Janesville Jets’ season grounded
Despite playing at home in the fifth and decisive game of the best-of-five opening-round playoff series against the Springfield Jr. Blues, the Jets’ offense was grounded.
Chris Sitler scored at 1:01 of the period for the game’s only goal as Springfield hung on for a 1-0 win at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Springfield plays the
St. Louis Bandits in the second round of the Midwest Division playoffs.
Janesville, meanwhile, is left wondering what happened to a team that had the best record in the NAHL after the first two months of the season but again failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
“We just got outplayed today by a better team,” Janesville coach Dane Litke said. “You would think we would’ve been a pretty confident team today coming home to play, but that’s not the way we’ve been the last couple of months. We’ve been very up-and-down.”
Janesville outshot Springfield 21-18 but could not get a shot past goalie Gabe Antoni. He stopped all 18 shots he faced, including two pad saves late in the third as Janesville sent an extra attacker on the ice. Janesville goalie Tony Kujava, who made 17 saves, was pulled with 1:28 left in the game to give the Jets a 6-on-5 advantage. The Jets got two good scoring chances in the last 1:28, but Antoni deflected the first shot and wrapped up the second one with a little over a second to play.
In a game where the referees let the players decide the game—no penalties were called—Sitler got the game-winner early in the third. Sitler took a pass from Kyle Cook and beat Kujava over the top of his glove. Jordan Bancroft hit the pipe for Janesville midway through the third, but the puck trickled away from Antoni and off the boards.
“We just didn’t play a good enough game, and Springfield played a very good road game,” Litke said. “And it’s too bad because our guys played so hard last night to get it (the series) back home. You would’ve thought that home ice would’ve been a big advantage.”
SPRINGFIELD 1, JANESVILLE 0
Springfield Jr. Blues 0 0 1—1
Janesville Jets 0 0 0—0
S—Chris Sitler (Kyle Cook), 1:01.
Saves—Gabe Antoni (S) 21, Tony Kujava (J) 17.