By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 victory over the 12-15-4 Edmonton Mustangs was the first time in the past three matchups between the two teams that the contest was decided in regulation play, and the first time the Jets have walked away with the win. Both the Nov. 5 and Dec. 8 contests between the two clubs ended in overtime victories for the Mustangs. Sunday’s victory gave the Jets two greatly-needed points as the Capital Junior Hockey League regular season winds towards a close.
Head Coach Scott Rodda said he was impressed with the effort his team put forth Sunday, particularly after a pair of less than impressive losses Jan. 9 and 12.
“It was probably the best 60-minute effort I’ve seen all year, at least for a long time, Rodda said, adding his Jets were disciplined, worked hard and advanced well from a three-goal lead to take the contest. “I still would have liked more shots, believe it or not, but [it was] a good effort all around. They played our game plan exactly how we told them to.”
During the contest the Jets took 31 shots at the Mustang’s net compared to Edmonton’s 21 scoring chances. For their efforts the club was rewarded with a 2-1 lead in the first period, the Jets’ first goal bouncing off a Mustang’s glove into the back of the net. The second period saw Jets backstop Rob Carter keeping the Mustangs off the board while the club’s offensive forces built the lead to 3-1. The final period earned the Mustangs five penalties, including a pair with less than five minutes left in the game. The Jets quickly capitalized on their two-man advantage to earn their fifth and final goal on the powerplay.
Sunday’s win places the Jets in third slot in the CJHL’s West Division, a point ahead of the Spruce Grove Regals, who have two games in hand. The Jets are also three games ahead of the St. Albert Merchants, a club that is trailing the Jets by two points in the standings.
But the Jets will need to continue the trend of Sunday’s game if they are to be well positioned heading into CJHL playoffs.
“We figure we need to win four of the last five and we’ll be in good shape,” Rodda said. “We’ll have home ice advantage if we do that. So this was a big game.”
The Jets next game is Jan. 23’s home-ice contest against the East division’s sixth-ranked Fort Saskatchewan Hawks (12-13-4). Game time is 2 p.m at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre.