Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jets lose lead, game Saturday night against Mountain Cats

DEARBORN, MI - The Metro Jets took a 2-1 lead over the Michigan Mountain Cats early in the second period, but the Mountain Cats scored the next two goals to skate to a 3-2 win Saturday night at Canfield Arena.

Mike Moroso (Macomb, Mich.) and Brett Grech (Hartland, Mich.) scored 1:18 apart in the middle frame (at 5:09 and 6:27) to give Metro a 2-1 lead at the time, but Jacob Endicott scored at 13:44 of the period and then Cody Thompson scored a power-play goal with 70 seconds remaining in the period in what would be the eventual game-winner.

Moroso's goal was his team-best third of the year.

Josh Foster scored the game's first goal at 11:14 of the first period.

For the Jets (1-4-0-0), Eric Trunick (Commerce Township, Mich.) started his third straight game in goal and finished with 33 saves.

Schuyler Ferguson made 33 stops for the Mountain Cats.

Metro is off until next Saturday night when it hosts the Flint Jr. Generals at 7:50 p.m. at Lakeland Arena. The Jets then head back to Dearborn the following afternoon for a 12:50 p.m. matinee with the Mountain Cats.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Metro coach reflects on long pro career

WATERFORD, MI – Jason Cirone is one of several Central States Hockey League head coaches that has professional hockey on his resume.

He’s also the only coach with more than 1,000 pro games to his credit, including three games in the National Hockey League.

In looking back on his career that spanned from 1991-2008, Cirone couldn’t help but realize that all the games and all the traveling were all a blur.

“It all went by so quick,” said Cirone, now the Metro Jets’ bench boss. “I literally went all over the world to so many places that I never would have gone, and I owe all those experiences to hockey. I mean, I went on vacation to Egypt and Africa and also went to Moscow, Latvia, Poland, all over Europe. Going all those places was so amazing. Just amazing.”

In looking at Cirone’s career stats, he played overseas for pro teams in Italy and Germany, in Canada and in the United States as far east as Rochester, N.Y., as far west as San Diego and Long Beach, Calif., and all throughout the Midwest.

Cirone played in the International Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, West Coast Hockey League and the Central Hockey League. During his second-to-last season in 2006-2007 with the CHL’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, he was a player-assistant coach. That primed him for an assistant’s job the past two years with the Motor City franchise in the North American Hockey League and ultimately, in Waterford with the Jets,

Cirone’s crowning achievement, though, came during the 1991-1992 season when he earned two different recalls to the Winnipeg Jets (now Phoenix Coyotes) of the NHL. Winnipeg had drafted Cirone in the third round (46th overall) in the 1989 NHL draft.

“Playing hockey and getting to the NHL was all I ever thought about growing up,” Cirone said. “My father and mother supported me so much and I was your typical Canadian kid skating in the backyard rink. I’d get up at five in the morning and skate, then go to school, come home and skate until dinner. I’d be at the dinner table with my skates on and then I’d go back out until it got dark.”

His first call-up to the NHL happened while he was playing in Quebec for the Moncton Hawks in the American Hockey League. Cirone drove to the old Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, took the warmup with the Jets, but didn’t dress for the game against the Maple Leafs.

“When I got the call, you would think I would have been more like, ‘I finally made it to the NHL,’” said Cirone. “But it was nothing like that. I thought more about if I was ready and that I hoped I wouldn’t embarrass myself. Once I got to Toronto, I was star-gazing, for sure.”

He was sent back to Moncton after the game, but didn’t stay there long.

“We were in Fredericton (N.B.) and had got in around two or three in the morning,” remembered Cirone. “I was told I had a 7 a.m. flight to Chicago. I didn’t sleep that night.”

And while he didn’t record a point in his brief NHL career, Cirone did record 338 pro goals and more than 700 assists. Those totals also include six seasons in Italy, a country where he holds a passport, and he also played for the Italian national team in the 2006 Olympics on its home turf in Torino.

“To play for Italy, you have to play in the country for two calendar years and I did that,” explained Cirone. “Besides the hockey, it was a great experience being over there. My daughter speaks and writes Italian extremely well and my wife actually has a job now as an Italian translator. It’s more my dad’s country, but I was still very proud to play for Italy.”

The last few years of his career were what he expected, but not necessarily what he wanted to face.

