Janesville boys hockey coach John Mauermann has talked about the difficult schedule his young team had to start the season and how it has improved.
The Bluebirds put on Exhibit A to back up their coach’s evaluation Tuesday night in a Big Eight Conference game against visiting Madison West.
The Bluebirds overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first period to defeat the Regents 4-3 at the Janesville Ice Arena. The Regents had defeated Janesville 7-1 in the first meeting this season.
Goalie Owen Aldrich played tough in the third period, stopping 17 shots before allowing a meaningless goal with just a second remaining.
“West pulled their goalie with about 2½ minutes left,” Mauermann said. “They finally got one through with a second left. Owen played well down the stretch. You have to give him a lot of credit. He’s a part of the improvement we’ve seen.”
That was questioned early in the game when West scored twice in the first 12½ minutes. The Bluebirds then rebounded and controlled the game after that.
Goals by Ben Coulter and Walker Kulas in the final four minutes of the first period evened the score at 2-all.
“Kulas finished a 2-on-1 rush and put it in to even it up at two,” Mauermann said. “So we finished the period felling pretty good about ourselves.”
That momentum carried into the second period. Kyle Ward stuck in a rebound off a shot from Cooper Iverson. The goal came several seconds after West was whistled for a penalty and the Bluebirds pulled Aldrich and put an extra attacker on the ice.
“We made five or six passes before Ward wrapped it around the goal,” Mauermann said.
Coulter scored his second goal of the game at the midway point of the third period to put Janesville up 4-2. The Bluebirds and Aldrich then survived the Regents’ shot-fest down the stretch.
“It was an exciting win for the guys,” Mauermann said. “We worked hard.”
Mauermann commended the play of Kulas, who had a goal and an assist, as he plays extra minutes in place of the injured Kyler Kobs who is expected back in a week or so.
The Bluebirds, now 3-11, play at Sun Prairie at 7 p.m. Thursday.
JANESVILLE 4, WEST 3
Madison West 2 0 1—3
Janesville 2 1 1—4
MW—Held (Devin Huie), 11:00. MW—Drake Baldwin (Dean Fuhrmann), 12:31. J—Ben Coulter (Brian Elliott), 12:51. J—Walker Kulas, 14:18.
J—Kyle Ward (Cooper Iverson, Coulter), 12:43.
J—Coulter (Ward, Kulas), 8:20. MW—Baldwin (Sam Lowing), 16:59.
Saves—Buencamino (MW) 16; Owen Aldrich (J) 29.