Thursday, December 29, 2011

Timing is right for Beleski to make an impact

WATERFORD, MI – Josh Beleski had a choice to make last season – come play for the Metro Jets or stay in his hometown of Southgate and play his senior year for the Anderson High School team.

He chose high school and Jets coach Jason Cirone was fine with that decision.

“We drafted him and felt he was ready to make the jump to juniors last season,” Cirone said. “He made a personal decision and wanted to go play high school hockey and we respected that. This year, he’s shown he wants to be here and really been a consistent, steady force for us.”

This year, the 18-year-old Beleski is seventh in team scoring with seven goals (three on the power play) and eight assists for 15 points in 22 games.

“Josh is a guy I can count on in every situation and I know he’s going to do his job,” said Cirone. “He’s been doing it defensively by blocking shots on the penalty kill and also playing on the power play. In certain situations, you usually have kids who can only do certain things, but I think Josh does a lot of things very well and that’s why he plays in all situations.”

Cirone said Beleski has all the makings to be on a North American Hockey League roster next season.

“If he keeps working hard, I think North American League teams will start to take notice,” Cirone said. “Josh is dedicated to improving his game and I think he can definitely play at the next level. It all depends on how much he wants it and from how he’s played so far this season, I can see him playing up there next year.”


The Jets are on holiday break, but will get back to practice later this week.

In their last game before the break on Dec. 18, the Flint Jr. Generals topped the Jets 7-6 in a shootout at Iceland Arena in Flint.

Metro’s next game action is at home against Flint on Saturday, Jan. 7 and then the following afternoon in Battle Creek.


With a slew of healthy forwards and Tim Perks ready to make his season debut after suffering a shoulder injury before the season, moves may be on the horizon for the Jets.

“We’re very forward-heavy and we need to do something,” said Cirone. “We’ll probably be moving some bodies in the next few weeks.”

The NA3HL trade deadline is the first week in February.


The Kalamazoo Wings signed Dustin Cloutier, a forward who played for the Jets in 2003-04, last week to an ECHL contract.

Cloutier, a 25-year-old Berkley native, joins the K-Wings after starting this season in the Southern Professional Hockey League with the Augusta RiverHawks where he posted 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 20 games.

Before turning pro, Cloutier was a four-year standout at Division I Bentley College (2007-11).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jets' Reid earns NAHL tender with Mustangs

WATERFORD, MI – Metro Jets defenseman Adam Reid has excelled in his first season in the North American 3 Hockey League and the New Mexico Mustangs of the North American Hockey League have taken notice.

This past week, the Mustangs offered a tender to Reid for the 2012-13 season and the 19-year-old happily accepted.

A tender is a contract of sorts a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted eight tenders - plus or minus any trades - which become active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft.

“The tender opportunity came up at the showcase in Chicago the first week of December,” explained Reid, a Kalamazoo native who lived the past 14 years in Georgetown, Tex. “After our first game against Quad City, (Jets coach Jason) Cirone said that New Mexico was inquiring about me and that they'd be watching me again in our game the next day. After the second game, their scout and assistant coach Nick Shackford approached me with the offer.”

“I’m very proud of Adam,” said Cirone. “We’re in the business of developing and advancing our players and I think this speaks volumes in Adam’s case. He only played four games of midget hockey last year dealing with a concussion, but came in this year and has been one of our most consistent defensemen.”

Reid has also done his homework on the Mustangs, a second-year NAHL franchise coached by Jason Kersner.

“I know the Mustangs are a solid organization with good ownership and management,” said Reid. “I also know they started out a little rough this season, but have been turning it around lately with all their roster changes. They're only a few points out of the playoffs right now and expect to make it. Cirone also knows their coaches pretty well and has respect for them, and I have a lot of trust in his judgment.”

While the tender doesn’t guarantee Reid a spot in Rio Rancho next fall, he’s going to do all he can to add his name to the growing list of Jets’ advancements.

”To prepare to make the team next year, I want to gain a little more weight and become faster and stronger,” Reid said. “I also have several tactical things that Shackford and Cirone have said I need to improve on.

”Cirone and the Jets get a lot of credit for helping me with this opportunity. Having just missed the (NAHL’s) Port Huron (Fighting Falcons) cut last summer, I think I was a little too confident coming into this league, but Cirone brought me back to reality and showed me all of my deficiencies and how to fix them. He has been a tremendous help.”

This season, Reid has four assists and 27 penalty minutes in 24 games for Metro.

The Jets (15-11-0-1) are off until Saturday, Jan. 7 when they host the Flint Jr. Generals at Lakeland Arena.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baker enjoying time with hometown Jets

WATERFORD, MI – John Baker is experiencing a homecoming of sorts this season with the Metro Jets.

As a Waterford native, Baker has come home for his last season of junior hockey and said the opportunity to play for the team he followed growing up was a chance he couldn’t turn down.

Last season, Baker played out west for the Yellowstone Quake of the Northern Pacific Hockey League and then started this season with the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League before coming to the Jets, the team that selected him in June’s NA3HL draft.

“I feel lucky to be able to play for the Jets,” said the 20-year-old defenseman. “Junior hockey is a great experience and what better place to play than in your hometown. I think the team has really turned its name around since (Jason) Cirone has been coaching. I remember seeing the Jets grow up winning nationals (in 2002) and see them go through some ups and downs. I'm glad I'm playing here and I feel like this year is the year to restore the team and have a nice winning season and make a big playoff run.

“There's no doubt in my mind that our team can't compete with every team in our league. I feel like we have played well, but nobody has seen us play our best yet. I feel like the second half is going to be really exciting to see how talented the team can be and how dangerous we can be if we’re all going.”

On and off the ice, Baker said it’s been fun to re-connect with players he played with or against in high school and has been “the time of my life.”

“Our team chemistry is different than any other team I've ever been on,” Baker said. “I think it helps us a lot playing with local guys. I've played with a majority of the team growing up and honestly our team chemistry is unreal. Playing with guys like (Chris) Hellebuyck, who I played high school hockey with, I feel like we just connect. Playing a year of juniors last season with (Will) Shier, (Branden) Morganroth and (Mike) MacKinnon (with Yellowstone) has made us more than just teammates. We’re all pretty much best friends on the team and there's nobody we don't not get along with. We can all have fun and joke around.”

As for his role with Metro, Baker plays the vast majority back on the blue line, but can play forward if need be.

“I try my best to do whatever I can to keep us in a game and battle in the corners and get under the other team’s skin,” explained Baker. “I think as a defenseman, I am our most offensive defenseman of the group and can contribute, but it’s all coach’s call if he wants me to play a few shifts on forward and bring some energy with a couple big hits; I like to do that, too.”

Baker isn’t sure if this will be his last season of competitive hockey, but if it is, he’ll have no hard feelings and will also have his hockey apparel company to fall back on.

When looking ahead, Baker is as realistic as he can be.

“If I can play more hockey next year, I will for sure be playing, but if not, then I'm just planning on working,” Baker said. “I’m hoping the rest of the season goes well and I keep progressing. I still think we can play better and I think I can still improve even though it’s my last year. I'm not going to have any regrets at the end of this year and with the amount of 91s and 92s, I know we can make it far this season with the talent and heart our team has.”


Forward Matt Stemkoski saw time on defense against Flint and fared well.

“Stemmer is a very versatile player for us,” said Cirone. “He played defense the first period, then forward the second and back on D in the third. There were no complaints from him and that shows the type of leader he is. He just wants to do what it takes to help this team win.”