“Guys were faster and younger and I was older and facing physical problems,” admitted Cirone. “It was a lifestyle change when I retired and my son still asks each summer when I’m going to start training. I’m very happy with what I accomplished and am excited to see where this season takes us.”


The Jets traveled to Cincinnati last weekend and came away with a split of their two-game series with the Queen City Steam.

Saturday night, newly-acquired goalie Eric Trunick (Commerce Township, Mich.) made 41 saves in a 4-2 loss as Cameron Carolus tallied all four goals for Queen City.

Trunick was obtained from Cleveland last Friday for a future draft choice.

Matt Stirling (Dexter, Mich.) and Dan Hudson (Gregory, Mich.) scored for Metro.

“We finished the second strong and came out in the third and took the game to them,” Metro assistant coach Peter Flynn said. “We controlled the third, but then ran into penalty problems.”

Sunday afternoon, Trunick stopped 50 shots in a 7-4 win for the Jets, their first ‘W’ of the year.

“It’s good to get the first and good to see the guys put together a full game,” said Cirone. “They definitely earned the win and have finally seemed to have bought into what we’re trying to do here. We didn’t have one good line today; we had four good lines that were all over the ice.”

Mike Moroso (Macomb, Mich.) and Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney, Mich.) each scored twice, while Brian O’Loughlin (Franklin, Tenn.), Tommy Burns (Pinckney, Mich.) and Justin Bennett (Brighton, Mich.) scored the others.

Brett Grech (Hartland, Mich.) added three assists, Burns tacked on two helpers, and Bennett and Kilgore also added assists to have multi-point games.

This weekend, the Jets play just one game in heading to Canfield Arena in Dearborn, Mich., to play the Michigan Mountain Cats tonight at 7:50 p.m.

The Mountain Cats have won two of their first three games in their first season in the CSHL and also feature four former Jets players in forwards Erik Bachynsky (Windsor, Ont.), Paul Elezaj (Leonard, Mich.) and Brad Tunesi (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and defenseman Tyler Schofield (Clio, Mich.).


In addition to Trunick, the Jets also added defenseman Andrew Shalawylo over the weekend. Shalawylo, an 18-year-old defenseman from Clinton Township, Mich., played for the Grosse Pointe Wild Midget AA team last season.


Former Metro forward Sean Hogan (1996-1997) was hired over the summer as a volunteer assistant coach with Western Michigan University.

Hogan coached the Yellowstone Quake of the Northern Pacific Hockey League last year and for four years before that guided the Oakland University ACHA squad, winning two national titles over that span. He also won a national title as an assistant coach with OU prior to assuming the head coaching reins.

Photo by Deanna Bradford

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jets earn win No. 1 of season Sunday afternoon

CINCINNATI – The Metro Jets earned their first win of the season in a big way Sunday afternoon with a 7-4 victory on the road against the Queen City Steam.

Mike Moroso (Macomb, Mich.) and Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney, Mich.) led the way with two goals apiece for the Jets, while goaltender Eric Trunick (Commerce Township, Mich.) stopped 50 shots between the pipes.

“It’s good to get the first and good to see the guys put together a full game,” said Metro head coach Jason Cirone. “They definitely earned the win and have finally seemed to have bought into what we’re trying to do here. We didn’t have one good line today; we had four good lines that were all over the ice.”

Brian O’Loughlin (Franklin, Tenn.), Tommy Burns (Pinckney, Mich.) and Justin Bennett (Brighton, Mich.) scored the other goals for the Jets, now 1-3-0-0 on the young season.

Brett Grech (Hartland, Mich.) tacked on three assists in the win and Burns (two assists), Bennett and Kilgore added helpers to have multi-point games.

The Jets led 2-0 after the first period and 6-1 after the second.

“We came out hard and that’s what we needed to do,” added Kilgore. “Last night, we came out sluggish. Today, we kept working hard. We’ll celebrate this win until we get back home and then tomorrow night at practice, we’ll start preparing for next weekend.”

Eric Woodward, Andrew Nehring, Josh Stingley and Zach Olson scored for Queen City to go along with 24 combined saves from Oliver McNeill and Matt Leon in net.

Metro is now off until next Saturday night when they stay on the road to play the Michigan Mountain Cats at Canfield Arena in Dearborn, Mich., at 7:50 p.m.

Grech photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Carolus' four goals upend Jets Saturday night in Cincy

CINCINNATI - Cameron Carolus' four goals led the Queen City offense as the homestanding Steam defeated the Metro Jets, 4-2, Saturday night at Sports Plus.

