Tag Archives: Caden Villegas

Jr. Blues Split in Minnesota, Will Host Two Games in Springfield

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.

Jr. Blues, Jets Split Series to Finish Regular Season

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their final regular season games against the Janesville Jets this past weekend. On Friday the Jr. Blues fell to the Jets 4-2, but bounced back with a big 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday night. The Jr. Blues finished the 2018-19 NAHL season with a 33-22-4-1 record for 71 points and a 3rd place finish in the Midwest Division.

Friday’s game had major implications in the divisional standings. If the Jr. Blues won both games over the weekend against the Jets and the Minnesota Magicians lost both of their games against the Chippewa Steel, then the Jr. Blues would finish in 2nd place and earn home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Jets, however, would have different plans as to how the weekend would go.

The Jets opened up the scoring early in Friday’s contest and took a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission. Caden Villegas would score his 9th goal of the season to open the 2nd period and tie the game up momentarily. Janesville would add two more goals in the 2nd period to take a 3-1 lead into the 2nd intermission. A 3rd period strike from defenseman Sam Sterne cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Jets would regain their two goal lead and never look back. With the 4-2 loss, the Jr. Blues sealed their 3rd place finish. Jack Williams picked up the loss in the contest, stopping 17 of 20 shots. Henry Graham made his debut in relief of Williams and stopped 11 of 12.

With the playoffs set in stone, Saturday’s contest became a game of pride and bragging rights as we honored our 12 senior players before the game. Ryan Murray, Sam Sterne, Cade Groton, Nikita Kozyrev, Nigel Nelson, Brendan Aird, Braden Stewart, Ben and David Schmidling, Max Brainin, Brandon Puricelli, and Nick Techel all suited up for their final junior hockey games of their careers. After this season, many of them will continue their play at NCAA Division 1 or Division 3 schools, while others will turn to the ACHA to continue their careers.

With emotions high, the Jets once again struck first to take a 1-0 lead early. But the Jr. Blues would not let this game get away from them. Caden Villegas scored his 2nd goal in as many games and his 10th of the season to tie the game 1-1. Ben Schmidling would prove that his timing is impeccable as he gave the Jr. Blues their first lead of the weekend with 0.1 seconds left in the opening period. At the intermission the Jr. Blues led 2-1 and had the momentum squarely in their corner.

Nick Techel would contribute a goal early in the 2nd period to increase the lead to 3-1 and seemingly put the game away for the Jr. Blues. But the Jets would battle back with a goal in the 2nd and a goal in the 3rd to tie the game 3-3. 60 minutes would prove to not be enough time to determine a winner, and the game would head to overtime. In overtime Graham would save the Jr. Blues from a penalty kill early in the extra frame, and Max Brainin would send the crowd home happy with his 20th goal of the season with less than :20 left in overtime for a 4-3 Jr. Blues win.

Henry Graham stopped 28 of 31 shots to earn his first NAHL victory on Saturday night while defenseman Kobe Pane made his Jr. Blues and NAHL debut as well. Both players are currently signed to tenders for the 2019-20 season.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • The Jr. Blues will face off against the Minnesota Magicians in the 1st round of the playoffs. Games 1 and 2 will be in Minnesota on April 12th and 13th, while Games 3 and 4 will be in Springfield on April 19th and 20th. Game 5 would be back in Minnesota on April 21st. Games 4 and 5 are both if necessary.
  • Brandon Puricelli finished the 2018-19 season with 30 goals and 50 assists for 80 points. He set the Jr. Blues record for assists in a season and ranks 2nd in points in a season. Puricelli finished the season on a 14 game point streak and finished 4th in points in the NAHL.
  • With his overtime goal, Max Brainin reached the 20 goal plateau for the first time in his career. The goal also gave the Jr. Blues four 20+ goal scorers this season after having none last season.
  • Brendan Aird had 4 assists on Saturday night giving him 11 points overall in his time with Springfield (22 GP; 1 G, 10 A).
  • Ben Schmidling finished up his 2018-19 campaign with 1 goal and 2 assists on the weekend to bump his total points on the season to 68 (37 goals, 31 assists). Ben finished 3rd in the NAHL in goals and is currently on a 10 game point streak.

Schmidling Leads Jr. Blues to Split with Steel

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their weekend series with Chippewa Steel with a heartbreaking overtime loss on Friday, and a 3rd period come from behind victory on Saturday. After 56 regular season games the Jr. Blues sit in 3rd place in the Midwest Division with a 30-21-4-1 record for 65 points. 

