Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues and Minnesota Magicians played a hard fought series this past weekend at The Nelson Center and each team came away with two points. Caden Villegas and Ryan Wilson each had strong weekends, but after the loss on Saturday the Jr. Blues record fell to 11-23-2-1 for 25 points and they remain in 6th place in the Midwest Division.
Friday night saw the rain come to town but with the bad weather came an offensive breakout for the Jr. Blues as they scored in each period in a 5-1 rout. Jack Rhode opened the scoring halfway through the first period with his first goal since joining the Jr. Blues and his 4th goal this season overall. Carson Jones would score his 4th of the season just two minutes later and the good guys would lead 2-0 at the break.
Villegas would open the 2nd period with his 10th goal just under a minute in and Cole Schneider would score his 2nd goal of the year to make it 4-0 halfway through the 2nd period. MInnesota would get on the board late in the middle frame, but an empty net goal from Villegas in the 3rd would seal the victory.
Wilson, who stopped 29 of 30 shots, picked up his 8th win of the season as he made several phenomenal saves throughout the game. Jonathan Panisa and Aaron Swanson each had two assists, while Jeremy Gabriele, Hunter Longhi, Mason McCormick, Gino Carabelli, and Schneider each had one assist.
On Saturday the rain turned to snow and the brave fans who turned out for the game saw two division rivals battle all night long. The game remained scoreless through one period, and it was not until halfway through the 2nd period that the Magicians were able to get on the board. They would add a second tally late in the frame and held a commanding 2-0 lead entering the 3rd period.
Despite several grade A opportunities in the final period the Jr. Blues were unable to break the shutout of netminder Samuel Vyletelka, who just returned from playing in the World Junior Championships. The Magicians would add a third goal in the 3rd period and the final score would be 3-0. Wilson got the start in net and stopped 18 of 21 shots.
Jr. Blues Notes:
New in Town – Goaltender Joe Sharib joined the team for Friday and Saturday’s games after playing the first half of the season for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL. In 6 games played for the Storm, Sharib held a 2-2-0 record with a 3.27 GAA and .844 SV%. Welcome to Springfield, Joe!
Snapped – With the shutout on Saturday, Jonathan Panisa’s 5-game point streak was broken. In that stretch the Irvine, CA native had 1 goal and 6 assists and now has 17 points since joining the team at the beginning of November.
Best Fans in the NA – Mother nature was not on our side this past weekend as we saw rain, sleet, snow, and ice fall on central Illinois between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Nevertheless, the community came out to support the Jr. Blues anyway! We want to thank all fans who braved the weather to catch the games and we hope that everyone is safe and ready for more hockey this weekend!
The Jr. Blues will welcome the Chippewa Steel to Springfield for the first time this season. On Friday it will be 80’s Night with puck drop set for 7:05 pm, and Saturday will be Scheel’s Night with puck drop set for 6:05 pm. You can pick up tickets in advance by calling or stopping by our office between 9 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday.