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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.

Jr. Blues Sign Tender for 2019-20 Season

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud member of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that the first tender of the season will be used on goaltender Henry Graham. Graham is now tendered with the Jr. Blues for the 2019-20 season.

Graham has compiled a 1.47 GAA and a .947 save percentage while playing for Honey Baked U18 this season. He will finish out his high school career at Detroit Hockey Academy before coming to Springfield.

The 6’ 0”, 175 lbs right-handed goalie had this to say about being a tender for the Jr. Blues: “I am extremely excited to play for the Springfield Jr. Blues and Coach Rennette, and to contribute to the excellence of the Jr. Blues organization.”

“We are excited to welcome Henry,  he is a very quick and skilled goalie with great vision,” Coach Rennette said, “All of us here with the Jr. Blues look forward to seeing what Henry can bring to the team next season.”

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 Preview vs. Topeka Pilots

Springfield, Illinois- The Springfield Jr. Blues are headed west this weekend to take on the Topeka Pilots in a inter-divisional matchup. The Jr. Blues are currently in 4th place in the Midwest division with a 9-11-2-1 record.

Tale of the Tape:

Topeka Pilots: 12-10-1-1, 3rd in South Division

The Pilots have visited Springfield twice already this season, the two teams splitting the four games played. Topeka is led by forward Dallas Tulik (13 goals, 9 assists) and defenseman Max Finner (3 goals, 13 assists). Emil Gransoe has provided stability in net for the Pilots with 9 wins this season, two against the Jr. Blues.

There are a few familiar faces on the Topeka bench this season. Former Jr. Blues forwards Brendan Schultz, Kyler Yeo, and Kaiden Scott are all on the Pilots roster after playing in Springfield last season.

Springfield Jr. Blues: 9-11-2-1, T-4th in Midwest Division

The Jr. Blues were cooled off last weekend by the Janesville Jets. They had previously won four of six before being swept by their division rival. Springfield is led offensively by Brandon Puricelli (15 goals, 10 assists) who is 3rd in the league in goals, and Max Brainin (9 goals, 11 assists). Jack Williams has played well of late winning four of his last six starts, including November 17th against the Pilots.

The only Friday wins this season for Springfield have come on the road against Janesville in October and in Fairbanks earlier this month. They look to continue to be strong on the road this weekend in Topeka.

 

Catch all of the action live on HockeyTV, and make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for live in game updates and player news.

 

Springfield Jr. Blues Alumni Report #7

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have over 90 alumni playing in higher junior hockey leagues, college hockey, or professional hockey. Here is a recap of some of our alumni.

Nick Niedert (2002-03); Reading Royals, ECHL

Nick Niedert (Hudson, IA) played for the Jr. Blues in the early 2000’s and has since played for numerous teams in his 14-year professional career. While mainly backstopping teams in lower minor hockey leagues, Niedert has broken into the ECHL ranks in the past. But it was his performance on Saturday night that took the hockey world by surprise. Neidert, 36, stopped an ECHL high 38 shots to beat the Adirondack Thunder 2-1. It was Niedert’s first ECHL win in 1,032 days, and his 5th ECHL win overall.

Nicholas Belger (2013-14); Stony Brook University, ACHA

Nicholas Belger (Yorktown, NY) played in Springfield during the 2013-14 campaign and played 18 games in total for the Jr. Blues. Belger played two seasons at SUNY-Plattsburgh before transferring to Stony Brook University this season. In 14 games for the Seawolves Belger has 13 goals and 10 assists, which lead the team.

Devin Cooley (2016-17); University of Denver, NCAA

Devin Cooley (Los Gatos, CA) played for the Jr. Blues in the 2016-17 season posting a 3.05 GAA and a .909 save percentage in 10 games played. Cooley split that season in Wenatchee of the BCHL before moving onto the University of Denver in the NCAA. Now in his second season with the Pioneers, Cooley has put up outstanding numbers. In 11 games Cooley has a 2.08 GAA and a .933 save percentage for #7 Denver. Of goalies who have played at least 500 minutes so far this season, Cooley has the 7th best GAA and 11th best save percentage.

Puricelli, Panisa Earn Bauer Hockey Weekly Awards

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) and Jonathan Panisa (Irvine, CA) have been given weekly honors by the league.

