Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues battled back after a Friday night loss to win in overtime on Saturday. Brandon Puricelli had two goals on Friday, Max Osborne had four assists overall, and Nick Techel scored five minutes into overtime on Saturday to send the series back to Springfield tied 1-1. Game three will be on Friday at 7:05 pm and game four will be on Saturday at 6:05 pm.
The 2019 Robertson Cup Playoffs started off rough for the Jr. Blues as the Magicians scored the first goal of the series less than two minutes in. They would add two more goals in the 2nd period and lead 3-0 halfway through the contest. Nikita Kozyrev broke up Minnesota’s shutout bid with two minutes left in the 2nd period on a scramble in front of Ethan Haider. After forty minutes of playoff action, the Jr. Blues trailed 3-1.
The 3rd period would be filled with chances for both sides as the realization of playoff implications began to loom. Minnesota scored early into the 3rd period to make it 4-1 and took a commanding lead before Brandon Puricelli would do his absolute best to bring the Jr. Blues even scoring twice in the final frame. Despite a hard fought contest and plenty of opportunities, the Magicians held on for a 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead.
As the Jr. Blues started game two on Saturday, the hope of two home playoff games began to shrink. The Magicians opened the scoring just over seven minutes in and led 1-0 at the intermission for the second consecutive game. This time, however, the Jr. Blues would come out hot in the 2nd period.
Ben Schmidling would tie the game up late in the 2nd period on a rebound in front of the net and Caden Villegas would bury a 2-on-1 feed just three minutes later to give the Jr. Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd intermission. Giovanni Carabelli extended the lead on a redirected shot from Blake Finley halfway through the period to make it a 3-1 contest. The Magicians would storm back with two goals of their own in less than three minutes to tie game 3-3 and force a sudden death overtime.
The overtime period was filled with fast-paced, back and forth action that saw both Jack Williams and Jack Robbel make timely and crucial saves. But 4:30 into the extra frame Nick Techel would score off a feed from Max Osborne and beat Robbel under the bar to give the Jr. Blues a 4-3 overtime victory and even the series, 1-1.
With the victory on Saturday, the Jr. Blues are now guaranteed two home games this weekend in Springfield, IL. Both games will be held at the Nelson Center with Friday’s game starting at 7:05 pm and Saturday’s game starting at 6:05 pm. Tickets are already available for purchase for Friday’s game, and tickets for Saturday’s game will be released shortly.
Jr. Blues Notes:
- Brandon Puricelli had three points on the weekend (2 G, 1 A) to extend his point streak to 16 games dating back to February 23rd against the Brown Bears.
- Nick Techel’s overtime goal gave the Jr. Blues their first playoff victory since the 2011-12 season.
- Max Osborne had 4 assists on the weekend and is currently tied for the 3rd most points in the playoffs so far.
- Jack Williams picked up the victory on Saturday night for his first NAHL playoff win.