Janesville grabs 2-0 lead in NAHL playoff series
JANESVILLE—The Janesville Jets have owned the North American Hockey League's North Division.
Now they're one victory away from representing the group in the Robertson Cup semifinals.
The Jets scored five straight goals to open the game and toppled the Soo Eagles 5-1 at the Janesville Ice Arena on Saturday night. Janesville leads the North finals series 2-0 heading into Game 3 of the best-of-five series on the road next Friday night.
“We knew that they were going to come out and fight and grind with us,” Jets captain Drew Callin said one night after the teams piled up 103 penalty minutes. “We were ready to set the tone early tonight, get a couple goals early and get out of here with another win.”
Janesville wasted little time building a two-goal lead in the first period. Nils Rygaard put them on the board eight minutes in off a feed from Grant Hutton.
Less than three minutes later, the Jets' power play remained red hot with a goal from Callin that turned out to be the game-winner. He knocked the puck home off feeds from Aleksi Ainali and Mitch Fossier.
“That's all my teammates,” Callin said. “I just try to find the seams, and those guys are great players. They found me on the back door, and it was an easy tap-in.”
The power play struck again to start the second. Fossier skated forward on the rush and fired a gorgeous floater through the slot to Dan Kucerovy.
Fossier then got his third point of the game, scoring on a shorthanded breakaway at 10:47. He has 10 points—nine on assists—in five playoff games to lead the Jets in postseason scoring.
Jeff Alderfer closed out the Jets' scoring less than two minutes later, and Raymond Brice's tally at 15:08 of the second was the only bright spot for Soo, which has beat Janesville just twice in 14 tries this season.
Jets goalie Matt Jurusik stopped 25 shots to continue his stunning streak. He's won 29 straight games.
“We've got a big goal in mind, but we're taking it one game at a time,” Callin said. “We're ready for Friday, and we're looking to come home early.”
The Jets have won five straight divisional playoff games, outscoring their opponents 28-11.
Game 3 is at 6:30 p.m. at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on Friday.
JANESVILLE 5, SOO 1
Janesville 2 3 0—5
Soo 0 1 0—1
J—Nils Rygaard (Grant Hutton), 8:19. J—Drew Callin (Aleksi Ainali, Mitch Fossier), pp, 11:17.
J—Dan Kucerovy (Mitch Fossier, Callin), pp, 4:24. J—Fossier, sh, 10:47. J—Jeff Alderfer (Callin, Kevin Dineen), 12:26. S—Raymond Brice (Matt Menta, Dan Weaver), 15:08.
Saves—Chad Catt (S) 14, Jack Berry (S) 14, Matt Jurusik (J) 25.