Brandon Puricelli earned the Midwest Division 2nd Star of the Week after his performance on Saturday night. Puricelli scored two goals and added two assists for a four point performance against the Topeka Pilots. He now has 14 goals on the season which is tied for the most in the NAHL. The game was Puricelli’s fifth multipoint game of the season and his second in a row.

Jonathan Panisa was named an Honorable Mention for his four point performance this past weekend. On Friday night Panisa scored the lone goal for Springfield, his third of the season and his first since October 5th against Topeka. During Saturday’s shutout over Topeka, Panisa assisted on three goals and his first multipoint game of the season.

Congratulations to both young men for their outstanding performances over the weekend! The Jr. Blues will host the Janesville Jets this weekend. Celebrate the holidays with your favorite hockey team only at the Nelson Center!

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. 

Springfield Jr. Blues Alumni Report #6

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have over 90 alumni playing in higher junior hockey leagues, college hockey, or professional hockey. Here is a recap of some of our alumni.

Kevin Klima (2014-15) Norfolk Admirals, ECHL

Kevin Klima (Tampa, FL) played 21 games for the Springfield Jr. Blues during the 2014-15 season and went on to play three seasons in the QMJHL. In September, Klima scored his first professional goal during the NHL preseason for the Arizona Coyotes. He is currently playing for the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) where he has 3 assists in 6 games. His brother, Kelly, is also on the Admirals roster.

Sam Craggs (2015-16) Bowling Green State University, NCAA

Sam Craggs (Elmhurst, IL) is currently playing for Bowling Green State University in the NCAA. In his second season at BGSU, Craggs has 2 goals and 2 assists in 11 games played. After playing for Springfield during the 2015-16 season, Craggs played in the USHL for Youngstown and Waterloo before attending BGSU.

Max Kalter (2013-14; 2014-15) University of Connecticut, NCAA

Max Kalter (Highland Park, IL) is in his senior season at the University of Connecticut and is an Assistant Captain. Kalter was also an Assistant Captain for the Jr. Blues during the 2013-14 season before playing in the USHL for the Sioux City Musketeers in 2014-15. Through 9 games this season, Kalter has 2 goals and 1 assist.

Williams, Brainin Receive Weekly Honors

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud member of the North American Hockey League, are pleased to announce that goaltender Jack Williams and forward Max Brainin have received Weekly Honors for their play over the weekend. 

Jack Williams (St. Louis, MO) received the 2nd Star of the Week for the Midwest Division after going 2-0 against the Ice Dogs over the weekend. Williams stopped 46 of 49 shots between the two games, including stopping 3 of 4 in the shootout Saturday. Williams now has 5 wins on the season and has won 3 consecutive starts. 

Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL) was named an Honorable Mention for the Midwest Division. Brainin scored in both Friday and Saturday’s games and added 2 assists on Friday for a 4 point weekend. Through 19 games this season he has 8 goals and 10 assists and is a +10 overall. 

Make sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for player news, game updates, and event information.

Springfield Jr. Blues Alumni Report #5

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have over 90 alumni playing in higher junior hockey leagues, college hockey, or professional hockey. Here is a recap of some of our alumni.

Trevor Stone (2012-2016) – Air Force Academy, NCAA

Trevor Stone (Pleasant Plains, IL) is currently in his third season at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. During Stone’s time with the Jr. Blues he tallied 33 goals and 65 assists in parts of four seasons. Through eight games with Air Force this season he has three goals which is good for second best on the team.

Patrick Curry (2013-14) – Boston University, NCAA

Patrick Curry (Schaumburg, IL) is attending Boston University and is playing in his third season with the men’s hockey team. After playing in 25 games for Springfield, Curry spent the rest of the 2013-14 season in the USHL for the Tri-City Storm. He played two more years in the USHL before heading to Boston. In six games this season Curry has three goals and one assist and is a +1.

Josh Lammon (2013-14; 2014-15) – Mercyhurst University, NCAA

Josh Lammon (Jackson, MI) played two seasons in Springfield before leaving to attend Mercyhurst University.  Now in his fourth season at Mercyhurst, Lammon is the Captain of the team and has two goals and five assists in nine games. Last weekend against RIT Lammon had four assists including three in Friday’s game.