Jets rally to even NAHL playoff series
JANESVILLE Janesville Jets’ coach Dane Litke admits hockey is a funny game.
Litke just shrugged his shoulders and laughed when asked how his Jets can go from not scoring a goal in a 2-0 NAHL playoff-opening loss Friday to the Springfield Junior Blues to a resounding 7-4 victory and head to Springfield even in the best-of-five series.
“I don’t know,” Litke said. “I wasn’t very pleased we didn’t get any goals last night. Their goalie has been very good against us, and we finally buried some chances.’’
Before the Jets rained six goals on the Junior Blues through the last two periods, they had to crawl out of a 3-1 hole in the first period.
Garrett Williams gave Springfield a 1-0 lead at 1:30 of the first, but Darren McCormick pulled Janesville even at 12:31. Springfield bounced back four seconds later to take a 2-1 lead on Ethan Nauman’s unassisted goal and finished off the period with a goal with 50 seconds remaining in the period for a 3-1 lead.
“I don’t know if there is a good thing about being down 3-1,” Litke said. “We still had 40 minutes left and the guys had a good attitude going into the intermission.’’
Jayce Paulseth scored 1:47 into the second to give the Jets a huge boost.
“The big thing was getting (Paulseth’s) goal early,” Litke said. “It really lifted the bench up and carried us into scoring five more goals.’’
Twelve different Janesville players collected points in the victory.
David Johnson’s goal at 17:01 of the second period drew the Jets back to even, 3-3. It was all Jets in the third period.
“I told the team they put themselves in a good spot after being down, 3-1.” Litke said to the Jets before the final period. “I told them they should go out and work harder than they did before and they responded very well.’’
The Jets out shot Springfield, 48-17 overall, and an amazing 35-7 advantage in the final two periods.
Jordan Bancroft gave Janesville the lead for good 53 seconds into the third. Connor McBride added two goals and John Olen added another for the Jets.
McBride said the Jets produced more shots at the net.
“The point guy on the power play (Garrett Cecere) got a lot through and they left me alone, so I just pounded away at them,” McBride said.
McBride said Springfield’s quick goal after the Jets tied it in the first period was on him, so he played to make up for it.
“That play was my fault, so I felt like I owed it to the guys to scored a couple goals,” McBride said. “They are a great group of guys and they are just resilient.’’
Janesville travels to Springfield for Games 3 and 4 of the series on Friday and Saturday. Springfield swept Janesville three games in its last series.
“We didn’t have a very good weekend when we were there,” Litke said. “We didn’t play very well, we didn’t work very hard and that’s why we got swept. Hopefully we can turn things around.’’
JANESVILLE 7, SPRINGFIELD 4
Springfield 3 0 0—4
Janesville 1 2 4—7
S—Garrett Williams (Chris Sitler), 1:30; J—Darren McCormick (Jordan Bancroft, Jake Horton), 12:31; S—Ethan Nauman (unassisted), 12:45; S—Jordan Johnson (Kyle Cook, Sitler), 19:10
J—Jayce Paulseth (Eric Carlson, David Johnson), 1:47; J—D. Johnson (Pijus Rulevicius, Alec McCrea) 17:01.
J—Bancroft (unassisted), 0:53; J—Connor McBride (Garrett Cecere, Rulevicius), 10:04 (pp); J—John Olen (Truman Landowski), 11:34; J—McBride (Cecere, Bancroft), 13:49; S—Cook (Sitler, Josef Pontasch), 18:55.
Saves—Tyler Parks (S) 36, Tony Kujava (J) 13.