After strong finish to regular season, Janesville Jets swept in playoffs
JANESVILLE—The Janesville Jets’ stunning second-half run came to a sudden end Friday night.
The Michigan Warriors had an answer for every Jets goal, and they swept Janesville in a best-of-five NAHL playoff series thanks to a 3-2 victory at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Janesville went from sixth place (last) in the North Division to third by the end of the regular season to earn a trip to the postseason.
“This is a team that, when I’m 55, 60 years old, I’m always going to look back at and say that’s a team that is a prime example of what a family, what a hockey team and a brotherhood needs to be,” Jets head coach Joe Dibble said. “From where we were at points in the season to finishing two points out of second place, and the amount of kids we put into Division I college hockey and advanced to the USHL, this group has earned everything they’ve got.
“Unfortunately we just fell short.”
Michigan’s Colin Larkin scored the first of his two goals late in the first period to give the Warriors the lead.
The Jets played from behind from that point forward. They clawed their way back twice, but each time the Warriors had an answer.
When Janesville’s Drew Callin made it 1-1 at 7:36 of the second period, Michigan’s Jon Farkas responded 2:33 later to regain the lead.
In the third, the Jets’ Brandon Schultz scored what appeared to be a momentum-changing goal with just over four minutes left to make it 2-2. But Larkin answered 1:37 later to sap the energy in the arena.
“Their goalie, Trevor Gorsuch, he put that team on his back in this series,” Dibble said of the goalie who had 31 saves on Friday night and held the Jets to five goals in three games. “We just couldn’t score.”
That the Jets even made it to that point was impressive.
They were in last place in the division in January. And Janesville won 13 of its final 18 games to close out the regular season.
“These are kids that have been together for 8-and-a-half months, every day,” Dibble said. “On a game like that, you’re down the whole time and battle back … it’s a sad moment.
“But it’s a group that, if I could take them at the start of every year for the next five years, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
MICHIGAN 3, JANESVILLE 2
Michigan 1 1 1—3
Janesville 0 1 1—2
M—Colin Larkin, 16:42.
J—Drew Callin (Kyle Patava, Ian Janco) 7:36. M—Jon Farkas (AJ Marcinek), 10:09.
J—Brandon Schultz (Callin), 15:48. M—Larkin (Marcinek, Farkas), 17:25
Saves—Trevor Gorsuch (M) 31, Brock Kautz (J) 20.