Saturday night was the start to what all the fans have been waiting for since this past April when the Coulee Region Chill fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Janesville Jets. Coincidentally it was the same opponent entering the doors to the Green Island Ice Arena.
The Chill and Jets have a great rivalry and own the state at the NAHL level; both teams organizations’ are the only ones that call Wisconsin home. It’s always a toss up when both teams matchup regardless of overall wins/losses.
Janesville and Coulee Region entered this past weekend at either side of the division standings but that didn’t stop Chill head coach Ryan Egan from getting his young Chill squad ready.
The first period got off to a sloppy start. Veteran Andy McGlynn spent four minutes in the penalty box in the first six minutes of the game, serving one penalty for a too many men minor in the first minute of the game.
Janesville failed to convert on either penalty but still pushed the puck past Chill rookie goalie Emil Zetterquist twice in the first. Marshal Plunkett, native of nearby West Salem, WI, added his own goal 30 seconds into a power play with the help of Billy Duma and McGlynn.
The second period was about the Coulee Region penalty kill, killing off a 3-5 Janesville advantage midway through the period and another minor at 11:58. Plunkett added his second goal of the night (third of the season) with just 4:01 left to play before the second intermission.
Starting the third period with a 5-4 man advantage, the Chill couldn’t find the back of the net. The same can’t be said for Janesville, however, scoring at the 7:26 mark and never looking back.
Zetterquist faced 39 total shots over the course of the contest, saving 36 in 58:40 minutes of action.
A quick turnaround for both teams as they hit the ice at 4pm Sunday afternoon. Again it was the Chill hitting the box early but Janesville took advantage and scored just 2:13 in. Jackson Decker, the man guilty of the cross-checking minor, tied the game with his first goal of the season with passes from Pontus Jigemark and Jacob Dirks.
The second period saw a flurry of goals including three power play goals from Coulee Region and two goals from Janesville. Plunkett (Tyler Ebner, Decker) and Nick Bowman (2) Brandon Koch, Dirks (2), Jigemark) scored for the Chill.
The third period began with a 4-3 Coulee Region lead and it stayed that way for 18 minutes and ten seconds before Janesville tied the game at four. Just 40 seconds later the Jets took a 5-4 lead and finished with an empty netter with 48 seconds left.
Zetterquist got the night off and gave way to Josh Graziano who saved 25/30 pucks on the afternoon.
Coulee Region plays host to Janesville for the third consecutive game this Saturday night at 7pm.