26 in 26: Janesville Jets
August 27, 2019
The 26 in 26 series features a look at all 26 teams in the NAHL for the 2019-20 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 26 in 26 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with 26 coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league. It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
Head Coach: Corey Leivermann (2nd Year)
2018-19 record: 29-25-6, 64 pts. (4th in the Midwest Division)
2018-19 leading scorer: Matt Hanewall (36 pts.)
2019 Playoffs: Lost to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the Midwest Division Semi-Finals, 3 games to 0
2019-20 Division: Midwest
First regular season game: Friday, September 13th vs. Chippewa Steel
Home opener: Friday, September 13th vs. Chippewa Steel
On the outside, the Janesville Jets continued their traditions of consistency and excellence on and off the ice as the team reached the Robertson Cup playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and for the second straight season the Jets had 13 players earn a NCAA opportunity. But in the eyes of the Jets’ management, this past year did not live up to expectations.
“It was an interesting year, we we’re successful in regards to some of our commitments but to where Janesville Jets standards are,” said head coach Corey Leivermann. “Playoffs are our bare minimum in Janesville and as always we’re looking to obtain a Robertson Cup. That is our goal right now.”
In addition to the 13 NCAA commitments, 10 Division I commitments, the Janesville Jets had a player taken in the NHL Draft for the third straight season. Goaltender Cole Brady was selected in the fifth round by the New Jersey Devils with the 127th overall selection. Brady was 21-17-4 this past season as he had a 2.79 goals against to go with a .912 save percentage. He also notched five shutouts.
The Jets are hoping to return to one of top offensive clubs in the NAHL. They were second in the league in scoring in 2016-17, the year they reached the Robertson Cup. The Jets also had a top 10 offense last season as they fell a game short from a return trip to the NAHL’s final four. This past season however, the Jets scored 153 goals, good for only 18th out of the 24 NAHL teams.
“We really needed to focus on top six forwards. We lacked top end scoring so that was the majority of our draft this year,” Leivermann said. “We’re happy with where were at now, that was our main focus, our forward group.”
Coach Leivermann will look to a few veterans to take on a bigger role this upcoming season. Justin Engelkes played in only 40 games last season but was able to score 10 goals and end up with 22 points. It will be his third year in the NAHL after he made the Robertson Cup with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2018. He is committed to Miami University.
Parker Landauer didn’t play long with the Janesville Jets as he only appeared in eight games towards the end of the year, but he had an immediate impact. He scored twice and added four helpers to give him six points in his limited action. The Northern Michigan University commit has the makings of being a top line forward for the Jets.
On the blue line, Janesville will turn to Nick Gonrowski for leadership. Acquired from the Minnesota Wilderness just after the new year, The defenseman from New Hope, Minnesota played in 22 games for the Jets notching a goal and eight assists. For the entire season, he played in 33 games and finished with 12 points.
The Jets will look to return to the ranks of the NAHL’s elite in 2019-20 as they try to find the back of the net more than they did a year ago. The playoffs are the bare minimum in Janesville and they won’t accept anything less than a Robertson Cup title.
Next up: Johnstown Tomahawks