Bluebirds skate past Middleton
That was the hockey clinic the Janesville Bluebirds conducted Thursday night at the Janesville Ice Skating Arena.
Aaron Jacobson scored twice, and Derek Mussey added a goal and two assists as Janesville’s co-op high school team remained unbeaten with a 5-1 Big Eight Conference win over Middleton.
The Bluebirds (3-0 overall, 3-0 Big Eight) were too quick and too skillful for the Cardinals (2-1, 1-1). Instead of trying to outmuscle a much bigger Middleton team, Janesville simply skated around and outhustled its opponent.
By making the extra pass time and again, the Bluebirds were able to convert a number of 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 breaks.
Janesville Parker junior David Jacobson was solid between the pipes again—finishing with 26 saves. In three games, Jacobson has allowed only three goals while making more than 80 saves.
Middleton scored first on Max Nicholson’s even-strength goal at 4:47 of the first period, but the Bluebirds tied it on Aaron Jacobson’s goal at 10:06 of the opening period. Craig junior Zach Bayreuther got the initial shot on goalie Alex Strassman, and Jacobson was right there to poke in the rebound.
The Bluebirds saved their best hockey of the young season for the second period. They scored four times, including three goals in the last two minutes.
Mussey gave Janesville the lead for good with a power play goal at 4:41. Tom Tralmer got the biggest goal of the game at 15:18 when he converted off a pass from Jarod Hilmer with the Bluebirds shorthanded.
Tralmer said Janesville’s team speed has been the difference this season.
“I think our speed surprises teams,” Tralmer said. “That was the difference tonight, along with getting the puck to the net.
“We got behind tonight for the first time this year and that kind of put us in check. Once we got the lead, we really started playing well. We made the extra pass and got the puck to the net.”
Bayreuther and Jacobson concluded the scoring by getting goals 28 seconds apart late in the second period.
Middleton peppered Jacobson with 15 shots in the third period, but could not get a shot past him. The Cardinals were on a 5-on-3 advantage twice in the period but failed to convert.
Meanwhile, the Bluebirds have served notice to the rest of the conference.
“We played with a lot of energy tonight,” acting co-head coach Rick Mussey said. “I’m proud of the way we reacted after getting down early. We really took it to them after that.”
Janesville is at Madison Memorial on Tuesday night.
JANESVILLE 5, MIDDLETON 1
Middleton 1 0 0—1
Janesville 1 4 0—5
M—Max Nicholson (Dillon Barmore), 4:47. J—Aaron Jacobson (Zach Bayreuther, Derek Mussey), 10:06.
J—Mussey (Kaleb Eichman), 4:41, pp. J—Tom Tralmer (Jarod Hilmer), 15:18, sh. J—Bayreuther (Jacobson), 16:23. J—Jacobson (Ross Mauermann, Mussey), 16:51.
Saves—Alex Strassman (M) 15, David Jacobson (J) 26.