Goaltender Colin Greeley was in net for four of the Jets’ seven wins in 2008-09 and for the past two seasons, the 19-year-old Howell native has played for Leamington.

Greeley was drafted by the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit in 2008.

Thus far this season for the Flyers, Greeley is 10-5-1-0 with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jets rally, but fall in a shootout Sunday in Flint

FLINT, MI - The Metro Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead Sunday afternoon in Flint, only to see the Jr. Generals score the next six.

No matter, the Jets scored the next four to tie the game at 6-all.

After the five-minute overtime didn't solve anything, the game went to a shootout where Flint escaped with a 7-6 win at Iceland Arena.

"Flint is a good hockey team and I believe we're a good hockey team," said Jets coach Jason Cirone. "We usually have a cleaner game against them, but sooner or later, you have defensive breakdowns and both teams have a lot of guys that can score goals. That's what tonight was - a lot of breakdowns and a lot of goals."

Mike MacKinnon and Josh Beleski staked the Jets to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Cody Damon answered with two of his own to send the game into the first intermission tied at 2-2.

In the second, Hayden Hanson, Anthony Terzo, Luke Dmytro and James Odom made it 6-2 Flint.

Metro starting goalie Dillon Kelley was pulled after Terzo's goal for Devin Williams, but went back in after Dmytro's goal.

Cameron Bazin made it 6-3 at 19:34 and then as time expired, Chris Hellebuyck scored to bring the Jets to within a pair.

"I thought overall that Cam was our catalyst and he's the one that really got it started by scoring the goal and drawing a penalty at the same time," said Cirone. "With him making that play happen and then with our power play stepping up at the end of the period, I thought our kids did a great job responding."

Beleski and Matt Stirling scored the only goals in the third period, making it a 6-6 game.

Flint came close to winning the game late in the third and in the overtime as co-captain Warren Carter hit the crossbar twice behind Kelley.

In the shootout, Flint goalie Ben Myers stopped Steve Klisz, Doug Andrews and MacKinnon. Hellebuyck was the only player to score.

Jr. Generals co-captain Andrew Lay, Richard Jansson and Carter solved Kelley, whose only save came on Eddie Osowski's attempt.

Kelley finished with 34 saves, while Williams had three.

Myers earned the win with a 26-save outing.

The Jets (15-11-0-1) now break for the holidays and return to action on Jan. 7 at Lakeland Arena against Flint. Metro finishes the first half of the season with as many wins as it had all of last season and in third place in the NA3HL's East Division, 10 points behind second-place Flint.

"I'm actually welcoming the break," said Cirone. "We have a lot of first-year juniors that are finding out that junior hockey is a grind and I think this is going to be refreshing to them. I think it'll give them time to reflect and get a little bit of rest and get ready for the second half."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Toledo rallies to top Jets Friday night

TOLEDO, OH - The Metro Jets took a 2-1 lead into the third period Friday night, but the Toledo Cherokee scored twice in the final period to come away with a 3-2 win at the Team Toledo Ice House.

Doug Andrews and Zach Mohr scored in the second period for Metro, who saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.

In net, Devin Williams finished with 32 saves.

The Jets (15-11-0-0) finish out the 2011 portion of the schedule Sunday afternoon in Flint. Game time is set for 2:20 p.m.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Metro puts 11 on the board in Queen City romp

WATERFORD, MI - The Metro Jets won their third straight game in completing a two-game sweep of the Queen City Steam with an 11-3 win Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.

All but two players recorded at least a point for the Jets, who with their 15th win equalled their win total from all of last season and are nearing the combined win total of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons (17).

Justin Shureb (two goals, two assists), Steve Klisz (two goals, two assists) and Mike MacKinnon (goal, three assists) had four-point games, while Cameron Bazin (three assists), Travis Hargett (two goals, assist) and Zach Mohr (goal, two assists) recorded three points apiece.

In goal, Devin Williams finished with 28 saves and also drew an assist on Klisz's first goal.

Jordan Jones, Chris Hellebuyck and Matt Stemkoski added a goal apiece in the win. For Hellebuyck, it was his seventh goal over his last six games.

Jets captain Tommy Kilgore chipped in two assists.

"This was a coming out party for the whole team," said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. "I told the guys that one line can't win a hockey game and all four lines are getting the job done right now. Our six defensemen are playing well and we're getting good goaltending."

Metro (15-10-0-0) plays in Toledo on Friday and then in Flint next Sunday before breaking for the holidays.

Next home game for the Jets is on Jan. 7 against Flint.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bazin's four-point night leads Jets past Queen City

WATERFORD, MI - Cameron Bazin scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Metro Jets over the Queen City Steam, 6-3, Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

The Jets have now won two straight games and three of their last four.

John Baker (goal, assist) and Travis Hargett (two assists) each had two-point games for Metro, while Dillon Kelley stopped 25 shots for the win between the pipes.

Chris Hellebuyck scored his team-leading 17th goal to go with singles from Steve Klisz and Matt Stirling.

Newly-signed defenseman Trevor Hillman made his Jets debut and assisted on Bazin's first goal.

Metro (14-10-0-0) and Queen City finish up their series tomorrow at 11:50 a.m.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Defenseman Reid getting noticed in Waterford

WATERFORD, MI - When Adam Reid is on his game, he gets noticed for one of two reasons.

Either the Metro Jets defenseman from Georgetown, Tex., is physical against the opposing team or he plays a steady game that he doesn’t get noticed at all.

In other words, when Reid is on his game, he can be as good as any blueliner in the North American 3 Hockey League.

“Adam is starting to realize that when he’s physical, that’s when he’s at his best,” Jets head coach Jason Cirone said. “I think he played his best stretch of games this week (at the NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Darien, Ill.). He only played four games last year dealing with a concussion, so for him to get up to speed at this level is a slow progress, but he’s progressing and improving everyday.”

Reid skated for the Russell Stover Midget Major AAA team last season in Kansas City only to see his season derailed early on. Now getting another opportunity has made Reid grateful for the time he has spent so far with the Jets.

“Before this season, I didn't really know much about the NA3HL other than its existence and affiliation with the NAHL,” said Reid. “Looking back, I suppose it was a shot in the dark joining this league because I really didn't know what I was getting into. I just wanted to play hockey. But now, in retrospect, I am really happy I joined.”

This past summer, the 19-year-old Reid went to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons’ tryout camp at Hazel Park Ice Arena and while he thought he impressed enough to earn a spot with the NAHL team, it wasn’t meant to be.

“Since I was sidelined for essentially the entirety of last season, I didn't have exposure and was trying to make the most of some NAHL opportunities,” Reid said. “After the camp, (Port Huron coach) Bill Warren called me and said I didn't make their roster, but he had some positive feedback and mentioned Jason's name. A couple days later, I got a call from Jason asking me to play for him.”

“What I liked most about Adam at the Port Huron camp was that he wasn’t the biggest or the toughest on the ice, but he didn’t back down from anything,” added Cirone. “When Bill called and asked if I had room for him, I jumped at the chance.”

In Texas, where Reid lived from 1997-2010 after his father took a job with Dell Computers, he played for the Austin Roadrunners, a AA program.

“We would mostly travel to places like Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City,” explained Reid. “My early hockey influences were guys like Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. I remember watching them win the back-to-back Stanley Cups when I was just five or six.”

One of two Texas natives on the Metro roster this season (forward Tim Wlodkowski is the other), Reid said this season’s homecoming of sorts is “a very comfortable environment.”

”I didn’t know Timmy prior to this season,” said Reid. “He's from Katy, a suburb of the Houston area, which I am familiar with, but I was living north of Austin at the time. It does help having a fellow Texan on the team, but most of my extended family is up here.”

