Overtime win sends Jets to Game 5
That was what the Janesville Jets could be telling themselves after they fought off elimination in Game 4 of their best-of-five North American Hockey League division semifinal against St. Louis.
The Jets drilled two third-period goals to force overtime, and then John Houston put the game away in the extra period with a clutch goal to outlast St. Louis, 4-3, here Saturday night at the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
Janesville's nail-biting victory set up a decisive Game 5 at 5 p.m. today in St. Louis. The winner faces Michigan in the NAHL's North Division finals.
Michigan wrapped up its first-round series with a 3-1 advantage by defeating Traverse City, 5-0, Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the fourth-seeded Jets outlasted top-seeded St. Louis for a 2-2 tie in their series.
"We didn't get very many breaks in the game today, but we capitalized on the two power plays that we had," Jets coach Dane Litke said. "But now we're heading to Game 5, where anything can happen."
The Bandits were just 10 minutes away from finishing off the Jets after Nick Carey slipped the puck past Janesville goalie David Jacobson in the third period to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.
But the Jets quickly rebounded when Jordan Tredinnick beat Bandits goalie Jeff Green with 5:18 to play.
The game remained knotted at 3-3 well into overtime before Houston drilled a shot past Green midway through the extra period to send 811 fans home happy.
"We played better in the third period and then the overtime," Litke said. "Hopefully, we can carry that into Game 5."
The Bandits, however, clearly were the aggressors for most of the regulation. After a scoreless first period, St. Louis forward Chris Ciotti found an opening at the net and drilled a goal to make it 1-0 just 20 seconds into the second period.
Jets forward and former Janesville Bluebird standout Ross Mauermann evened the game at 1-1 when he whistled at shot into the net with 8:31 left in the second period.
But the Bandits gained the upper hand late in the period and eventually scored on R.J. Kleiman's power-play goal with 2:29 left.
Mauermann evened it up at 2-2 on a power-play goal with 12:11 left in regulation before the Bandits reclaimed a 3-2 lead.
With the crowd sensing elimination, Tredinnick slipped a shot over Green's glove to draw Janesville even again at 3-3.
Janesville gained the upper hand from there and eventually capitalized in overtime.
"We're fighting for our lives, and really you have nothing by just going out and working hard," Litke said. "We wanted to make sure we left everything out there tonight."
JANESVILLE 4, ST. LOUIS 3 (OT)
St. Louis 0 2 1 0—3
Janesville 0 1 2 1—4
SL—Chris Ciotti (unassisted), :20. J—Ross Mauermann (Connor McBride, Jeff Paczynski) 11:28. SL—RJ Kleiman (Patrick Sheehan), 17:53 (pp).
J—Mauermann (Alex Brooks, John Houston), 7:45 (pp). SL—Nick Carey (unassisted), 9:39. J—Jordan Tredinnick (unassisted), 14:39.
J—John Houston (unassisted), 10:55 (pp).
Saves—Matt Green (SL) 26, Jacobson (J) 31.