By Jim den Hollander
Could the Green Bay Bobcats and Janesville Jets 18U squads be on a collision course?
There’s a long way to go but the two Wisconsin-based teams exited round robin play with three wins at the 2021 USA Hockey Tier II 18U Nationals with matching 3-0 records at the Cornerstone Ice Arena in De Pere.
The Cats finished with a 5-3 win against the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks to finish with a perfect nine points in pool play in the ‘USA’ Division.
The Jets doubled the Igloo Jaguars from New Jersey 6-3 to wrap up its third win for eight of a possible nine points – three wins, but the middle one against the Minnesota Moose coming in a shootout.
Both teams enter the round of eight and the only way they could meet each other would be in the National Championship contest.
Green Bay Bobcats 5 Littleton Hawks 2
The Bobcats made sure there wasn’t much drama in its final round robin win with three unanswered first period goals and another in the second before the Hawks finally hit the board.
Once again, goaltending played a big role for the Cats who have been outshot in each contest, this time by a whopping 36-13 margin.
Truett Wilson (’03 Fox Cities) got his turn between the pipes for the Bobcats and delivered in a big way helping the team carry a 5-1 lead out of the second period despite a 25-10 edge in shots for the Hawks.
Offensively, Dayne Deanovitch (’03 junior Fond du Lac Springs) enjoyed another solid game with a couple goals for the Cats and Grady Coppo (’03 junior De Pere) chipped in a goal and three assists. Tanner Newton (’03 junior De Pere) added a goal and assist, Joshua Christofferson (’03 senior Appleton United) scoring the other and Alexander Freund (’03 Neenah-Hortonville-Menasha) assisting on two.
As the top seed in the ‘USA’ Pool, the Bobcats advance to play the Minnesota Moose (1-1-1) who ranked second in the ‘Olympic’ Division Sunday at the Hilliard/Weyers Arena – one of three ice surfaces in the Cornerstone complex, at 9 a.m.
Winner of that game will advance to the first of two semi-finals at 6:15 p.m. Sunday against either the Montgomery (Md.) Blue Devils or the Orland Park (Ill.) Vikings.
Janesville Jets 6 Igloo (N.J.) Jaguars 3
Despite wins in the first two games, the Jets had not clinched a spot in the quarterfinals but two goals 51-seconds apart near the middle of the first period sent the team on its way to a division clinching victory.
Up 2-1 after a period, the Jets made sure with three unanswered middle period markers then scored on its only shot of the final 17 minutes for the win.
Boone Mathison (’02 Tomah) paced the offense with a three-goal game and added an assist while Isaac Frenette (’02 senior Chippewa Falls) put together a third big game with four helpers. Travis Slaght (’03 junior Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells) and Adam Franken (’03 junior Oregon) both picked up a goal and assist and the other goal came from Mason Manglitz (’02 senior, Onalaska) who, like Frenette, contributed in all three contests.
John Schroeder (’03 University School) went the distance in goal for the Jets who move on to play the Cheektowaga Rec Hockey Warriors Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Hilliard/Weyers Arena, also at the Cornerstone complex.
The Jets moved through its round robin matches with relatively easy victories against both the Warriors and Pittsburgh Predators while showing amazing resilience battling back from one-goal deficit and ultimately capturing a 6-5 shootout against the Minnesota Moose to grab top spot in the ‘Olympic Pool.’ The Moose finished second with a 1-1-1 record.
The Warriors, playing in the ‘USA’ Pool finished in second, grabbing a 3-0 shutout in its opener against the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks Thursday before stumbling 5-2 against the Green Bay Bobcats Friday, then wrapping up the berth with a 5-1 win against Team Ohio.
The quarterfinal winner will return to the ice for a 6:30 p.m. match against either the McKinney (Texas) North Stars or Tri-Valley (Calif.) Blue Devils for a berth in the National Championship contest to be played at 11:15 a.m. Monday.