Fairbanks, Alaska – The Springfield Jr. Blues are back in Alaska for a two week trip that’ll see the team visit both the Fairbanks and Kenai River. The boys will play five games in nine days on this trip and the action starts tonight at the Big Dipper against the Ice Dogs!
The Jr. Blues have been able to keep pace and avoid losing ground the last couple of weeks due in large part to the incredible goaltending of Ethan Roberts. Roberts has appeared in 15 games for the Jr. Blues and sports a 8-4-0-1 record with a 2.30 GAA, .923 SV%, and 1 SO. He leads the league in minutes played (835) and in appearances, while also being T-5th in wins and 7th in save percentage.
This past weekend the Jr. Blues were faced with a daunting task of rebounding after being shutout by the Steel and were able to claim 2 points thanks to timely scoring from Mason Hoehn, Noah Marino, and Hayden Riva. To date we have had 11 players record their first junior hockey goal with us this season, helping prove that it’s not just the veterans who have been providing a lift when we need it. It may have also helped that we had our largest crowd of the season as well!
The Ice Dogs (12-6-0-1, 25 pts) come into the weekend after dropping two of three to the Janesville Jets and, while unable to pull away from the pack, remain tied with the Jr. Blues at the top of the standings. Led between the pipes by Kayden Hargraves (9-1-0-1, 2.26 GAA, .922 SV%), the Ice Dogs feature several young forwards to look out for, namely Alexander Malinowski (9 G, 15 A) and Billy Renfrew (11 G, 6 A).
Both the Jr. Blues and Ice Dogs will look to take control in the Midwest Division by picking up as many points as possible this weekend. The MN Wilderness (11-5-1-0, 23 pts), Anchorage Wolverines (10-5-1-0, 21 pts), MN Magicians (9-6-2-0, 20 pts), and Chippewa Steel (10-10-0, 20 pts) are all within striking distance.
Behind the Note:
- The Jr. Blues are off to a HOT start this season. With our victory Saturday we improved our record to 12-6-0-1 for 25 points and set a franchise record for fewest number of games to 12 wins. The next fastest was in 2007-08 when the team picked up their 12th win on November 10th.
- Rookie forward Connor Smith committed to play for Union College this week. He joins Fisher Scott and Michael Valdez, both committed to Colorado College, as the three current Jr. Blues players committed to NCAA Division 1 programs. At Union, he will join Jr. Blues alums Fletcher Fineman, Caden Villegas, Joe Sharib, and Garrett Nietto.
- This weekend will once again be determined by how effective each team’s Power Play and Penalty Kill are. Currently the Ice Dogs have the best PP in the Division at 25.5% and the Jr. Blues are 3rd best at an even 25%. As far as PK goes, the Ice Dogs are 2nd with 85.4% and the Jr. Blues are 3rd at 85.3%. A quick note to think on – the Jr. Blues road power play is at 42.9% which is the best in the league!
- The Jr. Blues have gotten accustomed to being on the road and have excelled in opposing team’s barns. In 11 road games the Jr. Blues are 7-4-0 with a +10 goal differential while the Ice Dogs are 6-5-0 with a +8 goal differential in 11 home games.
This Weekend’s Games:
The action gets underway tonight at 10:30 pm CST (remember, Alaska) and can be watched exclusively on HockeyTV! We’ll conclude our weekend series tomorrow at 10:30 pm CST before we look to regroup for a quick turnaround with Kenai River. Make sure to follow our social media channels to keep up with all game and player information!