The Springfield Jr. Blues faced the Soo Eagles this weekend, winning Friday night's game 5-3 and losing Saturday night's game 5-2. Friday night's game showed a high-energy Jr. Blues coming out to face the Eagles who are currently in second place in the NAHL North. Nate Chasteen and James McGing each netted two goals apiece and defenseman Jack Sloan fired a shot in for his addition to the Jr. Blues score. Ryan Atkinson and Mitch Rogge each got their assists on their linemate McGing's goals, and Chasteen was assisted by linemates Brett Skibba, Mike Fazio and defenseman Alex Baskakov. Sloan's goal was assisted by hometown player Trevor Stone and Stone's linemate Parker Johnson. The team was able to shut down the team from Sault Ste. Marie, MI, but the Eagles were ready to break Springfield's winning streak. Springfield got 26 minutes' worth of penalties due to a checking from behind & misconduct by Parker Johnson in the second period and from a late-game scrum that found the Jr. Blues without the services of Russell Jordan or team captain Mike Fazio in the last seven seconds of the game. Matt Leon is earning his starting spot in goal, and it's a good sign that head coach Tony Zasowski picked him up within the first few games of the season.
The second game was run mostly by the Eagles. They managed to find the holes in Springfield's defense as they went on to win 5-2. Springfield goals were scored by Nate Chasteen and Alex Baskakov. Springfield goalie Ryan Kellenberger looked decent in the net facing 51 shots but it's clear he's the backup. A third-period goal by Soo's Michael Lant sailed right by Kellenberger as he expected it to rise and go above the net. It didn't and that really put the end to the Jr. Blues five-game winning streak. I feel bad for the guy. Wrist shots can be sneaky like that.
The Jr. Blues' next series is against the NAHL South's first-place team the Topeka Roadrunners. Springfield has already faced the Roadrunners this season, splitting the road series in Topeka to include a shutout by Matt Leon. Topeka is extremely formidable as they have numerous returning veterans and picked through the fire sale when the St. Louis Bandits suspended operations in May. Their best acquisition in my opinion was goaltender Spencer Viele, who has backstopped almost all of the Topeka wins. That's not because my dad and his uncle used to work together, either. He's a really good goalie.
Both games will be held at the fabulous Rink 1 of the Nelson Center, 1601 N. 5th, Springfield, Illinois. The puck drops at 7pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 18, seniors and veterans. If you go to the County Market stores in Springfield or its outlying towns of Chatham or Sherman you can pick up adult tickets for $9.