Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues and the Janesville Jets split their weekend series at the Nelson Center this past weekend. Friday saw an offensive outburst from the Jr. Blues while the Jets rebounded on Saturday to win decisively. After the weekend split the Jr. Blues remain in 4th place in the Midwest Division with a 6-7-2-1 record, just two points ahead of the Jets and the Minnesota Magicians.
The Jr. Blues came out swinging on Friday night, looking to continue the momentum they had gained after the previous weekend’s come-from-behind shootout victory. Caden Villegas opened the scoring with under five minutes to play in the 1st period to give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 advantage. Before the period was over, however, the Jets would strike twice to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
In the middle frame the Jr. Blues would take control as Cam Wuesthoff and Aaron Swanson each scored to give the good guys a 3-2 lead. Despite tying the game up early in the 3rd period, the Jets would be unable to keep up with the Jr. Blues as Swanson, Adisen Brueck, and Seamus Campbell each scored in the final frame. Ryan Wilson made the start for the Jr. Blues and recorded 28 saves in the 6-3 win, his 5th win of the season.
As the Jr. Blues looked for their first sweep of the season, the Jets had other ideas for Saturday’s game. The Jets opened the scoring with less than a minute to go in the 1st period, but Hunter Longhi answered for the Jr. Blues just :19 seconds later to send the game into the 1st intermission tied 1-1.
Late in the 2nd period the Jets retook the lead briefly before Longhi scored his second of the game to send the contest into the 3rd period tied 2-2. Unfortunately the 3rd period would belong to the Jets as they scored early on the power play and added two empty net goals late to come away with a 5-2 victory. Wilson made the start in net and stopped 33 shots but picked up his 4th loss in the contest.
Wuesthoff, Longhi, and Billy Simms each had two assists in Friday’s contest while Danila Larionovs and Jonathan Panisa each had one assist. On Saturday, Panisa, Villegas, Jackson Salt, and Jayden Jensen all had one assist.
Jr. Blues Notes:
A Good First Impression – Seamus Campbell was called up from the St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3HL) for this past weekend’s games. In his first taste of the NAHL, the St. Louis, MO native scored his first NAHL goal Friday. Billy Simms, who joined the team after being acquired from Lonestar Brahmas, had two assists on Friday night.
Welcome Back! – Aaron Swanson returned to the lineup and had two goals fresh off the IR on Friday night. Swanson is in his 3rd season in the NAHL and first full season in Springfield. Jonathan Panisa, who played for the Jr. Blues at the beginning of last year, picked up right where he left off as he recorded an assist in each game.
Experience is Valuable – With such a strong group of young players on this year’s team, it’s always important to have experienced veterans. Max Osborne is currently ranked 19th all time in games played for the Jr. Blues with 122, just one behind Ryan Roeder (99-02). If Osborne were to play in all of the remaining regular season games (44) he would finish his Jr. Blues career with 166 games played, which would be 2nd all time only to Trevor Stone (197). Other current players of note: Giovanni Carabelli – 108 GP, Jayden Jensen – 71 GP, Caden Villegas – 66 GP, and Aaron Swanson – 40 GP.
The Jr. Blues will shift their focus and attention to Alaska as we begin a two week trip on the road. This weekend the boys will face-off with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights before making the trip to the Kenai Peninsula for games against the Brown Bears on 11/14, 11/15, and 11/16. All games are on AKST which means that they will start at 10:00 pm or 10:30 pm CST. All games can be watched on HockeyTV.