Aside from Texas, Reid and his family also lived in Singapore from 2005-08. No worries, though, Reid found a local rink. Lucky for him, he also had his skates with him.

“I played hockey there in a beer league with other expatriates,” said Reid.

In 20 games so far this year, Reid has two assists, but is hoping his stay-at-home game will get him noticed by NAHL teams.

“I think my strengths on the ice are my size and skating ability,” said Reid. “I am very confident in my skating, but I have learned that my mind is by far my biggest asset if I use it correctly. My biggest short-term goal is to dress in a game in the NAHL this season should the opportunity present itself. I also want to be someone that my teammates can trust both on and off the ice. My long-term goal is to just see what my limits are. I would love to play college hockey in some form, but ultimately, I want to see how far I can take this.

“If it isn't in the cards for me, then I want to be able to look back and know I did everything I could.”


The Jets played four games in as many days this week at the showcase in the Chicago suburbs, going 2-2 along the way.

Metro lost to the Quad City Jr. Flames, 8-4, on Sunday, topped the Peoria Mustangs, 2-1, on Monday, was edged by the Minnesota Flying Aces, 4-3, on Tuesday and then defeated the North Iowa Bulls, 4-3, in a shootout on Wednesday.

Chris Hellebuyck scored twice for the Jets, while captain Tommy Kilgore had a goal and an assist against Quad City. Steve Klisz notched the other goal for Metro.

“I think we had more chances than Quad City, but we couldn’t finish and they scored on their chances,” said Cirone. “We had 38 shots on goal, so offense isn’t our problem, never has been at all this season. I thought our defense maybe could have made better decisions with the puck and our goaltending could have been better.”

Dillon Kelley made 31 saves in goal for the Jets.

Zach Mohr scored both goals, including the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the third period, to pace the Metro attack against Peoria. Devin Williams picked up the win in goal making 24 saves.

“That was a good bounce-back win for us,” said Cirone. “I thought Devin played really well, too.”

Even in defeat against the Flying Aces, Cirone found a way to put a positive spin on the contest.

“I thought this game was the best of the four,” Cirone said. “Like in the Quad City game, we out-chanced them and outworked them, but we couldn’t finish. I think we had two breakaways and hit two posts. With a little luck and if our guys started to bear down a little bit, I think we win that game.”

John Baker, Mike MacKinnon and Matt Stemkoski tallied for the Jets. Williams posted another 24-win outing in goal.

Wrapping up the event, Hellebuyck scored three goals, including the deciding goal in Metro’s first shootout of the season.

Travis Hargett recorded the Jets’ other goal and Kelley finished with 33 saves. Kelley also stopped three of the four Bulls’ shooters in the shootout.

“Dillon Kelley won that game for us,” said Cirone. “We weren’t prepared at all and maybe that was with the fact we were playing our fourth game. We weren’t mentally ready and that carried over into the warmup.”

With five goals during the week, Hellebuyck now has a team-best 16 on the season.

“I don’t want to say that Chris stepped up because he’s played that way all season and is a guy I’ve come to rely on all season long,” said Cirone. “I think you can also put Doug Andrews in that category with the way he’s been. I don’t think these guys stepped up this week, but they for sure didn’t step down.”

The showcase gave Cirone a chance to meet with scouts and to renew acquaintances with people from the hockey world.

“We saw a lot of different faces this week,” Cirone said. “We also got to play teams we don’t play during the season. We get tired of playing Flint and Cleveland as much as we do, so seeing new teams was a plus for us this week.”

The Jets (13-10-0-0) host the Queen City Steam at Lakeland Arena this weekend. Game time is 7:40 p.m. Saturday night and 11:50 a.m. on Sunday.

“Queen City always plays hard,” said Cirone. “We’ll need to be ready.”


Connor Hellebuyck, younger brother of Chris Hellebuyck and one of the Jets’ tenders last offseason, is playing for the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes this season and recently committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for next year.

Hellebuyck, 18, has distinguished himself as one of the NAHL’s best players this season, as he currently leads all NAHL goaltenders in save percentage (.939), ranks eleventh in goals-against average (2.29) and ranks third in saves (728), fourth in minutes played (1232:33) and is 8-9-4 in 21 starts.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hellebuyck. “Just to sit and think of what’s being offered to you, the situation I’m in [with UMass-Lowell] is phenomenal.”

The Jets will have their other first-round pick from the 2011 NA3HL draft in the lineup this weekend as defenseman Trevor Hillman was signed Thursday.

Hillman, a 17-year-old from Beverly Hills, was taken third overall in June out of the Detroit Falcons 16U team, just one pick before forward Justin Shureb.


Jon Elliott, the second-leading scorer with the Jets during the 2009-10 season, is playing his second season with the Cumberland Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League.

The 20-year-old Elliott, an alternate captain with Cumberland, is fourth in team scoring with eight goals and 22 points in 35 games.

Elliott, a Birmingham native who played his high school hockey at Brother Rice, recorded 15 goals and 26 points while playing in all 48 games back in ’09-10.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hellebuyck scores three to lead Jets over North Iowa

DARIEN, IL – Chris Hellebuyck scored three goals, including the deciding goal in the shootout, as the Metro Jets defeated the North Iowa Bulls, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon on the final day of the NAHL Showcase Tournament at the Darien Sportsplex.

Travis Hargett recorded the Jets’ other goal and Dillon Kelley finished with 33 saves in goal. Kelley also stopped three of the four Bulls’ shooters in the shootout.

The Jets (13-10-0-0) now have two days off before hosting the Queen City Steam at Lakeland Arena this weekend. Game time is 7:40 p.m. Saturday night and 11:50 a.m. on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flying Aces score late, hang on to beat Metro on Day 3

DARIEN, IL – The Minnesota Flying Aces scored a late goal and edged the Metro Jets, 4-3, Tuesday afternoon on Day 3 of the NAHL Showcase Tournament at the Darien Sportsplex.

Chad Frost scored his first goal of the season for the Jets, while Mike MacKinnon and Matt Stemkoski tallied the other goals.

Tyler Pionk’s goal at 13:44 snapped a 3-3 tie for the Flying Aces and the Jets were unable to find the equalizer.

In goal, Devin Williams stopped 24 shots for Metro.

The Jets (12-10-0-0) conclude the Showcase with an 11 a.m. (CST) game Wednesday against the North Iowa Bulls.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jets beat Peoria for first win at Showcase

DARIEN, IL – The Metro Jets moved to 1-1 at the NA3HL Showcase Tournament at the Darien Sportsplex with a 2-1 win Monday morning over the Peoria Mustangs.

Zach Mohr scored both goals, including the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the third period, to pace the Metro attack.

Devin Williams picked up the win in goal making 24 saves.

Next up for the Jets (12-9-0-0) is a Tuesday afternoon matchup with the Minnesota Flying Aces. Game time is 12:30 p.m. CST

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quad City doubles Jets in Showcase opener

DARIEN, IL – The Metro Jets opened the NA3HL Showcase Tournament at the Darien Sportsplex with an 8-4 loss Sunday night to the Quad City Jr. Flames.

Chris Hellebuyck scored twice for the Jets, while captain Tommy Kilgore had a goal and an assist. Steve Klisz notched the other goal for Metro.

“I think we had more chances than Quad City, but we couldn’t finish and they scored on their chances,” said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. “We had 38 shots on goal, so offense isn’t our problem, never has been at all this season. Tonight, I thought our defense maybe could have made better decisions with the puck and our goaltending could have been better. There will be a couple lineup changes tomorrow, a few new faces in the lineup.”

