Hey, wow. Once again the Chicago Hitmen won 5-3 over the Springfield Jr. Blues. Once again the wheels fell off in the 3rd period. The difference is that now Springfield and Chicago have swapped places in the standings. Springfield is in last place.
The game started with such promise: We had a line brawl on the first face-off of the game. Team Captain Stuart Bell led the Jr. Blues into the fray at :03. Bell and Tyler Rehm were penalized for Roughing and Brandon Flood matched Bell. Flood was shortly sent back to the penalty box at 3:26 for a check from behind. Mike "The Internet Is For" Parnell capitalized on the power play at 3:45 for the Jr. Blues' first goal. Stuart Bell seemed to get out of the box just in time to... go back to the box at 5:12 for his second fight of the night. Brandon Flood went in for his third penalty of the night, an interference call. The Jr. Blues' Ruslan Pedan was sent off for kneeing at 11:37, allowing the Hitmen to capitalize with a power play goal by Mason Miller, originally given to Anthony Annunziato. The first period ended with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Flood lived up to his pest nature and went to the box again to feel shame less than one minute into the game with a high sticking penalty. Kyle Cook managed to score a slow roller through Nick Kohn's 5-hole at 1:54 to bring the Jr. Blues up 2-1. This lasted barely 30 seconds as the Hitmen answered the goal with one of their own at 2:29. Ethan Nauman fired off a nice shot at 5:32 to give the Jr. Blues the lead once more, and Chicago followed up with an elbowing major at 8:55 by Alec DeAngelo on Ruslan Pedan. Mike Williams defended his downed teammate by taking out his frustration on DeAngelo. The Hitmen were down a man with a 5 minute penalty, but managed to keep the Jr. Blues off-balance to kill the penalty. This PK was the momentum shifter of the game. The Jr. Blues slowed down and found themselves often flat-footed against the Chicago attack. The period ended with the Jr. Blues up 3-2 at the end of two.
Oddly enough, the third period did not feature a Brandon Flood penalty. Wonder of wonders! Sadly, it also did not feature any scoring by the now slower and more tenative Jr. Blues. Chicago scored three unanswered goals at 2:06 by Sean Reynolds, 13:19 by Brett Oldaker, and an empty-netter from David Gandara at 18:46. More than a few times did the Jr. Blues pass to where they thought a teammate might be, only to find him a few steps behind it allowing a Chicago player to intercept the puck. Springfield's players didn't fare well at all in the period, being unable to capitalize on any drives to the net.
Tonight's matchup was a disappointment. Springfield's players have to keep their energy levels high through to the 3rd period. They didn't. The fans didn't show as much spirit tonight, either, with a meager attendance of 360.
Tomorrow's game is the final in this series and will be once again at Nelson Center as an afternoon game at 4:00pm. Tickets will be $8 for adults, $5 for children, seniors, military personnel and students with valid ID. Tomorrow's promotion is also the Halloween party: children coming in costume will be admitted free. There will also be a fridge magnet/ trading card promotion for the team as well. If you find yourself in the Springfield area tomorrow afternoon, stop by! The Jr Blues might win.