Jets win regular-season opener
JANESVILLE Momentum was elusive for the Janesville Jets, but they grabbed it at the right time to post a 3-2 victory over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in their North American Hockey League home opener Friday at the Janesville Ice Skating Center.
The Jets’ Austin Vieth scored the game-winner on an assist from Jason Ford with eight minutes remaining.
Janesville was all over the Ice Dogs through the first 20 minutes, hammering Fairbanks goalkeeper Steve Perry with 13 shots to the Ice Dogs’ six, but none found the back of the net.
The momentum shifted to Fairbanks in the second period as the Ice Dogs took 10 shots to the Jets’ three, and the Ice Dogs’ Devin Loe scored an unassisted goal to put Fairbanks ahead 1-0 at 5:13.
“The big thing we came out on fire and their goalie saw a lot of pucks,” first-year Jets coach Joe Dibble said. “The second period, I think they came out on fire, and I think it caught our young guys a little off guard. Our big thing is to teach our guys that we have to play with full intensity for 60 minutes.’’
Despite getting outshot 10-7 in the second period, the Jets’ Eric Carlson combined with Jack Billings and Zac Avolio to tie it 1-1 at 10:59, and Jason Ford found the net to give Janesville a 2-1 lead after two periods.
The teams settled down in the third, but the Ice Dogs’ Robin Hoglund scored at 5:13 to tie it 2-2. Vieth scored at 12:16 for the game-winner.
“Austin Vieth is a high-caliber hockey player,” Dibble said. “He is a high-character kid, and he is going to get better and better.’’
Vieth said his shot made it through a crowd.
“I just walked across the top of the circle and just shot,” Vieth said. “There was some traffic there but it made it to the net.’’
Vieth said the Jets lost some focus in the second
“We just didn’t have as much enthusiasm and as much noise on the bench,” Vieth said. “Once we got the momentum back with the goals we scored, we were back at it.’’
The Jets face the Ice Dogs again at 7 tonight.
“We just come with high intensity (Saturday),” Vieth said. “Keep playing hard because it’s going to be a battle and we’ve got to win the battles.’’
JANESVILLE 3, FAIRBANKS 2
Fairbanks 0 1 1—2
Janesville 0 2 1—3
F—Devin Loe (unassisted), 9:41 (pp); J—Eric Carlson (Jack Billings, Zac Avolio), 10:59; J—Jason Ford (Austin Vieth, Avolio), 14:46.
F—Robin Hoglund (Logan Wendling), 5:13; J—Vieth (Ford), 12:16.
Saves—Steve Perry (F) 26; Brock Kautz (J) 20.