Dillon Kelley made 31 saves in goal for the Jets.

Next up for the Jets (11-9-0-0) is a Monday morning matchup with the Peoria Mustangs. Game time is 9:30 a.m. CST

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wlodkowski improving quietly, but in strides, for Jets

Tim Wlodkowski
may not show up on the score sheet on a game-by-game basis, but the little things he does far exceed goals and assists.

Wlodkowski does have a goal and three assists in 17 games thus far, but aside from that, statistics aren’t kept for the intangibles he brings to the table for the Metro Jets.

“He’s probably our most under-appreciated player,” said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. “He works hard and he does all the little things that help a team win. I don’t think he gets enough recognition for what he does, but I notice him and so does the rest of the team.”

Before his father’s job took the family down to Katy, Tex., Wlodkowski grew up in Michigan. His family still in the Lone Star State, he now lives in Riverview with his grandparents.

“I think it’s been a good season so far,” said the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Wlodkowski. “I think I keep improving each week and working harder. Before this season, I didn’t know a whole lot about the North American 3 Hockey League. I just knew that Jason was the coach of the Jets and that he was interested in having me play for him. It’s nice living with my grandparents, too, because I don’t really get to see them a lot, but now that I live there, I get to spend time with them.”

Wlodkowski, now 19, played high school hockey in Texas and initially got into hockey in Michigan watching his father play.

“My dad was my big influence growing up and his dedication to make me a better hockey player influenced me a lot,” said Wlodkowski.

Defenseman Adam Reid is also a Texas native with the Jets, a Georgetown native who grew up in Kalamazoo.

When told of Cirone’s “under-appreciated” comment, Wlodkowski felt a sense of humility.

“I feel as though that I keep improving each week and I just leave it all on the ice every game without complaining about anything because that’s just not the player I am,” he said. “And the shifts I do get, I make sure I give it all I got.”

In the model of hard work paying off, Wlodkowski said his short-term goal this season is to “get some time in the NAHL and be up there for good next season.”

After that, Wlodkowski is eyeing college hockey.


With a full roster, despite injuries to key players like Jake Schlacht and Zach Schlacht and Tim Perks nearing his season debut, Cirone said changes may be coming shortly to the Jets’ roster.

“I think what our problem is right now is that we have a lot of good hockey players that I’m trying to find a lot of ice time for,” Cirone said. “I think we’re going to have to make a couple moves in the next few weeks to move some bodies and get some guys some playing time elsewhere.”

Goalie Ethan Loo (Raleigh, N.C.) was released last weekend. He had not seen game action this year. Williams is expected to be in Waterford the rest of the season after dressing for several games recently as a backup for the Otters.


Jon Cooper, the head coach of the 2002 Jets’ Silver Cup Junior B national championship team, is currently in his second season as head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Prior to joining the Admirals, Cooper led the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers to a USHL championship in 2010 and the NAHL’s St. Louis Bandits to two straight NAHL titles in 2007 and 2008.

Cooper has also spent time behind the bench internationally, most recently serving as the assistant coach for the USA U-18 team that competed in the 2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He won a silver medal as head coach of the USA U-17 team that participated in the 2007 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic and was named a finalist for the 2007 United States Olympic Committee’s Development Coach of the Year.

Cooper’s assistant coach in Norfolk, Mike Flanagan, was formerly coach and GM of the Grand Rapids Jr. Owls (now the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution) in the NA3HL (then known as the Central States Hockey League).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Klisz scores late, Jets hang on to top Toledo Sunday

WATERFORD, MI - Steve Klisz scored his team-best 13th goal of the season with six minutes left in the third period and the Metro Jets held on to defeat the Toledo Cherokee, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.

Mike MacKinnon had given the Jets a 3-2 lead at 8:23 of the third, only to have Charles Kingston tie the game for Toledo 44 seconds later.

The Jets (11-8-0-0) played with a short bench after a handful of players were benched for arriving late to practice Saturday and defenseman Andrew Shalawylo left the game with an upper-body injury in the middle of the second period.

"We played with a skeleton crew and when guys are late getting to practice or miss practice, you don't play," Metro head coach Jason Cirone said. "I think that shows disrespect to teammates and me when that happens. I thought the kids that played today were unbelievable, especially our goalie (Dillon Kelley), who I think is finally recognizing what it takes to be a junior hockey player."

Kelley made 29 saves for his fourth win of the season, while Austyn Roudebush finished with 26 stops for Toledo.

Chris Hellebuyck and Josh Beleski scored the other Jets goals and captain Tommy Kilgore chipped in with two assists.

"We played the exact game we played last Wednesday night in Flint," said Cirone. "There was no panic and I thought we dominated for the first two periods and even when we took the lead in the third, I didn't think we played as well as we could have played."

The Jets are off until next Sunday when they travel to Darien, Ill., to play in the Combat Hockey NA3HL Showcase, starting a stretch of six games in eight days. Metro will play the Quad City Jr. Flames (Sun. Dec. 4, 4:30 p.m. CST), Peoria Mustangs (Mon. Dec. 5, 9:30 a.m.), Minnesota Flying Aces (Tues. Dec. 6, 12:30 p.m.) and North Iowa Bulls (Weds. Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m.) at the Darien Sportsplex.

"I think four wins is a realistic goal and I wouldn't want anything less," said Cirone. "Hopefully, our work ethic from the past two games will carry over into the showcase."

Metro will host the Queen City Steam Dec. 10-11 at Lakeland.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jets play well, but lose Thanksgiving Eve in Flint

FLINT, MI - The Flint Jr. Generals defeated the Metro Jets, 5-2, Wednesday night at Flint Iceland Arena.

Metro head coach Jason Cirone wasn't the least bit upset after the game, though, instead praising his team for playing "a heck of a game against a heck of a team."

"I think the whole game was a positive," said Cirone. "We played hard in a building that's a tough building to come into and against a tough team to play against. If you match their intensity and work ethic, you usually get a good result. Unfortunately, tonight we didn't."

Dillon Kelley got the call in net with Devin Williams still on a call-up with the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters and finished with 27 saves.

"I have complete confidence in Dillon and thought he did a good job again tonight," said Cirone. "Of the five goals, I think just the fifth he'd like to have back, but that goal had no bearing on the game at all."

Doug Andrews and Jordan Jones scored the Jets' goals, with Jones' being his first of the season.

Richard Jansson scored two goals for Flint, while Ben Myers made 34 saves for the win.

The Jets (10-8-0-0) next play at home on Sunday against the Toledo Cherokee. First puck drop is at 11:50 a.m. at Lakeland Arena.

"If we could start the game right now, we would; that's how well we played tonight," Cirone said. "I don't want them to change anything. I want them to go home, enjoy a good turkey dinner, watch the Lions beat up on the Packers and then get ready for Sunday."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Williams makes OHL debut Friday night in Kitchener

WATERFORD, MI – Metro Jets goalie Devin Williams made his Ontario Hockey League debut Friday night with the Erie Otters.

Williams, who signed with Erie in late October, made 10 saves on 12 shots after relieving Tyson Teichmann two minutes into the third period of an 8-1 loss in Kitchener to the Rangers.

The Jets are idle this weekend before playing in Flint next Wednesday night. Metro then hosts Toledo on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 11:50 Lakeland Arena.

Williams is expected to be available for both games.

Photo/Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kelley adjusting to junior hockey with Jets

WATERFORD, MI – Making the jump from high school hockey to Junior A hockey was an adjustment at first for Dillon Kelley.

