Soo downs Jets
JANESVILLE A hard-fought battle met a disappointing conclusion Friday for the Janesville Jets.
The Jets played the Soo Eagles scoreless through 53 minutes but fell 1-0 in North American Hockey League play.
The Soo’s Jared Van Wormer scored a curious goal behind falling Janesville goalkeeper Brock Kautz as Jets defenseman Donovan Gardner furiously tried to dig the puck away from the net that moved off its moorings.
“The ref said, when Kautz fell back, the net knocked off and the puck fell into the net,” Jets coach Rob Dibble said. “It’s one of those games where you lose on a freak bounce like that, but it was an outstanding game.’’
Gardner, playing in his first Jets game after arriving from Kalamazoo, said the goal was tough to take.
“There was a scrum in front of the net, a lot of guys,” Gardner said. “It was a delayed whistle on the ref, so there was not much we could do there.’’
The goal broke through an intense defensive struggle that had Gardner standing in front of the Jets goal without a stick in the second period and throwing his body at a flying puck.
“It’s just part of the job,” Gardner said. “It’s what you sign up for. We were stuck in our zone the second period and it’s hard to get that changed (getting a new stick), so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to make sure the puck doesn’t get in.’’
Janesville was unsuccessful at getting the puck past the Soo’s Tyler Marble, who was the NAHL’s goaltender of the month.
“Both goaltenders on both teams played outstanding,” Dibble said. “When goalies play like that, it turns into games like this.’’
The Jets were trying to shake off a series sweep at Springfield last weekend with two players out with concussions, top scorer Austin Vieth traded to Waterloo in the USHL last Friday, and forward Zach Diamantoni on a recruiting trip to Michigan Tech. The Jets added five players, including a pair of high school players.
“It shows the character of everybody else to bounce back and pick up their game,” Dibble said.
The Jets, who will try to snap a three-game losing streak, play the Eagles at 7 tonight at the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
SOO 1, JANESVILLE 0
Soo Eagles 0 0 1—1
Janesville Jets 0 0 0—0
S—Jared VanWormer (Michael Covach, Eric Rivard), 7:16.
Saves—Tyler Marble (S) 32, Brock Kautz (J) 32.