It has been a rough start to the season for the Janesville Bluebirds.
The city’s high school co-op boys hockey team has been outscored 13-1 in two games.
Thursday night at the Janesville Ice Arena, Benett Halbleib’s hat trick lifted Sun Prairie to a 6-0 Big Eight Conference win over Janesville.
The game was scoreless after one period, but the Cardinals scored four goals in a five-minute span to break the game open.
Janesville coach John Mauermann expected some early-season growing pains from his young team.
“At times tonight, we did some good things on the ice,” Mauermann said. “But right now, it comes down to being consistent, and that’s a work in progress.
“We’re taking our kids that have been playing other sports and trying to get better. I think we can get there by the end of the season, but it’s a gradual process.”
Janesville goalie Owen Aldrich was sharp in the first period. The Janesville Craig senior made 13 saves to keep the game scoreless.
Sun Prairie, the consensus pick to win the Big Eight, broke through on Eric Blumer’s shorthanded goal at 4:03 of the second.
Halbleib got his first of three goals a minute later to make it 2-0 and pushed the lead to 3-0 with an even-strength at 7:30 of the second.
The Bluebirds’ best scoring chance in the period was Nik Sitter’s wrister from the right circle that banged off the pipe.
Halbleib got his hat trick at 6:55 of the third, and Drake Hamele capped off the scoring at 12:45 of the period.
“Credit Sun Prairie in that second period,” Mauermann said. “They got the puck to the net, and sometimes that’s all you have to do.
“We’ve just got to try and stay positive and realize that’s there’s a lot of hockey left to be played this season.”
SUN PRAIRIE 6, JANESVILLE 0
Sun Prairie 0 4 2—6
Janesville 0 0 0—0
SP—Eric Blumer (CJ Harkins), sh, 4:03. SP—Benett Halbleib (Kaden Brunson, Jake Rauls), 5:23. SP—Halbleib (Travis Kernen, Harkins), 6:33. SP—Kernen (Bryunson, Drake Hamele), pp, 8:37.
SP—Halbleib (Brunson, Kernen), 6:55. SP—Hamele (Blumer, Ryan Batterman), 12:45.
Saves—Owen Leatherberry (SP) 18, Owen Aldrich (J) 27.