JANESVILLE, Wis. — The Coulee Region Chill were in position to steal home-ice advantage in their Midwest Division semifinal series.
But the top-Janesville Jets weren’t about to give it up easily. And in the end, they didn’t.
Blake Wareham scored twice for Janesville, Frank Sullivan followed with a game-winning goal at 17:05 of the third period, and the Jets captured a Game 1 victory over Coulee Region on Friday at Janesville Ice Arena, 3-2.
And it couldn’t have started much worse for the Chill.
With just 14 seconds off the clock, Wareham opened the scoring with just his third goal of the season for Janesville, an unassisted marker, to give the Jets an immediate lead.
But 10 minutes later, the Chill responded with an equalizer from their leading scorer.
At 10:38 of the first period, Caleb Schroer — who leads Coulee Region with 68 points on the year — scored an unassisted marker of his own, this time on the power play, to make it 1-1. Then, just over five minutes later, NAHL Defenseman of the Month Steven Quagliata netted his first goal of the playoffs at 15:18, assisted by Joey Sofo, to give Coulee Region its first lead of the postseason.
But that was it for Coulee Region’s scoring, and the Jets were just getting started.
Wareham buried his second of the game less than five minutes into the second period. And with fewer than three minutes remaining in the third, Frank Sullivan scored the winner — another unassisted goal — to clinch a 1-0 series lead for the Midwest Division champions.
Janesville outshot Coulee Region 41-32.