By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Morinville Jets’ 5-3 win over the Leduc Schwab Riggers Sunday afternoon extended the Junior B club’s winning streak to three consecutive games, something the Jets have not been able to do since the beginning of the season when they pulled off back-to-back wins against the Stony Plain Flyers, Edmonton Mustangs and St. Albert Merchants over an eight-day period.
Assistant Coach Alan Fraser said he is pleased with the current winning streak the Jets are on as two of their last three victories over the past week were teams currently leading the Jets in the standings.
“We’re beating teams we need to beat,” Fraser said. “We don’t have to be the best now, but we need to be getting better so that we can be the best when it counts.”
The assistant coach said the dressing room is a positive room presently, but the team cannot dwell on past wins as it moves into the remainder of the season.
One thing the team will need to work on as they come up against hungry teams during the remainder of the season is their slow and soft starts. Sunday’s contest against the East Division’s bottom-dwelling Riggers saw the Riggers tied with the Jets 2-2 after the first 20 minutes.
“We were out-chanced in the first period,” Fraser said. “We outshot them, but we were out-chanced.”
Fraser said he felt defensive breakdowns were the story of the day. “We were pretty responsible in the back checking end, just not picking up the man.”
The Jets struggled in the middle frame to ripple Leduc’s mesh, finally breaking past the Riggers’ defences with a flurry of three goals in the final five minutes of the period, two of which were from Jet veteran Aaron Baumgartner.
However, Leduc’s backstop Sean Reilly kept the Jets off the board for the remainder of the contest, while Rigger Nick Greuter managed to get an unassisted goal past Rob Carter a minute-and-a-half into the final frame.
“All in all it was not a bad effort,” Fraser said of Sunday’s game. “We got a big save from [Rob] Carter, a notable mention. When it was 2-2 and he made that glove save. Wow. That’s really what a team needs when they need it. That could have been 3-2 and been a different outcome.”
Carter, who spent all 60 minutes of Sunday’s game between the pipes, stopped 25 of the 28 shots hurled his way.
But the Jets were plagued in the closing minutes of the game with some habits the coaches are trying to break them of. Six of the Jets’ 14 minutes of penalty time came in the final 14 seconds of the game as a few scores were settled from earlier in the game, something Fraser was not pleased with.
“We’re trying so hard to get that message across,” he said. “We don’t have to engage in that.”
The Jets play two games this week. The club travels to the Bill Hunt Arena in Edmonton Wednesday night for an 8 p.m. faceoff with the 9-9-3 Edmonton Mustangs. The Jets return to the Ray McDonald Sports Centre Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. game against the 1-19-2 Stony Plain Flyers, currently the bottom-ranked team in the CJHL.