Last night's game was a nail-biter wondering if the Springfield Jr. Blues would be able to answer each of the goals scored by the Janesville Jets. Tonight's game was a nail-biter wondering how the Jets would answer the Jr. Blues' goals and if defenseman Ben Kramer would be able to skate again after a Janesville player fell on his ankle.
The first goal scored by Springfield tonight was popped in by Gavin Tufte in the second period. The goal judge saw the puck cross the line and lit the red lamp. Unlike most NHL events where you've got a goal judge sitting behind a bank of video monitors to watch the puck, the Jr. Blues still rely on a goal judge sitting in a booth behind the net. (If anyone would like to donate an array of of NHL-grade cameras and monitors to assist our goal judges, please contact the Springfield Park District.) The Janesville players immediately protested to the referee, as he was watching from a vantage point by the blue line. The referee called no goal at first, then consulted with the goal judge and confirmed the goal judge's call. All was well.
Ben Kramer, one of the fastest defensemen I've ever seen on the ice got a nasty surprise when one of Janesville's players landed on the back of his leg in the second period. Kramer limped over to the bench and stayed there for most of the period, but skated a shift very gingerly to end the second. He was still feeling the effects in the third but slowly got himself back up to speed.
The second period also had the only fight of the night: Mike Williams and Janesville's William Preston dropped the gloves at 14:07 near the Janesville goal. Preston said something Williams didn't like and found himself on the losing end of the fight. Well, it wasn't much of one. Williams did most of the punching and Preston did most of the falling over. Still, Big Mike knows how to deal with problem opponents.
Highlight of the night: Mike Williams' parents were in town tonight, and they finally got to see one of the fans in the front row. A little boy who is probably around three or four years of age has a Jr. Blues kids' jersey from last season. His mom got Williams' name and number added to the back of the boy's jersey. Mike knows about it, as he's signed the jersey on the numbers. His parents finally got to see it and were able to take a picture. You can't tell me that won't make a parent proud of their kid to have such a dedicated young fan.
Springfield goes to 28-25-2 and Janesville's record is now 36-17-4. There are now five games left for the Jr. Blues: one home game vs. Janesville on March 18, two home games against the St. Louis Bandits on March 23 & 24, and the last season series will be March 30 & 31 against Janesville at Janesville's arena in Wisconsin.
Attendance tonight was 801. It was also Fan Appreciation night, with $1 beer and food items.
The next game is March 18 at 4pm at the Nelson Center in Springfield, Illinois. It's $8 for adults, $5 for the kids, military personnel and seniors.