After the disappointment of a zero point weekend the Jets returned to home ice to take on the Tigers ahead of a tough trip to the Spectrum to face the Flames.
The Jets racked up a convincing 11-2 victory and already people are saying how bad that is for hockey. There’s an unwritten ethical rule where you don’t travel to someone’s rink and embarrass the home team with a massive margin however that’s not what happened here. The Jets played the opponents in front of them at The Hangar and the margin was not as big as it could have been.
With absolutely no disrespect intended at all the game was over as a contest at 10.19 when Adam Calder netted a shorthanded goal to make it 3-0. What then can the Jets do in the game in front of their home fans? Some would say ease off but that’s just not an option. With so much time left in the game easing off just wasn’t an option and going into the weekend from a zero point weekend with a tough game the next day meant the game had to be played at full speed.
As it turned out the Jets did ease off in the third period. Ryan Watt changed and ran the bench for the final 20 minutes, Adam Calder barely iced and Doug Sheppard gave increased opportunities to the third line and junior players. Tom Devey played the final 11.37 of the game in net for the Jets and with a win secured and the fans happy the Jets resisted the opportunity to run up the score.
I think the right thing was done. Supporters pay money for their tickets and are entitled to an evening’s entertainment. With the game competitively over so early the excitement of tense competition was gone so the Jets had to reward the paying supporters with the excitement of goals and they did that with clinical finishing.
The Tigers coach, Tom Watkins, called for his team to tighten up in defence for their weekend against us and the Bison. In fairness to the Tigers, the Jets have probably the most gifted collection of forwards in the league and shutting them down was never going to be an easy task. The Jets re-found their scoring touches ahead of the Flames match and the Tigers can try again tonight against the Bison, looking to recover from a shut out.
The first period saw the Jets score three special team goals, two powerplay goals and a shorthanded goal. The second period had the Jets scoring at will with three goals from Darius Pliskauskas within 4.42 split by Adam Calder completing his hat-trick. Ryan Watt scored and Darius scored again to end the middle period 9-1.
What’s pleasing to see for the Jets is the return to effectiveness of the second line. The second line was affected with the New Year team changes and Ryan stepped up to fill the vacancy. Of 6 second period Jets goals 5 came from the 2nd line of Watt, Davies, Pliskauskas.
For the third period, with the result secure and the fans happy with 9 goals on the board the Jets eased off and the game played out to its end. Good to see Aaron Connolly grab the responsibility of extra ice time with two goals and nice to see Tom Devey get some ice time too.
All in all a good night with the right thing done morally and the score not run up when it could have been. The Jets secured the win, played themselves back into some form, and the supporters got the entertainment they paid for. I wish the Tigers the best of luck and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.