The Jets had tied the game at 2-all late in the second period on a power-play goal by Dan Hudson (Gregory, Mich.) at the 19:01 mark, but then Carolus tallied two goals in the third period to put the game away.

"We finished the second strong and came out in the third and took the game to them," Metro assistant coach Peter Flynn said. "We controlled the third, but then we ran into penalty problems. Losing (captain Mike) Corder early hurt."

Corder was ejected after earning a slashing major at 15:06 of the first period.

As for Carolus, Flynn said nothing much should change Sunday.

"I just think we'll have to pay closer attention to that line," said Flynn.

Newly-acquired goalie Eric Trunick (pictured) made his Metro debut and finished with 41 saves. Trunick, a 17-year-old Commerce Township native, was picked up from Cleveland for a draft pick on Friday.

"I felt good, but I was a little nervous coming to a new team," said Trunick. "Not every goalie likes facing a lot of shots, but I do like staying busy. Every shot makes you better."

"Eric is a known entity in this league," said Flynn. "I coached him last year with Motor City. Tonight, he did an excellent job for us."

Matt Stirling (Dexter, Mich.) scored the Jets' first goal at 2:46 of the second period.

Matt Leon made 20 saves for the win in the Queen City net.

The two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

"Tomorrow is a brand new game," added Trunick. "We just have to go back in there, play our game and try and get a win."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cirone 'fortunate' to be coaching Jets

WATERFORD, MI – When Jason Cirone played his final junior hockey game for the Windsor Spitfires back in 1991, he sat in his locker room stall after the game and wondered what was next.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2008 and Cirone was again sitting in the locker room wondering what was next. His Italian national team had just been eliminated from the World Championships by France and for the first time in his career, Cirone wasn’t upset about a season coming to a close.

“That’s when I knew it was time,” said Cirone, now the Metro Jets’ head coach. “Nobody had ever said anything about retiring, but as I sat there in Quebec City, I had a sense of accomplishment. I had been asked to play another year in Flint (with the since-folded Generals of the International Hockey League), but my family had given enough of themselves to me that it was time to give back. When I told my wife, Kristen, that it was over, we argued back and forth and even now, my son asks me every summer when I’m going to start training.

“It’s been quite a lifestyle change since I retired, but it’s better for all of us. In hockey, you tend to be selfish a lot, but at the end of the day, your family is always there to give you endless love. For hockey, as I got older, it was harder to keep up and the physical strains were getting to be too much. I can honestly say that I have no regrets.”

When Cirone was about 10 years into his pro career, he set himself a goal that may have seemed farfetched at the time, but came to fruition at the 2008 World Championships. And it didn’t involve playing in the NHL, even though he did play three games for the Winnipeg Jets in 1991-1992.

“I always said that I wanted to play my last game close to home and I wanted that to be in Canada,” said Cirone. “I was fortunate in that both happened at the same time.”

Now behind the bench as a rookie head coach, the 39-year-old Toronto native has brought his no-nonsense style of coaching to the team and hopes to turn around Metro’s fortunes. Cirone started coaching the season after he retired and has brought valuable experience to Lakeland Arena.

“I was actually running a gym and the Motor City Machine (now Metal Jackets) had a coaching change in the middle of the season and the assistant there, Sean Clark (also a former Metro assistant coach), gave me a call and asked if I wanted to be his new assistant,” explained Cirone. “Then when the team changed ownership last year and brought in David Cole, I was fortunate enough to be retained for that following season. I wouldn’t have had the chances I’ve had if certain people wouldn’t have given me the chance – guys like Sean and (Metro owner-GM) Butch (Wolfe) here. I’ve just been very fortunate. Hockey has done so much for me that now, it’s time for me to give back to hockey.”

Giving back to hockey is one thing, but giving back to his family is just as important. Married for 16 years to Kristen (they eloped to Las Vegas in March 1994 while Cirone was finishing up the season with the IHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones), the couple has a 12-year-old daughter, Brooke, and a 10-year-old son, Mason.

“I give a lot of credit to my family, especially Kristen, for dealing with me being on the road playing so much,” Cirone said. “She’s a good woman and a great mom.

“Like I said, it’s time for me to give back.”

Watch for Part 2 of this extensive look at Jason Cirone in next week’s release.


The Jets opened their 22nd season in the CSHL last weekend with two losses.

