By Jim den Hollander
Before embarking on a senior season and adding to an already history-making career as the primary goaltender for the RWD varsity hockey team, Cooper Oakes is getting a look at his hockey future.
Oakes, an ’03 from Reedsburg, attended a North American Hockey League (NAHL) combine in Columbus, Ohio in April and in late May he backstopped a Janesville Jets sponsored 18U team to a pair of wins on a weekend that saw the team wrap up at 3-1 at an event at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn.
The team played four times as one of several teams at the NAHL event played while the mother Janesville Jets were playing in their Division semifinal against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Alaska-based Brown Bears have been using the Minnesota rink as a home barn.
After starting out with a 4-3 (so) win against the Austin Bruins, the Jets dropped a 5-2 decision against the Northeast Generals, then bounced back with a 3-1 win against the Lone Star Brahmas and finally, a 2-0 edge against the Kenai River Brown Bears.
Janesville Jets 4 Austin Bruins 3 (SO)
In the opening game against the Austin Bruins 18U squad, Oakes took the reins from Noah McCrary (‘04/Sun Prairie) in the middle period and helped the team to a 4-3 win in shootout. Oakes Bkicked out all three shots he faced in the shootout.
Regulation goals for the Jets came from Brady Moore (‘04/Eau Claire Memorial); Tyler Steuck (‘04/Janesville) and Eric Horein (‘04/Madison Capitols). The lone goal of the shootout came in the third round from Ben Carlson (‘03/Chippewa Falls).
Janesville Jets 2 Northeast Generals 5
Oakes and McCrary flipped the roles in the second game, Oakes starting the contest and handing off to Mc Cray with the Jets trailing in the second.
The pair combined for 29 saves in the contest with Jets’ goals scored by Pavel Rettig (Waunakee) and Horein.
Generals carried a 2-0 lead out of the first period and extend its lead to 4-1 in the middle frame, both teams adding one in the third.
Janesville Jets 3 Lone Star Brahmas 1
Against the Brahmas, the Jets went with McCrary between the pipes and he stopped 22 of 23 to nail down the win.
Jets trailed 1-0 after a period and charged back for the win with three unanswered in the final frame.
Carter Plante (‘04/Eau Claire) tied the score early with Horein notching the game winner and adding a clincher into an empty Brahmas’ goal with 34 seconds to play.
Janesville Jets 2 Kenai River Brown Bears 0
Oakes got the call for the finale and turned in a perfect effort, blocking all Brown Bears’ attempts in a shutout win.
The game’s first goal came in the sixth minute of the third period from Joe Roemer (‘04/Oregon HS) and Gavin Hruby (‘04/Waunakee) followed up with an insurance tally in the final minute.