Tonight's game between the Janesville Jets and Springfield Jr. Blues went to a shootout. Many of the spectators saw a team quitting against Janesville's attack through part of the third, but I saw something different. Is it possible for a team to lose its fire for playing, but not quit and come back to tie a game? I'd have to say yes after watching tonight's game.The Jr. Blues kept the tempo from last night's game to start play. After an end-to-end drive started with a steal from Mike Williams and a pass to Gavin Tufte, a rebound off of Jets goalie Tony Kujava was caught by Ethan Nauman and he sank the goal. This put tje Jr. Blues up 1-0 over the Jets at 2:41. Lawrence Childs evened up the game at 7:17 with a quick shot. Adam Frank's tripping penalty at 17:28 gave the line of Chris Sitler, Kyle Cook and Josef Pontasch time to do their magic. Kyle Cook put the puck in at 18:17. The only thing that saved the Jets from another goal off of the Tufte-Nauman-Williams line was the buzzer. The first period ended with the Jr. Blues leading 2-1.
The second period saw much harder play from the Jets than the Jr. Blues expected. The Jets attacked relentlessly, with the Jr. Blues losing a lot of the territory they had in the first period. Finally at 11:32 the shooting opened up for Janesville as Connor McBride got an unassisted goal to tie the game. Garrett Cecere capitalized on Paul Byrne's hooking penalty to score the Jets' third goal at 17:44. The Jets had a 3-2 lead apparently sewn up, but a partial line change that put Kyle Cook together with Gavin Tufte and Ethan Nauman managed to score at 18:56. The second period ended in a 3-3 tie.
If the Jr. Blues were a dodgy gas furnace, the third period was when their pilot light went out. Somehow they managed to not completely collapse in the last half of the period. A soft goal by Conor Lemirande at 5:09 seemed to put the Jr. Blues out of sorts with a 4-3 lead, and a boarding call at 2:46 against Janesville also set Lemirande against Jr. Blues captain Stewart Bell. Lemirande and Bell threw down their gear and fought at 10:13, with Lemirande winning pretty handily. He managed to knock Bell off of his skates, but the captain kept throwing punches into Lemirande's face as he fell back. Lemirande had total control after the knockdown, so I can only give him the win in the fight. The Jr. Blues seemed to get a little bit of spirit back and defenseman Kevin Walters tied the game 4-4 with a fine shot from the blue line.
Overtime was pretty unspectacular as neither side scored, nor were there any particularly good scoring chances for either team. The shootout was also unspectacular for goals as Tyler Parks and Tony Kujava each stoned five shooters. The sixth shooters, Janesvilles Davis Dekorte and Springfield's Guan Wang, would be the last two. Dekorte managed to lift his puck at the last second to score a goal. Wang tried for Kujava's five-hole but he was denied like Springfield's first five shooters. So the Jets took a 5-4 win out of it and prevented a series sweep. Janesville improved its record to 13-4-1 and Springfield's record went to 8-11-1.
Defenseman Mike Parnell seemed to be a little out of it tonight for Springfield as he moved a little slower and tentatively made passes. He also didn't let go of the puck as soon as he should, allowing for a couple of steals and excess pressure. Janesville focused on him quite a bit, so that may have given them an edge tonight. Hopefully he'll get a chance to clear his head tonight and come back to being a more effective player in the Jr. Blues' defensive zone.
Tomorrow's game will be a Sunday afternoon matinee, with the puck dropping at 4pm. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for kids, seniors, and military personnel. Paid attendance tonight was 523.