The Springfield Jr. Blues have once again gotten outplayed by their opponents on their home ice. Last night the Jr. Blues gave up a three-goal lead in the third as they were beaten by the Chicago Hitmen 6-4.
The first period opened and ended with no scoring. The Jr. Blues kept the puck in the Hitmen's zone for a majority of the period.
The second period brought hope for the 876 Jr. Blues fans who showed up as defenseman Cody Dixon opened up the scoring at 6:26. Shigenobu Kakudate answered with a Hitmen goal at 9:48 to tie the game. The team's main scoring line of Kyle Cook, Chris Sitler and Josef Pontasch took the lead again on a power play goal with Cook putting the puck in the net at 10:23. The second line of Ethan Nauman, Gavin Tufte and Dominic Valencia was not to be outdone by the first line, as Nauman scored twice for the Jr. Blues at 11:17 and 14:06. Alec DeAngelo was credited for a goal at 18:30 that saw all five Hitmen players crash the net.
The third period saw the Hitmen take charge of the game completely. The Jr. Blues were stymied by Chicago's new-found defense, and they couldn't keep up with Chicago's scoring. Alex Murphy opened up the gates for the Hitmen at 2:03 with his only goal of the night. He would be the first star of the game with one goal and four assists. Zach Mudge potted his first goal of the night at 5:26, tying the game 4-4. The Jr. Blues managed to keep the puck in the Chicago's zone again, but the Hitmen would take the lead at 18:51 with a goal by David Gandara. Jr. Blues goalie Conor Girard was was pulled shortly after that goal, allowing Zach Mudge to fire a chip-shot into the empty net and secure the lead at 19:52.
The Jr. Blues showed way more life than last week's 4-0 loss to St. Louis, which is the best sign of improvement. Springfield's record falls to 10-15-1 and Chicago's rises to 6-18-1 for fourth and fifth place in the Midwest division, respectively.
The next game for the Jr. Blues is December 10 at 7pm. It will follow the 3rd annual Guns & Hoses charity hockey match at 4pm. It may actually get a little crowded there if last year's event was any indication.