The Janesville Bluebirds had a chance Friday to sweep a season series against a team ahead of them in the conference standings.
The city’s high school co-op boys hockey team had beaten Middleton earlier this season and was looking to build momentum heading into WIAA tournament play next week.
Unfortunately for the Bluebirds, the Cardinals were the better team the second time around.
Bryce Schuster and Brooks Kalscheur scored two goals each to lead Middleton to a 5-1 win Big Eight Conference win at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Janesville (9-12, 4-8) fell behind 4-0 and was held scoreless until Ben Coulter’s shorthanded goal late in the third period.
Bluebirds coach John Mauermann said his team failed to capitalize on the few scoring opportunities it had.
“It’s a 2-1 game if you take away the three goals they got on unforced errors,” Mauermann said.
“Anytime we made a mistake, they capitalized. And when they made mistakes, we weren’t able to capitalize.
“We played well, at times, but the difference between this game and the first time we played them was that they took a big penalty in the second period, and we took advantage of that.”
Middleton (13-9-1, 8-6) scored twice in a two-minute span of the first period for a 2-0 lead. Kalscheur started the scoring when he redirected a shot past Janesville goalie Cody Kaas at 6:38 of the first. Schuster made it 2-0 less than two minutes later when he fired a backhander past Kaas after two Janesville defensemen failed to clear the puck out of the zone.
The Cardinals added two more goals in the second. Ayden Henderson pushed the the lead to 3-0, and Kalscheur made it 4-0 at 13:44 when he circled around the net and fired a shot past Kaas.
“I thought we controlled play the second period but had nothing to show for it,” Mauermann said. “And the same thing that we’ve struggled with all season was a problem again tonight, and that’s finishing plays.
“We had chances but give them credit. Their goalie (Luigi Pugliese) made a couple of nice saves.”
Janesville was scheduled to play Sun Prairie today, but the game was postponed until Monday because an officiating crew could not be found.
MIDDLETON 5, JANESVILLE 1
Middleton 2 2 1—5
Janesville 0 0 1—1
M—Brooks Kalscheur (Dana Sjowall) 6:38. M—Bryce Schuster 8:19.
M—Ayden Henderson (Jake Pavelski) 5:45. M—Kalscheur (Andy Chafe) 11:23
J—Ben Coulter (Charlie DeGarmo) sh 12:07. M—Schuster (Henderson, Pavelski) 13:44
Saves—Luigi Pugliese (M) 15, Kaas (J) 20