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.