Bluebirds advance to sectional finals
The 2008-09 Janesville Bluebirds got the answer Tuesday night to a question that comes up the first day of practice every season.
Why does coach John Mauermann work the team so hard?
So when there is a meaningful game—such as Tuesday’s WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game—the Bluebirds will have plenty left in the tank in the third period.
Thanks to the spirited play of three lines, and the fact that Bluebirds skated circles around host Waukesha Catholic Memorial/Milwaukee Pius XI in the second and third periods, Janesville’s high school co-op boys hockey team pulled away for a 6-2 win here at Eble Ice Skating Arena.
Michael Valentine and Logan Lemirande scored two goals each as Janesville (17-5) advanced to the sectional final game against second-ranked Stoughton (19-1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Nagawaukee Ice Arena in Delafield.
The Bluebirds trailed 2-1 after the first period, but dominated play the final 34 minutes with strong contributions from three lines and another stellar job in the net from goalkeeper David Jacobson.
“The third period we had a good hop in our step,” Mauermann said. “And by getting a body on somebody starting with our forward play in the second period, we were able to wear them down.
“It was an interesting team effort because our third line did a nice job of going out and forechecking, and they (Memorial/Pius XI) didn’t score any points with that line on the ice. And that’s big.”
Eighth-ranked Catholic Memorial/Pius XI jumped out to an early lead on Trent Nienas’ goal at 2:52 of the first. Janesville responded on Valentine’s first goal off an assist from Bentley Geldard to tie the game 22 seconds later.
Trailing 2-1 after one period, the Bluebirds turned up the pressure the final two periods. Valentine, a Janesville Craig senior, notched the only goal of the second period with a power play goal at 5:15. Janesville had two other goals in the period disallowed when the referee lost sight of the puck.
“I really thought we had some great shifts all game from all three lines,” Mauermann said. “And Logan’s goal to start the third period was big for us because that momentum really carried through for us the entire period.”
Lemirande, a Craig senior, made it 3-2 just 17 seconds into the third period. He corralled a loose puck on the boards and slipped a shot past an unsuspecting David Chapin.
At 6:36 of the third, Lemirande pushed the lead to 4-2 after slapping a shot past Chapin before crashing into the boards.
With a two-goal lead and Jacobson a pillar in the net again, Janesville piled on the pressure the final 10 minutes of the game. Catholic Memorial/Pius XI looked tired and frustrated in the third period after playing only two lines the first 34 minutes.
Parker senior Grant Jahns took a perfect pass from Aaron Jacobson to make it 5-2 at 9:09, and Mr. Hockey of Wisconsin finalist Ross Mauermann capped off the scoring with a blast in front at 11:10.
Stoughton, a 3-1 sectional semifinal winner over Kettle Moraine, has one of the state’s top goalies in Andrew Martin, another Mr. Hockey finalist, who has allowed three or more goals in only three games this season.
Mauermann knows the Bluebirds will have to step it up another notch Friday night.
“We’ve got two days to recover, and we should recover pretty fast because we didn’t have to burn up a full tank tonight,” Mauermann said. “We played as many kids as we could tonight, and we’ll be ready by Friday.
“We’ll have our hands full, but it’s another chance to play. At this point of the season, only 15 other teams can say that.”
CATHOLIC MEMORIAL/PIUS 2
Janesville 1 1 4—6
Catholic Memorial/Pius 2 0 0—2
CM/P—Trent Nienas (unassisted), 2:52. J—Michael Valentine (Bentley Geldard), 3:14. CM/P—Devin Stuermer (Nienas, Tom Chapin).
J—Valentine (Ross Mauermann), 5:15, pp.
J—Logan Lemirande (Zach Bayreuther), :17. J—Lemirande (Derek Mussey, Geldard), 6:36. J—Grant Jahns (Aaron Jacobson, Joe Allen), 9:09. J—Mauermann (Lemirande), 11:10.
Saves—David Jacobson (Janesville) 26, David Chapin (Catholic Memorial/Pius) 36.