Lemirandes on collision course
Brothers Logan and Conor Lemirande might run into each other Friday and Saturday.
If they do, it might be in a corner of the Janesville Ice Arena rink at 20 or 30 mph. The “boom” of the boards could mean, “Hello, bro.”
The Lemirandes are big boys.
Logan, the oldest at 21, is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward on the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.
Conor, 18, is a 6-4, 220-pound forward on the Janesville Jets.
The two first-place teams get together for a two-game NAHL series at the Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday nights, and the brothers could share some shifts.
The sons of Janesville residents Jeff and Anne Lemirande saw each other earlier this month. The teams played Feb. 3-4 in Port Huron; each team won once.
Janesville enters Friday’s game in first place in the Midwest Division with a 33-12-3 record and 69 points, three points ahead of second-place St. Louis.
Port Huron comes to town with a 34-14-3 record and 71 points, which puts the Fighting Falcons in first place of the North Division, 10 points ahead of Kalamazoo.
That just adds to the weekend series, which carries special importance to the Lemirandes.
For Logan, it is a trip home.
“I have had these dates memorized since the start of the season,” he said.
Due to their age difference, the brothers never played with or against each other in organized leagues.
That made the first game in Port Huron something to remember, especially for Conor.
“The cool thing was to play against my brother,” Conor said. “We just played the game we normally play.”
At one point before a face-off, the Lemirandes ended up next to each other.
“I think he hit me one time,” Conor said. “It wasn’t anything.”
Logan admitted he kept his eye on Conor from the bench whenever his younger brother was on the ice.
“It was very weird,” he said. “As the game went on, you start to work through it.”
Jeff also got a special thrill watching the games.
“You can’t explain the feeling you have watching your sons play,” he said.
The brothers did not get to spend any time together off the ice in Port Huron.
The Fighting Falcons won the series opener, and Logan said the Jets did not linger in the rink afterward. The Jets won the second game, and Conor and the Janesville crew were on the bus in a matter of minutes.
“They wanted to get home,” Logan said.
This weekend could be different. Port Huron does not play next weekend, which might allow Logan to spend a week at home.
The Fighting Falcons did have Jeff and Anne come on the ice for a ceremonial drop of the puck before the first game in Port Huron.
The Jets will do the same at Friday’s 7 p.m. game.
Unfortunately, the third hockey player in the family, 14-year-old Cara, won’t see her brothers play. The Janesville Craig High freshman will be in St. Louis playing on the Madison Capitols U14 girls team.
Her brothers’ face time has been limited, but Conor and Logan keep in touch.
This is Logan’s second season on the Fighting Falcons, and he has been a mentor to his younger brother throughout Conor’s first year in the league.
Logan, who scored 10 goals and had nine assists in 50 games last year, has 13 goals and 15 assists in 41 games this year for Port Huron.
That production earned Logan a spot in the Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Mich., that ended Wednesday. He had a goal and two assists in the three-game tournament, which a record number of scouts attended.
Logan hopes to attract the attention of a Division I school. If that doesn’t happen, he plans to attend a Division III school in the state.
Conor is enjoying his rookie season in the NAHL with six goals and four assists, and enjoys playing in his hometown.
“It’s been great,” he said. “My teammates are great, and my coaches and the fan support have been great. You couldn’t ask for a better fan base.”
That fan base should see quality hockey this weekend.
“It will be a good time,” Conor said.
And if No. 20 of the Fighting Falcons and No. 21 of the Jets head to the puck in the corner, get ready for a huge collision of brotherly love.