Jets find winning combination
It turned out to be a productive combination.
The Nauman-Jacobson-Bancroft line was responsible for two goals, with Jacobson scoring both, as the Jets used three second-period tallies to defeat Marquette (Mich.), 3-2, in a North American Hockey League game at the Janesville Ice Skating Center on Friday night.
“We just kind of put them together,” Litke said. “We’ve been looking for a little bit of a spark lately, and they played well together. We’re gonna play them together (tonight), as well.”
It was a key win for the Jets, who began a season-long five-game homestand by getting two points closer to the Rangers for second place in the NAHL North. With 43 points, Janesville (20-14-3) is now three points behind Marquette (23-15-0, 46 points) in the division.
The teams play each other again at 7 tonight at the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
“It was big,” said Litke, whose team entered Friday’s game having lost five of its last six. “Obviously, they’re ahead of us in the standings, and we haven’t exactly been playing lights-out as of late. It was a nice win and the guys battled hard, and I’m proud of them.”
After a scoreless first period in which the Jets were outshot 11-5 and rarely got even close to Marquette goalie Kevin Kissaw, an ugly goal early in the second got the Jets kickstarted.
Just under three minutes into the second, Bancroft and Nauman did some gritty work in the Rangers’ zone, and Bancroft threw a puck into Kissaw that probably should’ve been frozen. But Kissaw was unable to corral the rebound, and Jacobson swooped in to poke it home for a 1-0 lead.
Garrett Ladd beat Janesville goalie Matt Wichorek (20 saves) for the only time less than three minutes later to tie it up before Wes Wauters’ rebound goal gave the Jets a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes 28 seconds left in the second.
Jacobson then struck again with 6:07 to go in the period when Bancroft’s beautiful lead pass to Nauman created a 2-on-1. Nauman fed Jacobson, who beat Kissaw to the short side for a 3-1 lead.
The score remained that way until late in the third when the Jets were whistled for two quick penalties that Litke was unhappy about. Marquette pulled Kissaw to gain a 6-on-3 advantage and made it 3-2 on Nate Taurence’s goal with 1:12 left.
JANESVILLE 3, MARQUETTE 2
Marquette 0 1 1—2
Janesville 0 3 0—3
J—Larkin Jacobson (Jordan Bancroft, Ethan Nauman), 17:06. M—Garrett Ladd (Brent Bain, Andrew Kolb), 14:10. J—Wes Wauters (Pat Dalbec, Gene Constantine), 10:28. J—L. Jacobson (Nauman, Bancroft), 6:07.
M—Nate Taurence (Kolb, Kevin Gibson), pp, ea, 1:12.
Saves—Kevin Kissaw (M) 30, Matt Wichorek (J) 20.