Jets glad to be home
The mission for the Janesville Jets this weekend is fairly straightforward.
Finally back at home at the Janesville Ice Arena, they need to right the ship when it comes to special teams.
They haven't scored a power-play goal since the last time they played there, on Oct. 5, and they allowed five of them during a three-game losing streak last weekend.
The Jets host the first-year Minnesota Magicians for a three-game set beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
“We have to be more disciplined, yet more aggressive, in those situations for us to be successful,” Janesville coach Joe Dibble said. “If you go back and look at goals-for and goals-against in five-on-five, we'd have one loss.”
The Jets haven't taken an inordinate amount of bad penalties early in the year—they're allowing about four power plays per game—but opponents are making good use of their opportunities.
Janesville ranks third-to-last in the North American Hockey League, allowing power-play goals more than 22 percent of the time. Its penalty-kill units allowed five goals in 12 chances last week.
“At the end of the day, you have to be able to kill penalties, because they're going to happen,” Dibble said. “That's part of the game. The biggest thing is being aggressive, moving our feet and blocking shots.”
By comparison, the Jets ranked seventh in the league last year, killing off more than 86 percent of power plays.
“We have enough guys left on this team that killed penalties for us last year, when we were successful,” Dibble said. “Our first thought has to be killing penalties and clearing the puck instead of scoring on the penalty kill.”
The Jets rank in the middle of the pack in the NAHL on the power play, scoring at a 13-percent clip. But they're 0-for-18 over the past five games.
They hope they can improve on those numbers, and put an end to their losing streak, back on home ice against a team that ranks in the lower half of the league in special teams, as well.
“We went on a four-game win streak and now we're on a three-game losing streak, where our No. 1 thing is let's play through this,” Dibble said. “The guys play pretty hard for our fans, and last week was a long trip. It was kind of that first real trip.
“At the end of the day, you can't ever come out and get no points, and that's what happened. And it was the special teams that killed us.”