JANESVILLE, WI – With 1:32 remaining in regulation, Travis Kothenbeutel’s power play one-timer beat Jets goaltender Garrett Nieto glove side, making his water bottle skyrocket. The goal broke a 1-1 tie to boost the Bruins to a weekend road split and two crucial points in their chase for playoff home ice advantage. It was Janesville’s first regulation home loss since December 9th.
The opening 20 minutes were reminiscent of the night before with defense taking the spotlight and no penalties being assessed. Unlike Friday’s opening frame, it did feature a goal. At 12:11, Jakov Novak fed Sam Renlund at the bottom of the right faceoff circle for a 1-0 Jets lead. The goal seemed to wake up the Bruins, who went on to outshoot Janesville 9-5 in the period, but trailed 1-0 at the intermission.
Just before the midway point of the second period, the Bruins got even. Kothenbeutel skied a pass from the Bruins defensive zone that deflected across the Janesville blue line and created a two-on-one with Evan Cholak and Dante Sheriff. Cholak handed off to his linemate who deked to the backhand and slid it past Nieto to tie the game at 9:29 of the frame. The score remained tied at one through 40 minutes of play.
The Jets turned up the pressure early in the third, but Alex Schilling helped keep the game tied. The teams then played through two stretches of four-on-four to open the game up, and at 17:45, Renlund went off for tripping to give the Bruins a 4-on-3 power play. With the seconds ticking down, Dan Petrick teed up Kothenbeutel for a rocket over Nieto’s glove at 18:28 to put the Bruins on top for the first time in the series. Chase Pilawski picked up a secondary assist. Dante Zapata nearly sealed the game, but hit the post with an empty net. Janesville’s attempt to tie the game came up short, as the Bruins blocked several key shots in the final minute and escaped with the 2-1 win.
Schilling turned aside 24 of 25 shots to earn his 19th win while Nieto stopped 25 of 27. The Jets took the season series 3-1, with all four games decided by one goal. The Bruins enter the final week of the season tied with the Minnesota Wilderness for the #2 seed in the Central Division playoff picture. They’ll use their game-in-hand Wednesday night in Richfield against the Magicians at 7:05, before returning home to close out the regular season against Bismarck on Friday and Saturday.