Saturday night at home, the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks topped the Jets, 1-0, in a very tight game.

Allan Dowler (Oxford, Ohio) stopped 24 shots between the pipes for Metro and the Jets also held Cleveland scoreless in four power play chances.

Then Sunday afternoon, the Jets suffered a 7-2 setback on the road to the Toledo Cherokee.

Metro captain Mike Corder (Warren, Mich.) and Dan Hudson (Gregory, Mich.) scored late third period goals for the Jets, while Dowler and Mitchel Leist (White Lake, Mich.) combined for 38 saves in goal.

“There’s a lesson to be learned in every game,” said Cirone. “Saturday night, we worked hard, but didn’t win. I can’t say I was satisfied we lost, but we did play Cleveland hard. Sunday was just the opposite.”

This weekend, the Jets travel to suburban Cincinnati to play a pair against the Queen City Steam, a team that split their opening weekend with the Chicago Hitmen. Zach Olson had a three-point weekend for Queen City with a goal and two assists, while Matt Leon and Oliver McNeill each played a game in net and fared well.

Queen City coach Don Biggs is a former teammate of Cirone’s and to play against each other’s teams should be a special experience for both.

“Biggsy was one of the best captains I ever played for,” said Cirone. “Once I got older and became a captain, I incorporated certain tendencies he had as a captain into the way I was a leader. All I’ve heard about his team now is that they work extremely hard. This weekend will be a big measuring stick, but if they work as hard as I hear they do, I would hope our guys would see that and realize what can happen when you work hard.”

Last season, Metro split with the Steam in Cincinnati in early December and was also swept in two separate home games at Lakeland Arena.


Rookie forwards Matt Stirling (Dexter, Mich.) and Justin Bennett (Brighton, Mich.) will serve as alternate captains this season under Corder, now in his second season with the ‘C.’ … Leist is the second-youngest player in the CSHL this season. He doesn’t turn 16 under Oct. 29. Only Peoria Mustangs forward Josh Maciejewski (Sept. 20, 1995) is younger … Rookie defenseman Brian O’Loughlin (Franklin, Tenn.) is the first Tennessee native to play for the Jets since forward Matt Noe (Brentwood, Tenn.) played 31 games during the 2008-2009 season … Metro added defenseman Morgan James (Commerce Township, Mich.) this week and also acquired forward Tommy Burns (Pinckney, Mich.) from Flint for an undisclosed draft pick next year.


Jon Cooper, the head coach of the Jets’ 2001-2002 Silver Cup national Junior B championship team, led the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers to the Clark Cup last spring and then was hired in the offseason to coach the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jets downed in Toledo Sunday afternoon

TOLEDO, OH - The Metro Jets scored two goals late in the third period, but it wasn't enough as the Toledo Cherokee defeated the Jets, 7-2, Sunday afternoon at the Team Toledo Ice House.

Metro captain Mike Corder (18:37) and Dan Hudson (19:07) scored the visitor's goals, while Allan Dowler and Mitchel Leist shared time in net, combining for 38 saves.

Cameron Rossman and Toledo captain Chad Tickner each had a goal and two assists for the Cherokee (1-0-0-0). Zach Mielen made 20 stops for the win in goal.

Metro (0-2-0-0) heads to suburban Cincinnati next weekend to battle the Queen City Steam Sept. 17-18 at SportsPlus Ice.

Corder photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jets play well, but lose 1-0 in season opener Saturday

WATERFORD, MI - Colin McAuliffe's goal late in the first period was all Cleveland needed as the Jr. Lumberjacks skated to a 1-0 win over the Metro Jets at Lakeland Arena Saturday night in both team's Central States Hockey League opener.

On the goal, Tyler Preston won an offensive zone draw back to McAuliffe, who put the shot over the left shoulder of Metro goalie Allan Dowler at the 15:26 mark.

Other than the goal, the game was pretty quiet and uneventful.

"I'm not pleased about losing, but from the time I got here and with the players we've brought in, I think it's a step forward," Jets head coach Jason Cirone said. "But by no means am I satisfied."

Shots on goal were even at 25 apiece.

Mike Parda earned the win in goal for Cleveland with the shutout.

Metro held the Jr. Lumberjacks scoreless in four power play chances.

The Jets will now re-group and head to Toledo for a 2:30 matinee Sunday afternoon, also the Cherokee's season opener.

