Jr. Blues lock up final spot in Division Finals with shutout
Springfield 1 @ Janesville 0 (Springfield wins series, 3-2) – One goal is all it took for the Springfield Jr. Blues to defeat the Janesville Jets on Sunday at the Janesville Ice Arena in what the final game of the opening round of the 2012 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs. With the win, Springfield advances to the Midwest Division Finals where they will face the St. Louis Bandits in a best of five series.
The 1st period was a carbon copy of most of the games between these two teams… up and down the ice and with plenty of speed. The Jets outshot the Blues 10-5 during period one, but both defenses held up to the task and there was no score going into the first intermission. Neither team had a power play opportunity as the first period was penalty free. Both goaltenders, Gabe Antoni for the Jr. Blues and Tony Kujava for the Jets were solid and perfect through the opening 20 minutes.
There were no penalties called in the second period, and while the Jets continue to put more shots on goal than do the Jr. Blues, the score after two complete periods was still scoreless. After 40 minutes of play Janesville had 20 shots on goal to the Blues 13. The Blues played a much better second period, but the defensive struggle continued to be the highlight of the game through the first two stanzas.
Chris Sitler finally lit the lamp at 1:02 of the third period on an assist by Kyle Cook. Cook won an offensive zone face-off and got the puck to Sitler, who moved into the slot and snapped home a shot over Kujava’s right blocker for the only goal of the game.
Gabe Antoni and the Jr. Blues defense made the lead hold the remainder of the game with an efficient display of team defense. Kujava made 17 saves in the loss, while Antoni stopped all 21 shots for the win. Amazing, neither team was whistled for a penalty in the game as it was evident that no one wanted to make a mistake that cost them the game and the series.