He has since come into his own and is constantly pushing his goalie counterpart, Devin Williams, for playing time in the Metro Jets’ crease.

“The first few games and weeks were rough for me,” said Kelley, a 17-year-old Petoskey native. “I feel I was being too hard on myself, but once I lightened up, I got my game back and have improved every game. The hockey is a much faster pace and the players are much more creative and smarter.”

Kelley played last season for Petoskey High School and was scouted by Jets’ assistant coach Randy Wilson, who saw the potential for Kelley to play juniors.

“Randy wanted me to come to the Jets’ open camp and after I went to the camp, he said he would like me to come to main camp,” Kelley said. “That was when they offered me a spot. I really didn’t know much about the Jets or the NA3HL. All I knew was what Randy had told me and I didn’t really know what to expect. After being in the league and on the team for two months now, I am very happy to be on this team and in this league.”

So far this season, Kelley is 3-1-0 with a 4.25 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage. Williams has seen the bulk of playing time, but Kelley has played well when called upon.

“Devo is probably my closest friend on the team,” explained Kelley. “We hang out all the time and love to talk hockey and equipment. Within that friendship, we both want to push each other to get better and we both want to play. There is competition there, but it’s a good one.”

Kelley sat on the bench for one game earlier this season as a backup for the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons. That experience opened Kelley’s eyes as to what it will take to make the lateral move to the NAHL.

“I plan to keep working hard day in and day out on and off the ice,” boasted Kelley. “I want to improve myself so I can help my team win whenever I am in the net. I hope to get better and better game in and game out and help our team get to where we want to be at the end of the regular season.

“My goals are to improve and get to the next level like everyone else, but my main goal is to help the Jets make it deep into playoffs and win a championship.”


The Toledo Cherokee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held on to top the Jets, 5-3, last Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Jake Schlacht, Chris Hellebuyck and Zach Mohr scored for the Jets.

In goal, Williams started and allowed all five Toledo goals in 28:21 of work, making 16 saves in the process.

Kelley replaced Williams and made 20 saves.

The Jets (10-7-0-0) are now idle until Wednesday, Nov. 23, when they play in Flint.

Metro's next home game is Sunday, Nov. 27, against Toledo at 11:50 a.m.

*** NOTE *** All Sunday home games are now at 11:50 a.m., instead of 1:20 p.m.


Defenseman Jordan Jones, who played 23 games for the Jets last season, returned to the team and made his 2011-12 debut against Toledo.

Jones, a 20-year-old Toledo native, tallied eight assists in 16 games with the Boston Jr. Blackhawks of the International Junior Hockey League this year.

Last season, Jones recorded four assists after he was acquired from Toledo on Nov. 23, 2010.

Justin Shureb, an 18-year-old forward from Livonia, also joined the Jets last Friday.

Shureb was drafted fourth overall by the Jets out of Livonia Stevenson High School last June. He was an honorable mention Division 1 All-State selection last year.

Shureb joins Mike MacKinnon, Hellebuyck, Tim Perks (injured, hasn’t played this year), John Baker, Chad Frost, Tim Wlodkowski and Steve Klisz as 2011 draft picks to make the Jets’ team this season.


Wylie Rogers, a goaltender on the 2002 Silver Cup national Junior B championship team, is playing this season for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League.

Rogers, who played for the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2002-03, also played four years of Division I college hockey for Alaska-Fairbanks of the CCHA from 2004-08.

The 26-year-old native of Fairbanks saw time last season for the Heerenveen Flyers pro team in the Netherlands.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Toledo downs Jets Saturday night

WATERFORD, MI - The Toledo Cherokee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held on to top the Metro Jets, 5-3, Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Jake Schlacht, Chris Hellebuyck and Zach Mohr scored for the Jets.

In goal, Devin Williams started and allowed all five Toledo goals in 28:21 of work, making 16 saves in the process.

Dillon Kelley replaced Williams and made 20 saves.

The Jets (10-7-0-0) are now idle until Wednesday, Nov. 23 when they play in Flint.

Metro's next home game is Sunday, Nov. 27 against Toledo at 11:50 a.m.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shier emerging as 'go-to defenseman' for Metro

WATERFORD, MI – Will Shier is proof that you can go home again.

The Metro Jets’ defenseman started last season playing in the Northern Pacific Hockey League with the Wyoming-based Yellowstone Quake, but after a handful of games, decided he needed a bigger challenge and wanted a venue where he would be scouted.

Enter the Jets, the team that drafted Shier in the 2010 North American 3 Hockey League draft.

“I had heard that the Jets hired Jason Cirone (as head coach) and were now a part of the NA3HL,” said Shier. “I felt that I would have a better opportunity to make it to the next level if I returned home and played in the NA3HL.”

Once he returned to Michigan and signed with the Jets, things changed drastically.

“Last season had quite a few ups and downs for me personally,” said the 19-year-old Sterling Heights native. “As the season went on, my game really improved because Coach Cirone pushed me constantly. I was also in the gym every day working hard to get stronger. I earned a lot of playing time which helped my game out quite a bit. By the end of the season, I had gained a lot of experience and was really confident with my game. I believe playing for the Jets last year really contributed to the player I am now.”

Earlier this season, Shier earned a call-up to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the North American Hockey League. He had gone to Port Huron’s main training camp in August and narrowly missed making the team.

When he got the call in October, Shier took advantage of the opportunity to impress Port Huron head coach Bill Warren during the two games he dressed for the Fighting Falcons.

“When I got called up to Port Huron, I knew from my experiences at the Fighting Falcons’ main camp, that the speed would be quite different than that of the NA3HL, and it was,” explained Shier. “In the NAHL, you have less time to make decisions and it is a much faster game. I knew a few of their players received game misconducts the day before and I thought I was only getting the call up for one game, but was happy to find out after the first game, that I would be playing another one. I got to play alongside many great players, many of them whom I played with in the past. I spoke with Coach Warren before heading back to the Jets and he told me to be patient, my time would come.”

With the Jets, Shier has been playing 25-30 minutes a game, including the point on the power play. He has a goal and five assists for six points thus far this season.

“I wish I had three or four more Will Shiers on the team,” said Cirone. “He’s our go-to defenseman and is a leader back there for us, which is also why he’s one of our alternate captains. He’s played with several different defense partners and makes them all better players when they’re out there with him.”

Still, the NAHL is Shier’s goal, both short-term and long-term. He said being in Port Huron showed him what it takes to move up and play in the league.

”I worked really hard on my game during the offseason,” said Shier. “I went out east for ten days and skated with one of the coaches (Blair Joseph) from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. I received a lot of positive feedback from the NAHL coaches during tryouts this summer, but I just fell a bit short. Coach Cirone and (Metro GM) Butch Wolfe attended every tryout and gave me a lot of support. With the addition of full-time assistant coaches Dave Hague and Randy Wilson, I know we are going to have a great year and this is where I want to be. I wanted to come back and play for the Jets because I know Jason will help get me to the next level.

“I know, when given the chance, through hard work and dedication, I will be successful. I have already had a taste of the NAHL and can’t wait for more. Hopefully, the hard work will pay off and I will receive an offer to play college hockey for the 2013-14 school year as I work toward a degree in architecture.”

Looks like Shier is already building a solid future for himself.


Metro swept both games at home last weekend against Pittsburgh, winning 7-3 on Saturday night and then 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night, Shier (goal, two assists), Chris Hellebuyck (two goals, assist) and newcomer Zach Mohr (goal, two assists) had three-point nights and goaltender Dillon Kelley finished with 39 saves.

