the game.
By the Numbers:
- Tyler Borgula’s goal on Saturday gave him 7 for the season and snapped a 9-game goalless streak for the young man from Livonia, MI. He leads the team in goals and is second on the team with 13 points.
- Nikita Nikora now has 6 goals and 8 assists on the season for 14 points, tops on the Jr. Blues. He also has registered a point in 4 straight games and in 11 of 17 games overall.
- The Jr. Blues special teams numbers don’t look great right now (18th in PP 16.7%, 25th in PK 69.2%) but that can mainly be attributed to the fact that we’ve had the fewest power play opportunities (36) and have been shorthanded the fewest times (39) in the league.
Beyond the Shield:
The 1st Annual Springfield Challenge Cup Showcase Series took place this past weekend at The Nelson Center with teams representing both the 16U and 18U AAA Divisions. In the 16U division we saw the Palmyra Black Knights, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, Carshield AAA, and Madison Capitals teams battle it out with Carshield defeating the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 4-3 to take the crown.
In the 18U division we watched the Dallas Stars Elite, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, Carshield AAA, and Team Illinois compete over the course of two days. Carshield defeated Dallas 2-1 to take the crown and sweep the Showcase Series.
Thank you to all of the teams who joined us this weekend and we look forward to seeing you all back at The Nelson Center in the future!
The boys will head North – way North! – as we begin a two week trip to Alaska this weekend. We will first stop in Kenai River to play a three game series with the Brown Bears. The action gets underway late Friday night and runs through Sunday evening. Friday and Saturday’s games begin at 7:30 pm AKST (10:30 pm CST) and Sunday’s game begins at 5:00 pm AKST (8:00 pm CST). You can catch all of the action live on HockeyTV!