"A good time was had by all" is a frighteningly cliched statement. Last night, it was true for the Springfield Jr. Blues fans who showed up to watch the home team face the St. Louis Bandits. The series between the two teams hasn't been much of a rivalry, but a rivalry is indeed there. The two teams are only a little more than 100 miles apart from each other, compared to the 200+ miles to the other teams in the Midwest Division. In the 2010-2011 season, St. Louis handily beat the Jr. Blues in all but two games. This season, the current record vs. St. Louis for Springfield is at 3 wins, 6 losses with three games left to play.
With that said, let's jump into the game reviews:
Next is the recap from the voice of the Jr. Blues, Mike Hickey found on the official blog.
And finally, the State Journal-Register posts its staff recap.
The game starts with a face-off with new center Nick Townes. I think he played against Kalamazoo, but I can't remember. I don't think he had a nameplate on his sweater at the time. Townes rose from obscurity in eleven seconds as he potted the first goal at 0:11 for the Jr. Blues. Mike Williams added a goal for good measure at 7:41.
The second period was rather boring. There were no goals and only one penalty called on Springfield. Newcomer defenseman Jordan Johsnon got two minutes for holding at 15:26. St. Louis had 14 shots on goal and Springfield had 11 of their own.
The third period kept the domination by Springfield going. Kevin Walters scored for the Jr. Blues at 4:21 to provide a little more cushion. A penalty called at 9:09 lead to Springfield's only power play for the night and its only power play goal. Kyle Cook scored at 10:00 off of assists by Kevin Walters and Josef Pontasch.
St. Louis finally showed a little life in the last half of the third as Ryan Stouffer scored at 11:09 and broke Gabe Antoni's chance at a shutout. Chris Sitler answered at 12:20 to make the score 5-1 in favor of Springfield.
At 15:31, the officials apparently decided they had enough of the enthusiasm of the Springfield crowd and started putting the Jr. Blues on penalty kill after penalty kill. The first misconduct of the game was handed out to Josef Pontasch at 15:31 for abuse of officials. They followed this up with a penalty on Cody Dixon at 17:04 for head contact. Then came a came a cross-checking penalty at 18:12 for Ruslan Pedan, and finally an interference penalty at 19:04 for Ethan Nauman. This gave the Bandits a chance at their final goal. Patrick Pollock put in the second goal for the Bandits at 19:35 in the third period. The game's last play found the Jr. Blues in possession of the puck and driving towards the St. Louis goal as the buzzer sounded.
The three stars of the game were all from Springfield: 1. Kevin Walters 2. Chris Sitler 3. Kyle Cook
The Nelson Center was packed with 2,125 people for paid attendance. We got our money's worth. I hope more people will attend and keep the average attendance over 2000 for the rest of the season.
The Jr. Blues are now at 14-20-2. St. Louis "drops" to 24-9-2. The next Jr. Blues home game is January 27 vs. the Michigan Warriors. Local NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier is scheduled to make an appearance for those of you who are NASCAR fans. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for the kids.