Bluebirds advance to regional final

The Bluebirds are on a roll. 

Janesville’s co-op hockey team has won three straight games. 

“Our team has lots of energy, especially from the bench,” said junior Josh Hanekamp (#15). “We’re keeping things positive and the team plays well together.”

Today they head to Milwaukee to play the University School Wildcats in the regional final of the WIAA playoffs.  

The winner of today’s game moves on to the sectional and the round of 16.

The Bluebirds have a 15-10 record and only one senior, Kadin Garcia.

Despite their youth, Hanekamp says they have strong teamwork. 

“A lot of us have played together since we were 5 or 6, so we have good chemistry,” he said.

They will need chemistry and energy in their game against University School, which owns the second seed in the bracket.

“They’re the team to beat,” said junior Dylin Thong (#13). 

While the Wildcats will present a tough challenge, Hanekamp thinks that the Bluebirds’ busy schedule will keep them sharp. 

“USM is a good team,” he said, but Janesville’s recent wins should give them momentum. 

“Hopefully,” he said, their recent wins “keep us rolling.”

The Bluebirds defeated Beloit Memorial 8-2 on Saturday, Feb. 12. On Tuesday, Feb. 15, they defeated Kenosha 7-1 in the opening game of the WIAA regionals.

The game that got their current streak going was an 8-7 overtime win against Kettle Moraine on Feb. 10.

The Bluebirds are led by juniors Tyler Steuck and Ben Schaffner. 

Both are among the state’s most prolific scorers. They are tied for 6th in points in Wisconsin.

Steuck is 4th in goals scored; Schaffner is 9th in assists.

Against Beloit, Steuck scored a hat trick. 

In the 7 goals scored against Kenosha, Schaffner had a part in 6. He scored four times and assisted two other goals.

The Bluebirds will need everyone to bring home a regional champion plaque.