"You go home and you forget about tonight," said Cirone. "Tomorrow, we'll wake up, the sun will come up, and hopefully, we go to Toledo and we get our first win."

After the Toledo game, the Jets are on the road for two at Queen City Sept. 18-19 and then for a single game in Burton, Mich., against the Michigan Mountain Cats on Sept. 25 before coming home on Oct. 2 to host Flint.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Metro Jets 2010-2011 Season Preview

The Metro Jets pretty much have an all-new team this season, but for the staff and players, that is most definitely reason for optimism.

Being mired in the lower echelon of the Central States Hockey League standings the past couple years is in the past and with the crop of new players, along with three returnees from the 2009-2010 squad, moving up the standings is one goal the Jets think is very attainable this season.

“I think a realistic expectation is to make the playoffs and move five players up to the next level,” said first-year head coach Jason Cirone, an assistant coach last year with the Motor City Metal Jackets of the North American Hockey League. “I will lean on all the players nightly. We have a team where everyone will have to show up every night for us to be successful.”

Returning defenseman and captain Mike Corder agrees with Cirone.

“My expectations are that Coach Cirone will bring a different perspective to the organization and that we will all work together to make the Jets a competitive team, game in and game out,” said Corder. “The team is looking good and we have a lot of potential. With the group of guys this year, I feel we can exceed our potential as a whole.”

And being the one with the ‘C’ on his jersey, Corder plans to take that role to the fullest extent.

“I plan to motivate my teammates by leading by example,” Corder explained. “I will work hard and I will expect that they will work hard. I want the team to gel and become a brotherhood where everyone looks out for everyone else. I will do what it takes to get this group to work hard, play hard, and become a team on the ice, off the ice, in the locker room, during workouts, you name it.”

Another returning skater, forward Mike Denston (White Lake, Mich.), wants his second year with the Jets to be leaps and bounds better than last season.

“Last year’s season has brought my motivation to a new level,” said Denston. “It wasn't fun losing all those games, especially when we had talent. This year, we have kids who can play the game and want to be here and that has motivated me to push the envelope and try to be better myself.”

“Last season, we fell short of our goal of making the playoffs,” added Corder, a 20-year-old native of Warren, Mich. “Personally, it is not easy to relive that disappointment. Setting realistic goals for myself to help improve the team and achieve the overall goals is not difficult. Remembering last season will help push me to stay focused on what is necessary to achieve the team goals.”

Leading the team along with Corder will be alternate captains Matt Stirling (Dexter, Mich.) and Justin Bennett (Brighton, Mich.), both forwards.

On the blue line, rookies Blake Blaha (East Lansing, Mich.), Jordan Reames (Essexville, Mich.), Ian Costello (Lansing, Mich.), Brian O’Loughlin (Franklin, Tenn.) and Brennan Borowiak (Gaylord, Mich.) will join Corder and be thrown right into the mix.

Up front, veteran Brett Grech (Hartland, Mich.) is back for his final season of junior hockey. Travis Hargett (Clarkston, Mich.) is just 16 years old and will be one of the youngest players in the CSHL this year. Erik Bachynsky (Windsor, Ont.) played the last two years for Northland College, a Division III school, and will be counted on for leadership and to mentor players like Hargett, Josh Beleski (Southgate, Mich.), Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney, Mich.), Joe Matyaszek (Taylor, Mich.), Matt Elswick (Gaylord, Mich.) and Mike Moroso (Macomb, Mich.).

Getting two wins in their two-game exhibition set with the Flint Jr. Generals three weeks ago, the Metro staff had the chance during those two games to evaluate the younger players and see where their strengths lie.

Rookie forward Dan Hudson, an 18-year-old from Gregory, Mich., scored three goals in the two games with Flint and showed he has the ability to be a pure goal-scorer in the CSHL.

And while there may be reason to be giddy, Cirone knows the regular season means more than two pre-season contests.

“We have a good crop of rookies and expect them to perform every night,” said Cirone. “Let’s wait and see which ones decide to be impact players.”

Nineteen-year-old goalie Allan Dowler (Oxford, Ohio) is expected to shoulder the workload in net.

“I'm very excited about all the new players this year,” Denston said. “Everyone looked good in our exhibition games and if we all do what were told to do, then we'll be a very good team. I want to give it everything I got and hope that everyone else will want to do the same.”

The Jets open their 22nd season in the CSHL tomorrow night at 7:50 p.m. at Lakeland Arena against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. All tickets are just $5.