Jets jump into second place
“Yeah,” he said after the Jets notched their second 5-0 win over the Metal Jackets in as many nights Friday in a North American Hockey League game at the Janesville Ice Skating Center before a season-high 981 fans.
“That’s kind of carried over from last year.”
The teams are in the midst of five consecutive games against each other, and Janesville has completely dominated in outscoring Motor City, 10-0, in the first two games.
When teams meet five straight times, there’s bound to be some chippiness. Friday’s game featured several tussles in front of the net, 63 combined penalty minutes, two game misconducts and an ejection.
“When you have these three-game sets and you play teams five times in a row, that’s gonna happen,” Litke said. “I wish the schedule was a little different, because they’re setting things up for that to happen.”
What the schedule also set up, though, was a chance for Janesville to jump Motor City for second place in the NAHL North Division, and the Jets have done exactly that.
Janesville (20-11-2) has 42 points, while Motor City (20-10-1) now sits one point back with 41. St. Louis leads the division comfortably with 52 points.
“Our whole second half is very important,” said Litke, whose team faces Motor City at 7 tonight at the Janesville Ice Skating Center before road games against the Metal Jackets next Friday and Saturday.
David Jacobson was stellar in net again for Janesville, making 20 stops for his second straight shutout. He was staked to a 2-0 lead off a Chris Cattivera goal with 2 minutes 52 seconds left in the first period and an Alex Brooks power-play tally with 7:49 to go in the second.
The unquestioned key sequence of the game, though, came late in the second after Janesville’s Derek Jacobson was handed a 5-minute penalty and ejected for checking from behind.
“It’s the rule,” Litke said of the call. “You’ve gotta go with it, but I don’t have to like it.”
The Metal Jackets were unable to score for the remainder of the second period but still had 3:33 of power-play time to start the third and a great chance to get back in the game.
Instead, the Jets put on a penalty-killing clinic that ended with a circus short-handed goal by Truman Landowski. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, pulled the puck in with a nifty deke to split two defensemen and beat Motor City goalie Joey Ballmer with another nifty deke to the backhand with 17:05 left in the game.
“He’s got that in him,” Litke said of Landowski. “He tries to do it a little too much, but it works for him.”
Less than two minutes later, Ross Mauermann scored off a pretty pass from Joe Horak, and Jordan Tredinnick added a 5-on-3 goal late in the game to make it 5-0.
JANESVILLE 5, MOTOR CITY 0
Motor City Metal Jackets 0 0 0—0
Janesville Jets 1 1 3—5
J—Chris Cattivera (Derek Jacobson, Derek Knetter), 17:08.
J—Alex Brooks (Larkin Jacobson), pp, 12:11.
J—Truman Landowski, sh, 2:55. J—Ross Mauermann (Joe Horak), 4:43. J—Jordan Tredinnick (Jeff Paczynski), pp, 17:39.
Saves—Joey Ballmer (MC) 27, David Jacobson (J) 20.