Friday could not have started out better for the Jr. Blues as Caden Villegas, Nigel Nelson, Nikita Kozyrev, and Max Brainin all scored in the 1st period to lead 4-0 at the intermission. The next five goals of the game, however, would all be from the Steel. Despite leading 4-2 with less than five minutes to play in the 3rd period, Springfield allowed Chippewa to score twice in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime.

From there the Steel capitalized on a missed opportunity by the Jr. Blues and scored just past the halfway mark of the extra frame to win 5-4. Jack Williams made 23 stops in the loss which is his second overtime loss of the season.

Saturday began with trepidation as the Steel outshot the Jr. Blues 13-7 in the opening period. Max Brainin would briefly give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead just past the halfway point of the 2nd period, but the Steel would answer to tie the game 1-1 heading into the break. The Steel would then take the lead on a goal 1:26 into the 3rd period and controlled the pace of the game for the next 10 minutes. But Ben Schmidling would answer for the Jr. Blues, and in a big way.

Schmidling would tie the game up 2-2 on the power play just over eight minutes into the 3rd period, and would strike again with less than five minutes to play to give the Jr. Blues the 3-2 edge. Janis Voris would seal the deal the rest of the way to earn his 8th win of the season.

Springfield and Chippewa will face off against each other for the final time this weekend in Springfield, it will be the 7th and 8th consecutive games between the two teams. Friday’s contest starts at 7:05 pm and Saturday’s contest begins at 6:05 pm.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • The loss on Friday was the first loss this season for the Jr. Blues after they were leading heading into the 3rd period. Their record is now 23-0-1-0 when leading after 2 periods.
  • Ben Schmidling now has 32 goals this season, which ranks 3rd in the NAHL behind Carson Briere (41) and Logan Jenuwine (54).
  • With his 4 assists on the weekend, Brandon Puricelli now has 72 points this season. He sits in 6th in goals (27), 4th in assists (45), and 5th in points (72).
  • The Jr. Blues have seen 3 players eclipse the 100 point mark for their NAHL careers this season (Puricelli, Schmidling, Kozyrev), and are poised to accept a 4th player to that club: Max Brainin. Currently, Brainin has 97 career points in 122 games split between the Jr. Blues and the Northeast Generals.
  • Nick Techel’s younger brother, Samuel, dressed for both games this past weekend and recorded no points and finished with a +1 rating.
  • With the Minnesota Magicians sweep of the Janesville Jets, the Jr. Blues sit comfortably in 3rd place five points behind Minnesota and six points ahead of Janesville.
  • The Jr. Blues are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games, the 2nd best record in the division in that span (Fairbanks: 8-2-0-0).

Kucera, Williams Lead Jr. Blues Past Jets, 3-0

Janesville, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues defeated the Janesville Jets 3-0 on Friday night to move into a tie for 3rd place in the Midwest Division with the Jets. Lukas Kucera had a goal and an assist, while Jack Williams turned aside all 19 shots that he faced to pick up his 15th win of the season.

Kucera, who joined the team last week, scored the opening goal late in the 1st period to give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead heading into the 1st intermission assisted by David Schmidling and Caden Villegas. Max Osborne would extend the lead to 2-0 on a power play strike late in the 2nd period on a redirection from Brandon Puricelli. Max Brainin added an assist on the goal as well. Caden Villegas added an insurance goal early in the 3rd period to make it 3-0 assisted by D. Schmidling and Kucera.

That would be more than enough offense as Williams earned his 3rd shutout of the season and his second consecutive start with a shutout. Williams now sits with a 15-10-0-1-1 record with a 2.70 GAA and a .902 save percentage on the campaign.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • Lukas Kucera, who had been incorrectly listed as Darren Johnson on the score sheet, now has a point in each game with the Jr. Blues
  • Caden Villegas had a goal and an assist to push his season point total to 12.
  • Max Osborne’s goal was his 6th of the season and his first point since 1/25, also against the Jets.
  • David Schmidling played his first game since 11/24 (against the Jets) and recorded two assists in the game. He now has 1 goal and 10 assists in 16 games played this season.
  • Max Brainin had an assist on Osborne’s goal, he now has 26 on the season and is one point from tying his career high in points (40).
  • Brandon Puricelli notched his 100th point as a member of the Jr. Blues with his 27th assist of the season. He now has 48 points this season.

Groton, Nelson Lead Jr. Blues Past Magicians, 4-1

Richfield, Minnesota – The Springfield Jr. Blues began their weekend series against the Minnesota Magicians with a 4-1 victory on Thursday night. Cade Groton and Nigel Nelson each had a goal and an assist in the victory, while Janis Voris stopped 25 of 26 shots to earn his 5th win of the season.

Springfield opened the scoring 2:31 into the game on the captain Groton’s 2nd goal of the season to give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead over division leading Minnesota. The home team would strike on the power play a little more than five minutes later to knot the game up 1-1 heading into the 1st intermission.

From there it would be all Springfield as the Jr. Blues struck gold three times in the 2nd period. Caden Villegas tallied his 5th of the season, and his first since committing to Union College this week, to give the boys in blue a 2-1 lead. Ben Schmidling and Nelson would then score less than 30 seconds apart to give the Jr. Blues a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.

Despite quality scoring chances for both teams in the 3rd period the final score would be 4-1. New faces in Lukas Kuchera and Philip Mass each tallied an assist in their first games wearing the shield. Aaron Swanson had two assists in the victory, Giovanni Carabelli had one assist, and Brandon Puricelli extended his point streak to nine games with an assist.

With the victory the Jr. Blues have now won three in a row against the Magicians and seven of their last ten overall. Springfield’s record is now 21-16-3-1 for 46 points and are tied with the Janesville Jets for 3rd place in the Midwest Division.

A rematch between the two teams is set for tonight at 7:15 pm CST at Richfield Ice Arena in Richfield, MN. Catch all of the action live on HockeyTV, and make sure to follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest news and updates.

Villegas Commits to Union College

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that rookie forward Caden Villegas has committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Union College for the 2021-22 season.

The 5’8”/176 lbs. native of Plano, TX is in his first season in the NAHL and has scored 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 games for the Jr. Blues. Additionally, Villegas notched 1 assist in 6 games while being called up by the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the USHL. Last season Villegas tallied 25 points in 26 games for the Dallas Stars U16 team.

“Caden is a phenomenal young athlete with a strong work ethic,” says Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette. “He is an exemplary student athlete both on and off the ice and will be an effective player at the next level.”

Union College is located in Schenectady, New York and they play in the ECAC hockey conference. The Dutchmen are coached by Rick Bennett and have a history of cultivating professional caliber players, most notably defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and goaltender Keith Kinkaid.

Jr. Blues Sweep Minnesota

Springfield, Illinois – The new year brought new excitement at the Nelson Center as the Springfield Jr. Blues took four points from the Minnesota Magicians to move into 4th place in the Midwest Division. The Jr. Blues record sits at 14-14-2-1 for a total of 31 points, three points ahead of Kenai River.

Friday, January 4th: Jr. Blues 3 – 2 Minnesota

The Jr. Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead over 1st place Minnesota on Friday night thanks to goals from Caden Villegas, Nikita Kozyrev, and Ben Schmidling. Minnesota scored twice late in the 2nd period to make the game interesting, but Jack Williams would shut the door in the 3rd period to earn his 10th win of the season. Aaron Swanson had two assists in the contest and Villegas had a goal and an assist to pace the team offensively.

Saturday, January 5th: Jr. Blues 2 – 1 Minnesota (OT)

In front of a raucous crowd at the Nelson Center, the Jr. Blues came from behind in the 3rd period to complete the weekend sweep. Max Osborne scored four minutes into the 3rd period to tie the game up, and he would get an assist on Nikita Kozyrev’s overtime game winning goal just 1:51 into the extra frame. Janis Voris, making his Jr. Blues debut in net, stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn his first victory. Osborne and Kozyrev each finished with two points, and Aaron Swanson and Brandon Puricelli each had one assist.

Next Up:

The Jr. Blues will be heading to Alaska on Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs this weekend. It’s the third series between the two teams this season with Springfield holding a 3-1 advantage through four games. After a two game set in Fairbanks, the Jr. Blues will stay in Alaska for a three game series in Kenai against the Brown Bears. Through four games played against each other, each team has two victories. The boys will be back in town for a pair of games against the Janesville Jets on January 25th and 26th

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, player updates, and event information. The upcoming away games can be seen on HockeyTV, as there will be no viewing party due to the start of the games.

Jr. Blues and Pilots Split Final Series

Topeka, Kansas – The Springfield Jr. Blues ended the 2018 calendar year in Topeka, KS for their 4th and final series against the Pilots this season. It would prove to be a weekend filled with the unexpected, and would leave the Jr. Blues in the 4th and final playoff spot with a 12-14-2-1 record.

