By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Morinville Jets (18-15-5) ended the final weekend of the CJHL regular season with one win and one loss. The Jets defeated the Wetaskiwin Icemen 2-1 in a shootout Friday night and fell to a 5-2 decision in favour of the Beaumont Chiefs Sunday afternoon, a contest that brought an end to the Jets’ three-game winning streak.
The two points earned over the weekend brought the Jets to a season total of 41 points, five points behind the (22-13-2) North Edmonton Red Wings, who played their final game Sunday night against the (1-34-0) Stony Plain Flyers.
Although the Jets outshot the Chiefs 38-31, they struggled to ripple Beaumont’s mesh through three periods. After playing a hot game Friday night, Robert Carter was put in as starting goalie Sunday afternoon. But the backstop was pulled from between the pipes in favour of Mike Saunders after Carter allowed four to get past him in the opening frame.
“We just came out in the first period against a good club a bit flat,” Rodda said. “We were short benched and so were they. We got into some penalty troubles early and let in some goals from team break downs. I wouldn’t blame the goalie – it was a team breakdown.”
Rodda said he felt the Jets came back on the ice during the second and third period determined to play hockey.
Although the Chiefs managed to get one goal past Saunders in the middle frame, they were denied all opportunities in the final period.
“The last two periods they beat us one-nothing,” the coach said. “That’s playoff hockey. I mean we can compete with those guys if we play 60 minutes of hockey. Hopefully going into the playoffs they’ve learned that lesson for the last time.”
Just who the Jets will play in the first round of league playoffs is an unknown quantity as the Regals, Mustangs and Merchants still have games in hand with a narrow margin of points separating the three clubs.
Rodda said he was both a little disappointed and pleased in the Jets season overall.
“We expected to be better at goals against,” Rodda said, adding he had hoped for a better win/loss record. We had five or six overtime games, so you spread those and we’re in the 20s for wins. All in all a big learning curve. We had a lot of rookies this year, so overall I’m pretty happy.”
The Jets are scheduled to enter playoffs this weekend.