Jr. Blues provide inspiration for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander



Game Week!

While last week was also billed as a Game week, it was for exhibition contest. Today (Sept. 14), the Dells Ducks hit the ice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena for games one and two of 44 on the USPHL Premier Midwest-West schedule against the Rum River Mallards.

Dells Ducks

After returning in the wee hours of Sunday night from a busy and distant exhibition weekend near Detroit, the lone activity Monday was a team meeting and a visit from the trainer for the players nursing bumps and bruises.

On Tuesday, Coach Mario Lachica said the team ran a practice with flow drills and most stayed near the rink for a treat in the early afternoon as the Springfield Jr. Blues, a North American Hockey League (Tier 2) team stopped by to run a practice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

The Blues ran a good practice and looked good in its first two games, back-to-back 4-1 wins in Janesville against the host Jets Friday and Saturday. The Blues stopped off on their way to the annual NAHL Showcase tournament at National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn. All things considered, the season has started well for the Jr. Blues, who sat out the 2020-21 NAHL seson.

That event will begin Wednesday (Sept. 15) with the Blues facing off against the Jamestown Rebels at 7:30 p.m. with its first of four games in four days. Other opponents include the Odessa Jackalopes, Aberdeen Wings and Bismarck Bobcats for the Blues who will then return home and prepare for their own home opener against the Minnesota Magicians Oct. 1-2.

Coaches and players both enjoyed watching the Blues’ practice. It was a valuable experience for the young Ducks team who now know the level of play required to play at the Tier 2 level and for the coaches who were able to chat with Springfield coaches, make some friends and possible contacts for the future as well.

But the real focus for now is on the Rum River Mallards who will be in two for Friday’s season opener at 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow Saukhockey.info will run a preview on the series.


Brandt and Zick reach NAHL Prospect semis with 15U Jets

By Jim den Hollander



A pair of local talented hockey players – Incoming RWD junior Caden Brandt and Carson Zick who will be a sophomore for Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds in 2021-22 took part in the high caliber NAHL Prospects Challenge tournament this past weekend, suiting up for the 15U Janesville Jets.

The event brought together a dozen teams, all under the umbrellas of North American Hockey League teams.

The team put together a 2-1 record in round robin matches and advanced through the Playoff quarterfinals before falling in the semis to the eventual tournament champs.

All games were played at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn., Friday May 29 – Sun day May 31.

Janesville Jets 3 Austin Bruins 4

The Jets trailed 3-0 early in the second period but rallied for three goals in the frame to knot the score at 3-3 heading to the final session.

Unfortunately, the only goal in the final period put the Bruins in front again with 8:20 to play in the contest.

David Emerich (‘06/Waunakee) scored twice for the Jets, sandwiching a goal for Grant Halmstad (‘05/Wausau).

Janesville Jets 3 Chippewa Steel 0

A goal in each period and a shutout effort in goal for Grenier Mason (‘05/Milwaukee) evened the Jets’ record.

Halmstad, Joseph Gerbitz (‘05/Green Bay) and David Dina (‘05/Verona) scored the Jets goals in this one, wrapping up play Friday.

Janesville Jets 2 Odessa Jackalopes 1 (so)

This defensive struggle didn’t see a goal until the Texas-based Jackalopes found the mesh early in the second period.

Brandt (‘05/LaValle) set up Will Rotar (‘05/Stoughton) about four minutes later to pull the Jets even and that’s the way it stayed through regulation and overtime.

In the shootout Rotar and Emerich both scored to lift the Jets to a win clinching a spot in the playoff quarter-finals.

Janesville Jets 6 Springfield Jr. Blues 1

The Jets’ collected its most decisive win later Saturday turning a 1-0 first period lead into a 4-1 middle stanza cushion and adding two more unanswered down the stretch.

Brandt led the charge scoring twice for the Jets and Zick (‘05/Baraboo) added a third period assist to help the cause. Other Jets’ goals came from Gerbitz, Emerich, Reid Post (Chippewa Falls) and Lars Brotzman (‘05/Verona).

Janesville Jets 1 New Mexico Ice Wolves 4

Just four teams returned Sunday for tournament semi-finals including three from the Jets’ round robin Division.

While the Jets squared off with the Ice Wolves, Chippewa Falls and the Jackalopes squared off in the other semi.

Brandt fire his team’s only goal, tying the game at 1-1 late in the second period, but the Ice Wolves recaptured the lead 51 seconds later with the game winning tally.

The Ice Wolves went on to claim the tournament championship with a 6-1 win against the Chippewa Steel.