The Janesville Jets overcame a 2-goal deficit to come back and beat the Minnesota Wilderness tonight, 7-4, and sweep a 2-game weekend series.
A strong first period allowed the Wilderness to jump out to a 3-1 lead. Janesville opened the scoring 3:17 in on Cody Menzel’s 1st goal in just his 2nd ever Jr. A hockey game, but the Wilderness countered quickly. Noah Decker picked up his 2nd goal of the season just 14 seconds later on a wrist shot from the face off circle to the left of Jet netminder Owen Millward. That was followed by 2 consecutive tallies by Bobby Metz. The first was a on a feed to the high slot from Bryce Howard, while the 2nd came on a pass from Max Ruoho.
The Jets then began to show some life in the 2nd, as the Wilderness were hampered by a number of mistakes including 3 minor penalties called on Max Neill. One of those infractions led to a power play goal, as Cy LeClerc sent a shot past Jacob Zacharewicz at the 6:27 to make the score 3-2. The Wilderness answered quickly, as former Hermantown Hawk Aaron Pionk sent a rocket from the left point past Owen Milward to again put the Wilderness up by 2. Cole Christian from Duluth, in just his 2nd Jr. A game, assisted on the goal, giving him his 1st point with the Wilderness. Janesville would get one more before the period would close, as Jan Lasak scored on a 2-on-1 after getting a saucer pass from Arsenii Smekhnov.
The Jets continued to pressure in the 3rd, and drew even when LeClerc picked up his 2nd goal of the game. LeClerc took a centering pass from Lasak and slipped a shot past Zacharewicz and then collided with the Wilderness goaltender, forcing him out of the game due to injury. Zacharewicz would then be replaced in net by Sam LeVecchi.
The Jets regained the lead when Lasak redirected an A.J. Casperson shot from the left point, and then got two more insurance goals – 1 on a breakaway by Jonah Aegerter and another on an empty net by Smekhnov.
The Jets outshot the Wilderness 27-21.
The loss drops the Wilderness record to 11-7-1 on the 2021-22 season, and marks the first time this season Minnesota failed to get a point in a weekend series. They will look to snap a 2-game losing streak Thursday night, Nov. 18, when they travel to Chippewa Falls, WI, to take on the Chippewa Steel. Puck drop at the Chippewa Ice Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.