Friday December 21st: Jr. Blues 5 – Pilots 2

Friday proved to follow the trend of road teams winning in this season’s series as the Jr. Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period and never looked back. Nick Techel scored his 8th goal of the season to open the offense for the Jr. Blues and just three minutes later Ben Schmidling would continue his solid play of late with his 12th goal.

Despite a 2nd period tally by the Pilots, the Jr. Blues would score three 3rd period goals to ground the Pilots 5-2. Caden Villegas, who just recently returned from a call up to the USHL’s Central Illinois Flying Aces, scored his 3rd of the season 1:36 into the final frame. Brandon Puricelli would add his 19th goal with just under five minutes left in regulation, and Aaron Swanson would score his first goal with Springfield to seal the deal.

Jack Williams made 24 saves in his 9th win of the season and third win against Topeka. In addition to his goal, Ben Schmidling added two assists and Max Brainin had three assists in Springfield’s most dominant performance since November 17th against Topeka.

Saturday December 22nd: Jr. Blues 0 – Pilots 7

Saturday showed that the NAHL has enough parody to shock everyone. After a dominant performance on Friday, the Jr. Blues came out looking for the sweep of Topeka and two much needed points. But McLean Dorr and the Pilots would have very different ideas.

Topeka opened up the scoring 2:45 into the game and would add a second momentum changing goal just :20 later to lead 2-0 three minutes into the 1st period. From there, five different Topeka players would score on both Williams and backup Caleb Hannon to shutout the Jr. Blues 7-0. It’s the first time this season that Springfield has been held off the score sheet, and the third game against Topeka that has seen one of the teams left without any goals (October 6th and November 17th).

Williams took the loss in the game, his 9th of the season, while stopping 8 shots. Hannon, who took over in the 1st period and played all of the 2nd period, made 9 saves.

By the Numbers:

  • After 8 games played against each other, Springfield and Topeka each have 4 wins. Each Friday game was won by the road team, and each Saturday game was won by the home team.
  • While Friday’s proved to be closer, hard fought games, Saturday’s showed to be a chance for the home team to flex their offensive muscles. Despite more goal being scored during the opening games than the second games (26 on FRI and 24 on SAT), the home teams outscored the visitors on Saturday’s 22-2.
  • Brandon Puricelli scored his 19th goal and added his 12th assist during Friday night’s contest for a total of 31 points on the season. In 28 games played this season Puricelli  has already eclipsed his point total from last year (24 in 27 games).
  • Max Brainin had three assists on Friday and has 18 assists and 28 points overall on the season.
  • Ben Schmidling had one goal and two assists on Friday and now has 27 points on the season.

Up Next:

The boys are off for the Holidays, but will be home at the Nelson Center on January 4th and 5th to face off against the Minnesota Magicians. Make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and website for more information on upcoming events, player news, and more!

Weekend Recap: Janesville Jets

Janesville, WI – The Springfield Jr. Blues split the weekend series with the Janesville Jets and took two important points in what proved to be a physical, hard fought matchup. Springfield is now 5-5-1-1 and remains in 5th place in the Midwest Division.

Friday’s game started out badly for Springfield as Janesville scored less than two minutes into the contest and would lead 2-0 before the period was over. But Springfield wasn’t down for the count. Caden Villegas (Plano, TX) would score his 1st goal in the NAHL and Giovanni Carabelli (Shelby Township, MI) would tie the game on his 4th goal of the season.

The game would head to overtime, but it wouldn’t take long for Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) to score his team leading 7th goal of the season to give the Jr. Blues the victory, 3-2. Caleb Hannon (Buffalo, NY) stopped 37 of 39 shots to claim his 3rd win of the season. Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO), Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL), Kyle Gudme (St. Clair, MI) and Shane Haviland (Wall, NJ) all had assists on the evening.

With confidence high from the previous nights come from behind win, the Jr. Blues headed into Saturday’s game looking to sweep the Jets on their home ice. But Janesville had other ideas on how the game would go. Another 1st period goal by the Jets put them in front, and they added goals in the 2nd and 3rd period to down the Jr. Blues 3-1. The lone Springfield goal came from Nick Techel (Wausau, WI), assisted by Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL) and Sam Sterne (Batavia, IL). Jack Williams stopped 21 of 24 shots and was handed his 3rd loss of the season.

Springfield is at home this weekend against the Minnesota Magicians for a big three game series. Thursday and Friday’s games start at 7:05 pm and Saturday’s game starts at 6:05 pm.

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