The Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets swept the Kenai River Brown Bears on Friday and Saturday in North American Hockey League action at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
The Jets won 6-2 both nights, with 884 attending Friday and 802 in the stands Saturday.
The Jets improve to 14-4-0-1 and lead the Midwest Division, while the Bears fall to 1-14-2-0. The Bears host the Springfield (Illinois) Blues on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, the Bears gave the high-scoring Janesville Jets a head start, and it was hard to catch up.
The Jets scored a goal just 38 seconds into the game.
As of Friday, Janesville had scored 76 goals in 18 games, which is second in the league and averages out to 4.2 goals per game.
Cole Paskus, who finished with two goals and two assists, struck in the first minute to get Janesville rolling.
“There’s no excuse,” Kenai River head coach Jeff Worlton said. “Every game, we’re falling behind 1-0. Every game.”
The Bears did come back to tie it midway through the first when Tyler Rock scored on a power play on assists from Luke Radetic and Jonathan Marzec.
But just 28 seconds later, Cullen Munson put Janesville up 2-1.
In the second period, Michael Maloney swung the momentum in Janesville’s favor with a power-play goal at the 12:36 mark.
Worlton said the Bears can’t afford to take needless penalties against the speed and skill of the Jets.
“Our playmaking when we were five-on-four was really consistent,” Janesville coach Joe Dibble said. “That gave us Grade A opportunities every time we were on the power play.”
By the time 3:06 was left in the second, Maloney and Paskus had each scored their second goals of the game and Janesville led 5-1.
Then it was Dibble’s turn to bemoan his squad’s discipline. With just eight seconds left in the second period, Radetic, assisted by Christopher Lipe and Marzec, cut it to 5-2 on a five-on-three power play.
“We took too many dumb penalties,” Dibble said. “We could have let them back in the game.”
But the Jets were able to kill off the rest of the penalty to start the third, and Joseph Abate lit the lamp for Janesville to account for the final score.
The Bears were outshot 18-8 in the first, but recovered to lose the shot count 34-30 in the game.
That didn’t show on the scoreboard due to Janesville goalie Jacob Barczewski, who won his third game in a row after sweeping Fairbanks last weekend. Barczewski is just 17 years old.
Barczewski had 28 saves, while Bailey Seagraves and Robbie Goor combined for 28 saves for the Bears.
“They like to run and gun,” Worlton said of the Jets. “They’re very skilled and talented, but they give up chances.
“We missed the net some, but he made some good saves.”
Saturday, the Bears trailed 1-0 after the first period despite taking six penalties to Janesville’s two.
“I thought they responded well and played hard,” Worlton said of his team. “We were short-handed basically the entire first period, and we gave up one goal against a power play that’s at 30 percent.”
But all the penalty-killing eventually caught up to the Bears, and Janesville led 5-0 before Kenai River got a goal from Anthony Tzveyn in the third. Marzec also would score with nine seconds left.
Worlton said Soldotna product Preston Weeks competed hard as the Bears experiment with moving him from defense to forward.
Jets 6, Brown Bears 2
Janesville 2 3 1 —6
Kenai River 1 1 0 —2
First period — 1. Janesville, Paskus (Grissom, Gates), 0:38; 2. Kenai River, Rock (Radetic, Marzec), pp, 10:33; 3. Janesville, Munson (Grissom, Hoffmann), 11:01. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Second period — 4. Janesville, Maloney (Dodero, Paskus), pp, 7:24; 5. Janesville, Maloney (Paskus, Gates), 10:13; 6. Janesville, Paskus (Maloney), 16:54; 7. Kenai River, Radetic (Lipe, Marzec), pp, 19:52. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 8. Janesville, Abate (Roeder, Bates), 5:50. Penalties — Janesville 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 4 for 8:00.
Shots on goal — Janesville 18-9-7—34; Kenai River 8-11-11—30.
Goalies — Janesville, Barczewski (30 shots, 28 saves); Kenai River, Seagraves (23 shots, 19 saves), Goor (11 shots, 9 saves).
Power plays — Janesville 2 for 5; Kenai River 2 for 4.
Jets 6, Brown Bears 2
Janesville 1 3 2 —6
Kenai River 0 0 2 —2
First period — 1. Janesville, Holesinsky (Maloney, Paskus), 19:55. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 6 for 32:00.
Second period — 2. Janesville, Dodero (Paskus, Maloney), 5:43; 3. Janesville, Hoffmann (Bates, Munson), 15:20; 4. Janesville, Dodero (Holesinksy, Wareham), 18:03. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 5. Janesville, Holesinsky (Maloney, Paskus), 4:07; 6. Kenai River, Tzveyn (Stewart, Mezera), 5:47; 7. Janesville, Hoffmann (Sullivan, Bates), 7:44; 8. Kenai River, Marzec (Stewart, Lipe), 19:51. Penalties — Janesville 8 for 24:00; Kenai River 9 for 49:00.
Shots on goal — Janesville 15-10-10—35; Kenai River 4-16-9.