Steve Klisz, Matt Stirling and Matt Stemkoski also scored in the victory.

The Jets’ penalty kill shut down Pittsburgh’s power play as the Jr. Penguins went 0-for-6 with the advantage and 1-for-12 over the entire weekend.

In the series finale, Stemkoski and Mohr each had a goal and an assist, while Stirling and Doug Andrews tallied the others.

Klisz recorded two assists and Devin Williams made 32 saves in goal.

“Every single kid played well,” said Cirone. “I attribute that to last week in practice. It was probably our best week of practice since the second or third week of the season. Our kids really put it together last weekend and showed they have what it takes to win in this league.”

Metro (10-6-0-0) hosts Toledo this Saturday night for a 7:40 p.m. puck drop at Lakeland Arena in the lone game of the weekend.

“It all starts in practice and typically, how you practice is how you play during the weekend,” Cirone said. “I’d like to think we’ve turned a corner here and have turned our kids into believers.”


Mohr wasn’t the only new player in the lineup last weekend as forward Cameron Bazin made his return to the Jets in Sunday’s game.

“Bazin was one of my favorite players last year and is really a silent leader,” said Cirone. “Kids on our team can learn from him. His first shift on Sunday, he goes out and blocks a shot that prevented a scoring chance and then on his second shift, he throws a big hit. He’ll be an asset for us.”

Last year, the 19-year-old Troy native had three goals and 10 points in 36 games for the Jets.

Mohr, a 19-year-old from Novi, had a five-point weekend after coming over from Port Huron two weeks ago.

“I don’t expect Zach here the whole season,” said Cirone. “He’s very deserving to get another shot in the NAHL and I think once he works on some things that may be hindering his game he’ll be back up there.”

In another transaction approved Wednesday, the Jets traded Swedish defenseman Niels Olesen to Queen City. Olesen had one assist in 11 games this year.


Nick Kenney
, the Jets’ top scorer during the 2006-07 season with 31 goals and 35 assists for 66 points (35 on the power play), is starting his junior season at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a Division III school in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA).

After the Jets, the 23-year-old Wixom native skated two seasons with the NAHL’s Mahoning Valley Phantoms.

Photo/Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Captain's Corner - Pittsburgh sweep, Mohr, Bazin, the 'C'

Each week during the season, Metro Jets' captain Tommy Kilgore will chime in with his thoughts on what's going on with the team.

-- On sweeping Pittsburgh last weekend.
Last weekend was great. It's always nice taking four points from a team when we're home.

-- On newcomer Zach Mohr.
Zach is a good hockey player and he brings a lot of talent to our well-rounded team.

-- On the return of forward Cameron Bazin.
Bazin is a silent leader he is a player that gets the team going by doing something on the ice.

-- On adjusting to being captain for the first two months of the season.
I know my role here and I do my best to lead the team on and off the ice. I am used to knowing my job that I need to do.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stirling brings veteran leadership to Jets

WATERFORD, MI - As one of the few returning players to the Metro Jets this season, Matt Stirling is being counted on for leadership and offense as the Jets hope to play in the North American 3 Hockey League playoffs for the first time in five years.

Leadership hasn’t been an issue as Sterling is an alternate captain for the second straight season. The offense, though, has sputtered, but has recently come alive for the 19-year-old Dexter native.

“The first two months of the season have been interesting and not what I was expecting,” Stirling said. “It has been a slow start for me this season and has been frustrating so far. With that said, I feel that my play has picked up recently over the past couple weeks and that with the better play, I should hopefully have better results soon.”

Going into this weekend, Stirling has just two goals through 14 games. Last year, he posted 24 goals and played in the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament last February in Ann Arbor.

“Last season, I learned that you have to bring your game every night and that the consistency of your play is vital to success,” remarked Stirling. “The more consistent you are, the better chance you have of moving up or playing well. I also learned that it is a long season full of ups and downs in which you have to be prepared for anything.”

Looking back on last year, Stirling said the feel around the locker room is much different, and in a good way, as compared to the 2010-11 season.

”I think there is a different mindset to this year’s team because of the amount of returning players to the Jets and the leadership the returners bring to the team,” said Stirling. “The returners know what to expect this year on and off the ice, where last year we were all learning a new system and that took time for players to develop.”

Stirling went to summer camps with the North American Hockey League’s Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings and Traverse City North Stars, but felt another year of seasoning in Waterford would help improve his game to move up next year. Getting a few more wins on the board could help slow starters like Stirling pick up their game, and if a catalyst like Stirling can get off the schneid, that can only be a positive for the Jets.

“The team has slid a little bit from our hot start in our last couple games, but I feel that we have some good hockey players and as a team, we are playing very well so far,” Stirling said “I think that if I can get my game going and keep improving my game, it can only help the team in the long run.”


Metro traveled to Cleveland last weekend and suffered a two-game sweep at the hands of the East Division-leading Jr. Lumberjacks.

Saturday night, Steve Klisz and Mike MacKinnon scored late in the third period, but it wasn’t enough as Cleveland held on for a 3-2 win.

Devin Williams was outstanding in goal with a 48-save performance against the NA3HL’s highest-scoring team.

Then Sunday afternoon, Cleveland blanked the Jets, 5-0. Williams started and made 24 saves on 29 shots through 35:04. Dillon Kelley played the rest of the game and stopped all 18 shots he faced.

This weekend, the Jets (8-6-0-0) come home to Lakeland Arena to battle the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins. Game time Saturday night is 7:50 p.m. with a 1:20 p.m. matinee scheduled for Sunday.

Pittsburgh sits in fourth place in the East, just three points behind third-place Metro.


Forward Zach Mohr, a 19-year-old Novi native, joined the Jets in a trade from the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons late last week and is expected in the lineup this weekend against Pittsburgh.

Mohr totaled two goals and two assists in 14 games with Port Huron this year.


Tommy Burns, who played for the Jets last year, is averaging better than a point per game with Lindenwood University’s ACHA Division II team this season.

Burns, a 21-year-old forward from Pinckney, has eight goals and 13 points in 11 games for the Lindenwood, a school based in St. Charles, Mo.

Last season, Burns posted 16 goals and 33 points in 43 games in 2010-11, good for fourth in team scoring.

Photo/Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Friday, October 28, 2011

MacKinnon finding chemistry with linemates Klisz, Stemkoski

WATERFORD, MI - Mike MacKinnon had an easy decision on his hands when the Metro Jets drafted him in the second round of the North American 3 Hockey League draft this past June.

One of MacKinnon’s close friends, Cameron Bazin, played for the Jets last season and passed along encouraging words about the team and the league.

Metro head coach Jason Cirone was also familiar to MacKinnon as he had coached MacKinnon in a fall league session back when MacKinnon played at Troy Athens High School.

“I knew my fair share about the NA3HL before this year just from hearing about it from friends and hearing about it from playing juniors in a different league,” said the 19-year-old MacKinnon. “I knew a lot about the Jets since they are the most local junior team from my house and I have always heard good things. Jason's a good coach and and he demands a lot of his players, which will only pay dividends in the long run.

“I'm just going to keep working hard and hopefully some opportunities open up for me.”

Last year, MacKinnon played for the Yellowstone Quake in the Northern Pacific Hockey League and while he said he enjoyed the experience, it’s good to be home this year.

“Being away from home last year was nice, but so far, I like living at home better,” explained MacKinnon. “That’s one of the reasons I chose to play here because it’s pretty close to my house and I can still live my everyday personal life away from hockey.”

