Jets fall in playoff opener
The coach of the Janesville Jets can’t understand what has happened to his team the past two months.
The Jets’ offensive woes continued Friday night when they dropped the opening game of their best-of-five opening NAHL series to visiting Springfield, 2-0, at the Janesville Ice Arena.
The Jr. Bandits scored a short-handed goal in the second period and added a power-play goal midway through the final period.
“We’re not a very good team right now,” Litke said. “We have a bunch of guys who aren’t playing very well.”
The Jets struggled down the stretch to score. In their past 12 games, the team has found the net only 21 times.
Janesville and Springfield played the final five games of the regular season. Friday night’s game was the third time the Jets did not score in those six games.
“I don’t know,” Litke said. “I don’t know what to think. They’ve confused me the last two months.”
Each team got off six shots the first period, which ended 0-0.
Springfield’s Kyle Cook delivered the only goal his team would need when he scored unassisted while Janesville had a man advantage at the 11:33 mark of the second period.
Litke said he stressed the importance the special teams would have in the series.
Springfield’s Cody Dixon then put the game away when he scored on a power play off assists from Kevin Walters and Chris Sitler, 4:16 into the final period.
Litke said the goal came after one of his players committed a “lazy penalty” and then the defense didn’t rotate properly while killing off the penalty.
Janesville ended up outshooting the Jr. Bandits, 30-24, but could not get the puck past Springfield goalie Tyler Parks.
Jets goalie Tony Kujava returned to the net after missing two games after suffering a gash to his head during a practice. Kujava made 22 saves.
The teams play Game 2 of the series at the Ice Arena at 7 o’clock tonight. The series then goes to Springfield for Games 3 and 4, if necessary, next weekend.
The Jets will have to find an extra gear in a hurry to advance to the second round.
“It’s frustrating,” Litke said. “It’s like we’re behind the eight ball already. We’re one-third of the way from losing this. And kids now days tend to fold their tents.
“I hate to say that, but it’s true.”
SPRINGFIELD 2, JANESVILLE 0
Springfield 0 1 1—2
Janesville 0 0 0—0
S—Kyle Cook (unassisted), 11:33 (sh).
S—Cody Dixon (Kevin Walters, Chris Sitler), 4:16 (pp).
Saves—Tyler Parks (S) 30, Tony Kujava (J) 22.