Bluebirds fly into sectional finals
That was coach John Mauermann’s message to his Janesville Bluebirds during the first intermission of Tuesday’s WIAA sectional semifinal game at the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
Mauermann’s words were taken to heart as the Bluebirds cruised to a 6-1 win over Kettle Moraine/Mukwongo.
“We didn’t play them well last time,” said defenseman Derek Mussey. “We knew we had to step it up. We didn’t expect to put six on the board, but we came out flying, I guess.”
As a result, second-seeded Janesville (18-1-2) faces No. 1 seed Stoughton (19-2-1) at Eble Ice Arena in Brookfield at 7 p.m. Saturday in the sectional title game. The winner advances to next week’s state tournament.
Stoughton defeated Waukesha Catholic Memorial, 6-1, on Tuesday to reach the sectional finals.
Meanwhile, third-ranked Janesville took care of business.
“The big thing was trying to play five-on-five,” Mauermann said. “We tried to work too hard in the first period and had to take penalties.
“We wanted to go after the defensemen and keep the plays in front of us.”
The Bluebirds gave Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago three power-play opportunities in the first period and five in the game, but the Lasers could not capitalize on any.
The Bluebirds finished 3-for-9 on the power play, including a set of goals in the first.
“We knew if we could get the puck to the net, we could find it,” Mauermann said. “(Those goals were) a big sigh of relief to all of us. I think the kids said ‘Ok, we got this.’ ”
For the first goal, Ross Mauermann shot the puck past Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago’s Colin Robinson at 7:59. Kenny Durfee and Mussey had the assists.
After a call for illegal head contact put the Lasers’ Ethan Hudson in the penalty box at 8:51, the Bluebirds went back on the advantage.
With traffic in front of the net, Robinson lost track of the puck, and defenseman Derek Mussey made the score 2-0 just 32 seconds later.
Ross Mauermann led the Bluebirds with two goals and three assists. The junior forward has a total of four goals and three assists in two play-off games this season.
Durfee, Eichman and Mussey each had a goal and an assist in the game.
Mauermann’s second goal came short-handed at 12:50 in the first period.
Working the center of Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago’s zone, the forward stole the puck on a cross-ice pass and deeked just enough to sneak it past Robinson.
“As a team, we’re really fast, so you just have to keep moving,” said Eichman. “We just have to work hard and if you do, it’s going to beat size every time.”
Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago’s Cody Mertens tagged David Jacobson with his only blemish of the game at 14:17 thanks to a pass from Blaine Disrud, but the Bluebirds locked down the game after that.
The Janesville defense allowed only nine shots in the next two periods, while their offense popped off three more goals.
KETTLE MORAINE/MUKWONAGO 1
Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago 1 0 0—1
Janesville 3 2 1—6
J—Ross Mauermann (Kenny Durfee, Derek Mussey), 7:59, pp. J—Derek Mussey (Tommy Tralmer), 9:23, pp. J—Ross Mauermann (unassisted), 12:50, sh. KM—Cody Mertens (Blaine Disrud), 14:17.
J—Aaron Jacobson (Ross Mauermann), 1:10. J—Kenny Durfee (Ross Mauermann, Caleb Eichman), 9:31.
J—Caleb Eichman (Ross Mauermann), 7:39, 5-on-3.
Saves—Colin Robinson (KM) 21, David Jacobson (J) 17.