Entering this weekend, MacKinnon is third in team scoring with nine goals and 22 points in a dozen games playing mostly on a line with Steve Klisz and Matt Stemkoski.

“My line has been really good to this point,” said MacKinnon. “We focus on puck possession and we feel like we wear opposing defenses down. We know where each other is out there and it’s fun playing with those guys.”

More than piling up points, though, is MacKinnon’s team-first expectations.

”Personally, I want to continue working hard and helping my team win a lot of games,” MacKinnon said. “Ultimately, I think we can win our division and go to nationals.”


In their lone game last weekend, the Jets were blanked by the Flint Jr. Generals, 6-0, Saturday night at home.

“There were no positives in Saturday’s game,” said Metro captain Tommy Kilgore. “We were out-hustled and out-played in every aspect.”

This weekend, the Jets head to Cleveland for a two-game set with the Jr. Lumberjacks Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

”We are going to go into Cleveland ready to go full force,” added Kilgore. “We worked hard this week in practice and we will be well-prepared for them.”


Goalie Devin Williams, signed by the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters last week, dressed for his second game of the year in Erie Wednesday night in a backup role. Williams is expected back for the series this weekend in Cleveland.


The Oakland University ACHA Division I team has five former Jets on the roster.

Defensemen Mike Corder and Jacob DeSano and forwards Art Dore, David Merkle and Adam Novack play for the Golden Grizzlies this season.

Corder (2009-10) and Novack (2008-09) are both former Jets captains.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OHL's Erie Otters sign Metro goalie Williams

WATERFORD, MI – Metro Jets goaltender Devin Williams has signed an Ontario Hockey League contract with the Erie Otters and was on the bench Friday night in Erie backing up starting goalie Tyson Teichmann.

Williams, who turns 16 next Sunday, will re-join the Jets Saturday night at Lakeland Arena against the Flint Jr. Generals, but will be eligible to be recalled by the Otters for up to 10 games this season.

Erie drafted Williams, a Saginaw native, in the fifth round (95th overall) of this past May’s OHL draft out of the Motor City Metal Jackets U-16 organization.

“He’s extremely athletic and very dedicated,” Otters general manager Sherry Bassin said. “We think this signing will solidify our goaltending for the future.”

According to Metro head coach Jason Cirone, also a scout for Erie, seeing Williams sign to play at a higher level “is what we’re here to do.”

“I’m happy for the kid,” said Cirone. “To play in the OHL is a lifelong dream, but he knows that this isn’t the end of the road. (Jets goalie coach) Randy (Wilson) has done a great job with Devin and really hasn’t had to adjust anything – just a few tweaks here and there. Devin has reached this point in his career all on his own and that’s a credit to him. He’s also one of the most mature kids on our team and I think that shows he was raised the right way and put on the right path.”

This year with the Jets, Williams is 6-2-0 with a 3.34 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Williams playing with confidence in goal for Metro

WATERFORD, MI – Devin Williams has taken the reins as the Metro Jets’ No. 1 goaltender and has been in net for six of the team’s eight wins this year.

He’s handled the responsibility of being the last line of defense with remarkable maturity and has his eyes on signing an Ontario Hockey League contract in the coming days with the Erie Otters.

All of this after a busy summer that saw the Saginaw native represent the gold medal-winning United States at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, emerge as a candidate for the U.S. National Team Development Program and stand out as the top goalie at the USA Hockey Select-16 Festival in Rochester, N.Y.

Not too bad for a player that won’t turn 16 until Oct. 30.

“Devin came here to play minutes and see traffic in front of the net,” said Metro head coach Jason Cirone. “He’s been a major component of our success so far and I think a lot of that falls on (Jets goalie coach) Randy Wilson. Devin has been as good or better than I expected most nights.”

The Otters drafted Williams in the fifth round of the OHL draft this past May on the recommendation of Cirone, also a scout with Erie. Once he signs with the Otters, he’ll still play for the Jets, but will be eligible to be called up to the OHL at any time. Williams figures to be in the OHL on a full-time basis next season.

Like most Americans, deciding between Major Junior hockey and the NCAA was an issue Williams dealt with, but he believes he’s made the right choice to play in the OHL.

“I grew up watching the Saginaw Spirit and my dream was to one day play in the OHL,” said the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Williams. “I’ve always felt the OHL atmosphere was what I wanted and I think it will be a good fit. I’m adjusting to the junior level here and I think playing against older guys is a challenge, but it’s a challenge I want. There is pressure, but to me, it’s fun pressure. The team has been great in front of me and it’s been a team effort all year long.”

Williams even garnered attention from Red Line Report, an independent scouting newsletter, back at the Select 16 Festival where he had a .945 save percentage and miniscule 1.33 goals against average.

“Very solid mentally and gives up nothing in 1-on-1 showdowns with shooters,” the report read. “Always makes puck carrier make the first move. Excellent rebound control. Follows the puck well through traffic and anticipates developing plays very well.”

Focused on helping the Jets get their name back on the map after a few dreary seasons the past couple years, Williams said he actually had other options over the season as to where to play this season.

“I skated with Jason all summer and he told me that I’d be a good fit with Metro and it would prepare me to go up to Erie,” explained Williams. “Jason always has the player’s interests before his own. I love him. He’s just a great coach.”


Metro split its series in Pittsburgh last weekend, losing Saturday night before winning Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night, Doug Andrews tallied the lone goal in a 4-1 loss, while Williams finished with 36 saves.

Sunday afternoon, a wild game had the Jets up 3-0 heading into the third period and holding on for a 7-4 win.

Mike MacKinnon and Steve Klisz scored twice and Josh Beleski, Matt Stemkoski and newcomer John Baker added singles.

“It’s good morale for the team to get a split on the road,” said Cirone.

Dillon Kelley made 32 saves in goal for the victory.

The Jets (8-3-0-0) play just one game this week, a home contest Saturday night at 7:50 p.m. at Lakeland Arena taking on Flint.

“It seems like we play Flint every week,” Cirone said. “Do we prepare for them any differently than we would any other team? No. Do I think we’re developing a rivalry with them? I do. I think we have similar teams and that always makes for some good hockey games.”


Defenseman Will Shier was sent back to the Jets from the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons and played both games last weekend in Pittsburgh.

Cirone thinks Shier will be back in the NAHL before too long.

“He’s had a taste and I believe he wants more,” said Cirone. “You know, it’s like a yummy steak. You have a great steak and want another one. Will knows he can play at the NAHL level.”

Baker, a 20-year-old from Waterford, was also added to the roster and saw time at forward and defense in Pittsburgh. He was a Jets’ draft pick back in June and started this season with the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

“He’ll bring grit and versatility,” Cirone said. “He’s an older guy and he’ll also being experience and leadership.”


Last Friday night in Southern Professional Hockey League exhibition play, two former Jets players dropped the gloves as Colin Ronayne (Knoxville Ice Bears) and Morgan James (Columbus Cottonmouths) went toe-to-toe with one another.

Ronayne skated with the Jets in 2005-2006, while James captained the Jets last year.

What’s ironic is the two are Commerce Township neighbors and close friends.

Photo/Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Captain's Corner - Pittsburgh, additions of Will Shier, John Baker

Each week during the season, Metro Jets' captain Tommy Kilgore will chime in with his thoughts on what's going on with the team.

-- On the difference between Saturday's game and Sunday's game last weekend in Pittsburgh.
In Saturday's game, we came out flat and were not shooting enough. Sunday afternoon, we came out hard and took it to them and shouwed people how good we can be when we want to be.

