Tag Archives: Sam Sterne

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.

Jr. Blues Split Series with Jets

Janesville, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues fell to the Janesville Jets 4-2 on Saturday night, slipping back down to 4th place in the Midwest Division. Nikita Kozyrev and Giovanni Carabelli each had a goal in the contest, the fourth consecutive weekend split for the team.

Janesville jumped out in front in the 1st period before a late tally by Kozyrev tied the game 1-1 heading into the 1st intermission. Carabelli scored just past the halfway point of the 2nd period to tie the game 2-2, but the Jets would quickly score two goals late in the period to lead 4-2 at the break.

Despite opportunities, the Jr. Blues were unable to make the comeback in the 3rd period. Jack Williams stopped 26 of 30 shots in the loss, while Cole Brady made 27 of 29 shots in the win. Nick Techel and Brandon Aird assisted on the Jr. Blues first goal, while Aaron Swanson and Sam Sterne assisted on the second goal.

In the Division:

In what was once an insurmountable lead has now dwindled to just two points for the Minnesota Magicians, as the Fairbanks Ice Dogs are within striking distance after a weekend sweep of the Magicians. The Jr. Blues, for their part, are now within 8 points of the division leaders, a huge step forward after sitting in 5th place and nearly 20 points back at the beginning of January. Although there are no more games left with Minnesota, Springfield plays Kenai River and Fairbanks at home the next two weekends before playing eight straight against the Chippewa Steel.

Jr. Blues Defeat Brown Bears 3-1

Soldotna, Alaska – The Springfield Jr. Blues defeated the Kenai River Brown Bears 3-1 on Friday night in the second game of a three game series. Ben Schmidling and Brandon Puricelli each had two assists and Janis Voris stopped 26 of 27 to earn his 3rd win.

Unlike their start on Thursday, Springfield started strong and never looked back. Sam Sterne scored his 2nd goal of the season 8:02 into the 1st period, and Nikita Kozyrev scored his 5th goal of the season just over a minute later to give the Jr. Blues a 2-0 lead. It would prove to be all the offense they would need to win their 3rd straight game.

Aaron Swanson scored an insurance goal with 6:31 left in the 2nd period to give the Jr. Blues a 3-0 lead and firm control of the game. The Brown Bears would break Voris’s shutout bid on Markus Komul’s power play goal in the 3rd period to cut the deficit to 3-1, but wouldn’t be able to mount any more offense.

Max Brainin tallied his 20th assist of the season on Kozyrev’s goal in the 1st period, he leads the team in that category. Nick Techel also had an assist in the game.

Game three is scheduled for this evening at 7:30 pm AKST (10:30 pm CST) and can be streamed live on HockeyTV!

Puricelli Nets 20th in 4-2 Win

Soldotna, Alaska – Brandon Puricelli’s 20th goal of the season helped propel the Jr. Blues to a 4-2 win on Thursday night. Nikita Kozyrev would tally a goal and two assists in the contest, and Jack Williams would stop 25 of 27 shots to earn his 11th victory of the season.

Things started off badly for the Jr. Blues as Brown Bears forward Zach Krajnik scored just :57 into the game to give the home team a 1-0 lead. The Jr. Blues would tally late in the period on Max Brainin’s 11th goal of the season to tie the game 1-1.

Kozyrev would score his 4th goal of the season just before the halfway mark of the 2nd period to give the Jr. Blues a 2-1 lead. The Brown Bears would answer back a little under three minutes later on a goal by JJ Boucher. That would be all the offense that Williams would allow, stopping all 9 shots in the 3rd period.

Nick Techel would score the game winning goal with 8:33 left in regulation, and Puricelli would net his 20th goal of the season less than a minute later and the Jr. Blues were in front 4-2 and that remained the final score. Sam Sterne added two assists of his own, while Ryan Reid, Aaron Swanson, Giovanni Carabelli, and Blake Finley each had one assist. The assist by Finley, on Techel’s game winning goal, is his first point in the NAHL.

A rematch is set for this evening at 10:30 pm AKST (7:30 pm CST). Tune into HockeyTV to catch all of the action live!

Springfield Splits Series with Topeka

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their weekend series against the Topeka Pilots and now have a 9-9-2-1 record. With 21 points the Jr. Blues are currently tied with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for 3rd in the Midwest Division. 

The Jr. Blues three game win streak came to an end on Friday at the hands of the Pilots, 2-1. Jonathan Panisa (Irvine, CA) scored the lone Springfield goal in the 1st period, but that would be the only offense Topeka goaltender Emil Gransoe would allow. Jack Williams (St. Louis, MO) stopped 18 of 20 shots in the loss, his 5th loss of the season.

With over 100 boy scouts and girl scouts in attendance, the Jr. Blues exploded offensively on Saturday night by a final score of 6-0. It would turn out to be a night of firsts for many Jr. Blues players as Nikita Kozyrev (Tallin, Estonia), Kyle Gudme (St. Clair, MI), and Sam Sterne (Batavia, IL) would all score their first goals of the season.

Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) would add two goals of his own and Ryan Reid (Phoenix, AZ) notched his third goal of the season. Panisa had three assists in the game, while Kozyrev and Sterne both had two. Williams stopped all 26 shots sent his way to earn his first shutout of the season and his 6th win.

The Jr. Blues will be at home this weekend to play the second place Janesville Jets at 7:05 pm on Friday night and 6:05 pm on Saturday night. The Jets are currently four points ahead of the Jr. Blues in the division but have played one more game. 

Weekend Preview: Minnesota Magicians

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are preparing for a weekend trip to Minnesota to take on the Magicians on Friday and Saturday. The two game set will be the first meeting of the year between the teams and the first of 10 games throughout the season.

Springfield Jr. Blues (4-3-1-0; 9 pts, 4th in Midwest)

Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO) leads the way offensively for the Jr. Blues with four goals and six assists through eight games. Rookie Ryan Reid (Phoenix, AZ) leads the defensive corps with two goals and four assists, while Sam Sterne (Batavia, IL) leads the team with a plus-7 rating. Caleb Hannon (Buffalo, NY) has been solid in between the pipes for Springfield as he is currently 2-0-1-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .956 save percentage.

Minnesota Magicians (5-3-0-0; 10 pts, 2nd in Midwest)

Minnesota has been led by an outstanding early performance from Ethan Haider who is 4-2-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and two shutouts on the season. Matthew Stanton, four goals and four assists, and John Keranen, five goals and one assist, lead the way offensively for the Magicians.

Catch the games live on HockeyTV Friday at 7:15 pm and Saturday at 7:00 pm. Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for player news, game updates, and event information.