Janesville Bluebirds open season 3-0
Janesville is 3-0 to start the season and has scored 21 goals, despite a roster that includes only three seniors, along with three freshmen.
Mauermann believes he will learn a lot more about his team in the next three games, as the Bluebirds play Big Eight Conference favorite Verona and perennial powerhouse Middleton, along with a nonconference game against Oregon.
“We’ve had some success thus far because we’ve played kind of young teams, which has allowed us to take advantage of some mismatches,” Mauermann said. “And we’ve had the best defensemen on the ice in each game.
“But the competition is going to get a lot better, especially against Verona in our home opener. They’re going to be the elite of the Big Eight this season.”
Mauermann is high on defensemen Keaton Eichman and Dan Addie, both Janesville Craig juniors. Addie is coming off a stint with Team Wisconsin, while Eichman is a three-year starter for the Bluebirds.
“Anyone that knows hockey, knows how important it is to have defensemen that can move the puck up the ice,” Mauermann said. “Those two do it as well as anybody.”
Sophomore Trevor Kelley and junior Winn Lyons add quality depth on defense.
Drew Mussey, who notched a hat trick in the season opener, anchors the first line. Senior Tanner Woodman and freshman Connor Perkins join Mussey on the first line.
“We’re one injury away from being in a lot of trouble because we don’t have a lot of depth, but that first line should be productive if it stays healthy,” Mauermann said. “Mussey and Woodman work really well together, and Perkins is real skilled for a freshman.”
Senior Brett Lessner, along with juniors Bradan Perkins and Clay Simonson, make up the second line. The third line is currently a four-man rotation with junior Dane Tyler, sophomore Mike Money, and freshmen J.T, Smithback and Ethan Eno.
“Physically, we’re not going to intimidate anybody with our size,” Mauermann said. “But we’ve been moving the puck well and making good decisions on the ice.
“The key for us will be to play within ourselves, and to make sure everybody understands their role on the team.”
Mauermann believes he has two capable goaltenders in junior Tyler Lewis and sophomore Michael MacDougall.
“For the first three games, we’ve had the best goalie on the ice,” Mauermann said. “And it didn’t matter if it was Tyler or Michael out there. Those two are both capable of keeping us in games.”
(All home games at Janesville Ice Arena)
NOVEMBER: 29—At Oregon, 8 p.m.
DECEMBER: 1—Verona, 7 p.m.; 8—Middleton, 7 p.m.; 10—Madison West, 3 p.m.; 13—At Sun Prairie, 7 p.m.; 15—At Madison East/La Follette (Hartmeyer), 8 p.m.; 27—At Waukesha Catholic Memorial Tournament, TBD; 28—At Waukesha Catholic Memorial Tournament, TBD; 29—At Waukesha Catholic Memorial Tournament, TBD.
JANUARY: 5—At Madison Memorial (Madison Ice Arena), 8 p.m.; 7—Beloit Memorial, 3 p.m.; 12—At Middleton (Capitol Ice Arena), 8 p.m.; 14—At Milwaukee Marquette, 7 p.m.; 21—McFarland, 3 p.m.; 24—At Madison West (Madison Ice Arena), 8 p.m.; 31—Fond du Lac, 7 p.m.
FEBRUARY: 2—Sun Prairie, 7 p.m.; 4—Madison East/La Follette; 7—At Hartland Arrowhead, 6:30 p.m.; 9—At Verona (Eagle’s Nest), 7 p.m.; 11—Madison Memorial, 3:30 p.m.