Janesville Bluebirds senior Ben Coulter never knows what move he’s going to use when he finds himself on a breakaway against the other team’s goalie.
“I think of it on the fly honestly,” Coulter said.
That statement would be hard to believe if you watched Thursday’s WIAA regional playoff game between the Bluebirds and visiting Whitefish Bay.
Coulter scored a pair of shorthanded goals with two jaw-dropping dekes to propel the Bluebirds to a 4-0 victory and a spot in a sectional semifinal.
“You don’t score shorthanded goals very often, so give Benny credit,” said Bluebirds head coach John Mauermann, whose fourth-seeded team will play at top-seeded Waukesha North co-op Tuesday night.
Janesville scored just 20 seconds into the game on a redirection from Tyler Edwards, which allowed the team to settle into the game according to Mauermann.
“It was a good play,” he said. “We won some races and got some pucks to the net, so it was a good goal. It’s nice to kind of gain a little confidence that early.”
Coulter doubled the lead in the final minutes of the period. After taking the puck from a Whitefish Bay defenseman, Coulter deked around the goalie to make it a 2-0 game.
“That was a big goal, because we were a little down because of all the penalties we took,” Mauermann said. “It took all the momentum out of us, and that goal gave the momentum back.”
Parker sophomore Cayden Erickson scored the lone goal of the second period with a power-play blast from the blue line. Coulter scored his second shorthanded breakaway goal in the third to seal the victory.
Goalie Cody Kaas made 21 saves for the shutout.
“He played big all night,” Mauermann said of his goalie. “The times he had to move, he got over and fought off the shot. He was solid.”
And while the Bluebirds were happy to score goals on both ends of the special teams spectrum and get solid goaltending, they know they will need an even better performance in the next game.
Waukesha North won its opener 9-0 on Thursday.
“We can’t sit in the penalty box like we did tonight,” Mauermann said. “And we have to put some pucks on net and get after the rebounds.”
JANESVILLE 4, WHITEFISH BAY 0
Whitefish Bay 0 0 0—0
Janesville 2 1 1—4
J—Tyler Edwards (Ben Coulter), 0:20. J—Coulter (Cayden Erickson), sh, 15:06.
J—Erickson, pp, 8:20.
J—Coulter, sh, 1:13.
Saves—Max Gehrmann (WB) 18, Cody Kaas (J) 21