The Janesville Bluebirds took on the WNS Storm Thursday night in Janesville. WNS came into the game with a 6-8 record and a recent 4-1 win against Homestead. The Bluebirds coming into the game are coming off a comfortable 6-2 win against Middleton. The Birds were 10 and 6 coming into this Thursday night game.
Getting into the game in the first period it was a pretty even game. The Bluebirds took a penalty giving WNS a power play. From a sharp angle almost by the boards, Charlie Mitchell scores by shooting the puck just over Janesville's Jaicy Campbell's Glove. Mitchell's 4th goal of the season gives WNS a 1-0 lead.
WNS didn't stop there as Micheal Adank threw the puck towards the net from the left boards making Campbell move across his net, which allowed Al Vizgaitis to swat the puck into the net giving WNS an early two-goal lead.
Janesville got one back quickly as Ian Perkins got the puck in deep off the boards. A lurking Tyler Stueck picked up the puck and circled around behind the net. A pass to Jake Shaffner gave him a great chance from the hash marks and he went low glove on WNS goalie Drew Salzer.
The Bluebirds will end on a bad note as a 5 and 10 is given as Henry Vizgaitis draws a Checking from behind, and then a tripping penalty shortly after. WNS will end up scoring one more at the end of the first. Micheal Adank gets his first of four goals of the night after a juicy rebound from a shot from the point from Jack Klemons. 3-1 Lead for WNS as they will carry momentum into the next period.
WNS will continue their scoring form right away as Evan Mortenson shoots from the top of the right circle forcing Campbell to make a blocker save, but it still squeezes past him giving Adank his second of the night as it's an easy tap in for a 4-1 WNS lead who looked like they could run away with this game.
WNS seems to have perfected the point shot with players crashing the net as they score again that way. Ellias with a shot from the top left circle to Campbell's blocker side pads gave another rebound to find Adank for his natural hat trick and a 5-1 lead. This was Campbell's last shot seen in the second period as the Bluebirds coaching staff was looking to change the momentum and gives Zen Janik his 3rd appearance for varsity. The goalie change seems to have had an effect as the Bluebirds responded.
Dylin Thong drew a penalty by taking a cross-checking, giving the Bluebirds a good opportunity to get back into the game. A face-off to the left of the goalie leads to a goal as the puck shoots to the boards. Jake Shaffner with his burst of speed sneaks in on the faceoff and goes down behind the goal line and finds Tyler Stueck open in front of the net.
Stueck then draws a penalty the next play putting the Birds back on the power play. Jake Schaffner will go end to end with probably the Bluebirds goal of the year as he goes in between the defender's legs and sends the puck behind the goalie with a slick backhand giving the birds a step closer to tying.
Tyler Stueck on 2 on 1 shoots a sharp angle shot which jumps to Ian Perkins stick, Perkins then throws it towards the net to Shaffner but sneaks past him to find Stueck's stick and puts it away despite the good effort by Salzer. Now a one-goal lead for WNS and they call a "take a breath and calm down" timeout.
Janesville lost their momentum as a bad pass to the Bluebirds defense who gave up on the play It left Janik out to dry as Adank forces Janik to move opening up his five-hole to stop the bleeding for WNS. This 2-goal difference wouldn't last as Lucas Young found Shaffner and he score easily beating Salzer's Glove for a 6-5 WNS lead through two periods.
The third period was a hard-fought as WNS would once again stop the bleeding by only allowing one this period. A thing we don't see often was done to start this third as the Bluebirds coaching staff put back in their pulled goaltender of Campbell. Janik would end his night with 2 saves on 3 shots.
Stueck draws another penalty early in the 3rd putting the Birds back on the power play once again. The Bluebirds are unlucky to score here as they had some great opportunities but could ripple the net. The WNS defense was caught napping with the puck at their blueline which caused a turnover by Schaffner who picked the puck up and onto a breakaway and scores. He fakes a move to his backhand and sends Salzer the wrong way for an easy goal to finally complete the comeback. Shaffner has matured a lot this year with his all-around game as he’s starting to throw the body more often and has become an excellent pick pocketer. The rest of the third was a back-and-forth game but Janesville was more efficient offensively that period. The score is 6-6 heading into overtime.
Overtime was dominated by the Bluebirds who scored 44 seconds into OT. Schaffner skates the puck into the zone on the left side then drops it back to Ian Perkins who's open at the top of the circle who unleashes a hard shot that was perfectly placed under the bar which beats Salzer over his blocker to complete the comeback win.
In conclusion, WNS had a great first-period scoring and kept the puck out of the net, but they couldn't hold on to just sneak out with an upset victory. Great performance by Salzar who made some big saves in the second and third to allow his team to get into a winning opportunity. Salzer ended the night with 23 saves. Adank was the best player on the ice for WNS as he found himself in front of the net to finish as he ended the night with 4 goals and 1 assist for his team. The Bluebirds were able to nearly come out with a win after a really bad first period.
Jake Schaffner goes home with 7 points, 4 of those are goals and 3 are assists. Campbell and Janik came home with 19 saves on 23 shots. The Player of the game will easily go to Schaffner who was involved with every Bluebirds goal and was just crucial throughout the game, Adank was right by Schaffner as he had an excellent night as well. Janesville's next game is Madison West who they last beat 9-1 this season. Janesville's record stands as 11 and 6. WNS moves on and hopes to rebound against Cederberg. WNS is now 6 and 9 on the season.