Jets’ scoring takes off
JANESVILLE The Janesville Jets had no problem with firepower Friday in North American Hockey League action.
The Jets ripped the visiting Springfield Blues, 5-1, which put a big smile on Janesville coach Joe Dibble.
“It’s the one thing we’ve been struggling with is scoring goals,” Dibble said. “The past three weeks we’ve had a couple games where we’ve scored five goals and it’s a positive for us as young a group as we are.’’
The Jets are 13-14-5 in the North Divison. Springfield is 11-18-2.
The Jets got a big boost from 17-year-old Grant Stueve, a call-up from the Chicago Mission, a U18 Tier 1 AAA team. Stueve scored in the first and second periods.
Stueve was showcasing his talents for the Jets as a possible player for next season.
“Grant Stueve is a very special hockey player,” Dibble said, “He’s on a protected in the USHL, but if things don’t work out we are trying to get him here for next season.’’ Stueve, who did not have one practice with the Jets this week, said he relied on his hockey sense to fit in. “I was pretty nervous going into the first period, but the first shift the jitters went away and I just started playing hockey the way I normally play,” Stueve said. “I played with a couple of (the Jets) back in Chicago, but this was the first time I played with the team.’’
Stueve was surprised he played a key role in his onegame assignment with the Jets.
“I don’t know if it was luck,” Stueve said of his two-goal effort. “But it’s just the game of hockey.’’
Team captain and Craig High graduate Conor Lemirande gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 11:44. Stueve followed with his first goal at 10:42 and Ryan Dau scored with 6:38 remaining in the first to give Janesville a 3-0 lead.
Stueve notched his second goal with 9:35 remaining in the second as Janesville held a 4-0 lead heading into the third period.
Janesville goalkeeper Austin Priebe lost his shutout bid three minutes into the third when Springfield’s Oliver Takacsi-Nagy scored to make it 4-1.
“It was on a change, and the guys got a little discombobulated in the ‘D’ zone and the guy was left open on the back door,” Dibble said of Springfield’s lone goal.
Ruslan Pedan scored with 9:16 remaining to wrap up the Jets’ scoring.
With 32 games played, Dibble thinks the Jets should step up for the second half of the season.
“The biggest thing for us the first half with a lot of rookies, was just learning the game of junior hockey,” Dibble said. “We build for the second half, and the first half was going to be learning.’’
Janesville concludes its series with Springfield at 7 tonight.