Bluebirds win season-opener in Beloit
John Mauermann believes his Janesville Bluebirds have a solid combination of experienced leaders and young skill players.
They showed off some of that mixture during their season-opener on Friday.
The Bluebirds—Janesville’s co-op boys hockey team—got four goals from a line consisting of juniors Connor Perkins and Sam Iverson and freshman Tyler Perkins, and Michael McDougall made 26 saves as Janesville beat Kenosha 4-3 in a tournament game at Beloit.
“I think we’re a little more skilled this year,” said Mauermann, whose team went 7-15 a year ago. “Iverson and Connor Perkins are juniors now, which is big. At the same time, we added sophomore Jakob Hanthorn, and Tyler Perkins is a freshman, so we’ve got a couple more skilled players that are younger.”
Iverson and the Perkins brothers accounted for all nine points tallied by the Bluebirds. All three of them had at least one goal and one assist.
Iverson and Connor Perkins each scored in the first period, and Iverson’s second goal with just over seven minutes left in the second made it 3-0.
“We had a lot of opportunities by all three (lines on offense), but that group found the net,” said Mauermann, whose team peppered Kenosha netminder Tommy Laken with 51 shots on goal. “They made it a game in the third with two five-on-three power plays.”
Nonetheless, it was a strong start for the Bluebirds, who will be captained this season by the elder Perkins and McDougall.
Senior leaders who Mauermann said will be difference-makers include Justin Runde, Mike Money and Sam Drozdowicz.
Defensively, the Bluebirds have depth and experience with Tyler Elliott, Trevor Kelly, Harry Henschler, Seth France, and others.
“Our defensive core is a lot more confident in what we’ve got right now,” Mauermann said.
McDougall will be pushed by junior Jesse Heisz.
“We feel we’ve got two solid goaltenders,” Mauermann said. “And we’re trying to roll three lines as much as we can. It should be fun, with the potential of winning a few games.”
That quest continues today at the Beloit tournament, with Janesville facing Greendale at 11:15 a.m. and Beloit at 6:45 p.m.