Topeka, Kansas – The Springfield Jr. Blues headed into Topeka to face the Pilots looking to rebound from a sweep at the hands of the Chippewa Steel the weekend prior, but instead extended the losing streak to four with a pair of losses. With the weekend sweep the Jr. Blues record falls to 8-17-2-1 for 19 points and remain in 5th place in the Midwest Division.
Friday night started out bad for the Jr. Blues and they were never really able to recover the rest of the way. The Pilots scored less than two minutes into the contest to take an early 1-0 lead before Leo Bacallao found the back of the net to tie the game six minutes later. Topeka would reclaim their lead just a few minutes later and then added an insurance marker with seconds remaining in the period to lead 3-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Topeka would then score twice within the first five minutes of the 2nd period to open up a 5-1 lead and that would prove to be all that they needed. Caden Villegas scored late in the 2nd period to cut the deficit to 5-2, and Jonathan Panisa would score early in the 3rd to make it 5-3. No more offense would come out of either team the remainder of the game and that would be the final score. Alex Proctor got the start, but was replaced by Ryan Wilson who would end up getting the loss.
Saturday night was, to say the least, a roller coaster ride of emotions both for fans, players, and coaches alike. Despite the fact that Topeka took another early lead to start the game, the Jr. Blues would answer twice late in the 1st period to take a 2-1 lead into the break. Adisen Brueck and Bacallao would get credit for the goals respectively.
The 2nd period started off in the right direction as Jayden Jensen scored his first goal of the season to increase the Jr. Blues lead to 3-1. However, Topeka would respond with two goals the rest of the way to tie the game up 3-3 heading into the intermission. From there, things went off the rails. After a slew of penalties, the Pilots would score three unanswered goals to win decisively, 6-3.
Jr. Blues Notes:
First Things First – Leo Bacallao, who was acquired from the Janesville Jets just before Thanksgiving, tallied two goals and an assist over the weekend for his first points as part of the Jr. Blues. Jayden Jensen scored his first goal of the season and second career goal as well for the Jr. Blues. Mason McCormick, acquired from Austin, tallied his first assist with the team.
A Little Rough Stuff – The Jr. Blues and Pilots combined for 150 penalty minutes in the two games with 110 of those minutes coming on Friday. Topeka leads the league with 589 penalty minutes while the Jr. Blues are 10th with 469 PIMs. Topeka has been shorthanded the most this season, while they also have the second most opportunities on the power play.
National Team Play – Danila Larionovs, who is currently second on the team in goals, assists, and points, will be away from the Jr. Blues for the time being as he plays for the Latvian junior national team during the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Belarus. Good luck Danila, Springfield is cheering you on!
The Jr. Blues welcome the Kenai River Brown Bears to town this weekend for a three-game series beginning on Thursday. Both Thursday and Friday’s games will start at 7:05 pm, while Saturday’s game will begin at 6:05 pm. Saturday will be our Ugly Christmas Sweater and Teddy Bear Toss Night with a special post-game party at Cooper’s Alleyside afterwards. Call or stop by our office to get your tickets today!