The Janesville Bluebirds erased half a season’s worth of frustrations Thursday night.

The city’s high school boys co-op hockey team was 0-8 coming into its Big Eight Conference game with Beloit Memorial but played nothing like a team without a win.

Ben Coulter scored twice and Owen Aldrich stopped all 21 shots he faced in Janesville’s 3-0 victory at the Janesville Ice Arena.

The Bluebirds outshot the Purple Knights by more than a 2-1 margin and dominated from start to finish.

Injuries and illnesses drained Janesville’s depth the first eight games, and coach John Mauermann said Thursday’s game was the first time his team has been at full strength.

“We’re getting better, and it’s because we finally got our group together that we’ll have the rest of way,” Mauermann said. “So now it’s about continuing to improve and to keep making progress.

“We’ve got a pretty good nucleus of guys, but some were coming off fall sports and had to catch up. That’s hard to do. It takes time.”

Janesville scored twice in the first period, and both goals came off deflections in front of the net.

Coulter got the Bluebirds on the board at 11:51 of the first when he redirected a shot past goalie Taven Santucci.

“This was our fifth game in nine days, which is good for us,” Mauermann said. “We have a lot of guys that are playing together at the varsity level for the first time.

“Now we get a tournament next week where we have three games in three days against teams that we can compete with. Hopefully, tonight was the start of some good things happening for this team.”


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