-- On having defenseman Will Shier back with the Jets after a call-up to the NAHL's Port Huron Fighting Falcons.
It's great to have Will back. He is a great go-to defensman we can rely on in any situation. He brings it every night and has the drive to win games.

-- On newly-signed forward John Baker, who made his debut last weekend.
Bakes is a great player and he can be a forward when we need him and a defenseman when we're short. He had two good games and hopefully, he can stay consistent.

-- On practice this week to get ready for Flint on Saturday night.
Practice is going to be hard this week. We need this win bad and we have to continue to beat teams in our division. We have to come out of this weekend with two points and nothing less.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jets split on the road in Pittsburgh

WATERFORD, MI - The Metro Jets split their series in Pittsburgh last weekend, losing Saturday night before winning Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night, Doug Andrews tallied the lone goal in a 4-1 loss, while Devin Williams finished with 36 saves.

Sunday afternoon, a wild game had the Jets up 3-0 heading into the third period and holding on for a 7-4 win.

Mike MacKinnon and Steve Klisz scored twice and Josh Beleski, Matt Stemkoski and newcomer John Baker added singles.

Dillon Kelley made 32 saves in goal for the victory.

The Jets (8-3-0-0) play just one game this week, a home contest Saturday night at 7:50 Lakeland Arena taking on Flint.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Defensemen Shier, Hall called up to NAHL's Fighting Falcons

WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets of the North American 3 Hockey League have sent two more players up to the North American Hockey League as defensemen Will Shier and Scott Hall have been called up to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.

Forward Mike Moroso, who played for the Jets last season, currently plays for Port Huron, while rookie Jets goalie Dillon Kelley dressed as a backup for Port Huron two weekends ago. Metro captain Tommy Kilgore played three games for Port Huron last season as well.

“Selfishly, I would like it if both Will and Scott came back to us,” said Metro head coach Jason Cirone. “I don’t see it happening, though. We’re in the business of winning hockey games and moving players to the next level. Our players are getting the exposure and taking advantage of their opportunities.”

Shier played for Port Huron this week in a win against the Traverse City North Stars on Wednesday and a loss against the Michigan Warriors Thursday.

One of the Jets’ returning players and an alternate captain this year, Shier, a 19-year-old Sterling Heights native, had three assists in nine games this year. He joined the Jets last season at the midway point and tallied four assists in 21 games. Shier went to Port Huron’s camp last summer and nearly made the team. Now, he may be in the NAHL for good.

“Will has been our best defenseman by far and has earned this,” Cirone said. “He’s turned his game around from where he was last year and has carried the load for us defensively. He’s played a lot of hockey this year.”

Hall, who was sent down to the Jets last weekend from Port Huron to see some playing time, also played this week on his NAHL recall. He was a Division 2 Second Team All-State selection in 2010 while playing for Muskegon Catholic Central High School.

Hall recorded two assists in Metro’s loss in Flint Sunday afternoon.

“Scott played really good last weekend and showed steady composure and solid play without the puck,” said Cirone. “He’s a big kid (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) and plays a simple game.”

The Jets (7-2-0-0) play two games in Pittsburgh this weekend before returning home next Saturday to host Flint at 7:50 p.m. at Lakeland Arena.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Captain's Corner - Road trip, practice this week, new defenseman

Each week during the season, Metro Jets' captain Tommy Kilgore will chime in with his thoughts on what's going on with the team.

-- On beating Toledo and then losing to Flint last weekend.
We hung in there for the win Saturday and knew we had to be better Sunday. (Assistant) coach Dave (Hague) and (head coach) Jason (Cirone) pushed us to be better and we were. They just came out on top. We knew that we weren't only going to lose one game this year and Flint is a good team, so it wasn't a bad loss.

-- On preparing to play Pittsburgh on the road this weekend.
We need to practice well this week, which was a struggle for us last week, but we need to beat teams that are lower than us in our division and keep them below us - that's our goal.

-- On newly-signed defenseman Scott Hall, not to be confused with the former WWE star.
Scott is a big-body defenseman and he has good vision on the ice. I don't think anyone has noticed that they have the same name, but he will now. Thanks for bringing that up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jets beat Toledo in OT, then fall to Flint

WATERFORD, MI - The Metro Jets split their weekend road trip, beating Toledo in overtime Saturday night and then falling in Flint Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night against the Cherokee, Josh Beleski’s goal 75 seconds into overtime gave the Jets a 4-3 win after Metro blew a two-goal lead in the third period.

Chris Hellebuyck scored twice with an assist and Steve Klisz added the other goal to back Devin Williams’ 54-save performance. Williams also assisted on Beleski’s game-winner.

Doug Andrews chipped in with two assists, as did Beleski.

Then Sunday afternoon in Flint, Andrews scored both Jets' goals in a 3-2 loss as Metro again blew a third period lead.

New defenseman Scott Hall assisted on both goals for the Jets and Williams made 39 stops.

The Jets, now 7-2-0-0, play two more on the road this weekend in Pittsburgh.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stemkoski making noise this season for Metro

WATERFORD, MI – Matt Stemkoski quietly came to the Metro Jets in a trade last season from the Toledo Cherokee, but is making noise this year as Metro’s leading scorer after a 10-point outburst last weekend against the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution.

The North American 3 Hockey League subsequently recognized the 18-year-old Novi, Mich., native with its Combat Hockey 1st Star honors for last week.

“Matt’s a kid that came in last year and struggled a bit,” said Jets’ head coach Jason Cirone. “He had moved from forward to defense and then back. This year, he’s comfortable at center and has really elevated his game. Instead of waiting for plays to happen, he’s going out and making things happen. He’s creating his own openings.”

Last season in 27 games after the trade, Stemkoski posted eight goals and 11 points. This season, he’s light years ahead of that pace with eight goals and 11 assists in just seven games playing on a line with Mike McKinnon and Steve Klisz. That line has accounted for 22 of Metro’s 44 goals so far.

Cirone knew Stemkoski was capable of that type of offensive production last year after having scouted Stemkoski during his later youth hockey years. The only problem was that Toledo coach Scott Syring also knew that Stemkoski had the potential to be a breakout player.

“Stemkoski was a kid I wanted to try and get from day one when I walked through the doors here,” Cirone said. “I called Scott a few times to inquire about Matt and each time, Scott said he wasn’t available. Then one day, Scott called me back and said he was available, so we jumped on it.”

And while the stats have been a big reason why the Jets are 6-1-0-0 early in the season, Cirone said Stemkoski’s makeup is more than numbers.

“He’s a very committed hockey player and his goal is to go play college hockey,” said Cirone. “He’s a good kid and he’s a leader in our locker room, which is why he’s one of our alternate captains this year. I think he realizes what it is going to take to get to the next levels of hockey.”


The Jets outscored Battle Creek, 19-5, last Friday and Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

In the first game of the series, Stemkoski scored once and added three assists in a 10-4 win.

McKinnon (two goals, assist), Klisz (goal, two assists), Matt Stirling (goal, two assists), Travis Hargett (three assists) and Jake Schlacht (three assists) all had three-point games.

“It was good seeing Stirling come out of his early-season funk,” said Cirone. “I also thought Hargett had a great weekend.”

Chris Hellebuyck added two goals and Tim Wlodkowski, Zach Schlacht and captain Tommy Kilgore scored one apiece.

Dillon Kelley made 15 saves for the win between the pipes.

Saturday night in a 9-1 victory, Stemkoski notched two goals and four assists and McKinnon chipped in with a pair of goals and three assists. Klisz added a goal and three assists.

Hargett and Doug Andrews each had a goal and an assist, while Jake Schlacht and Branden Morganroth scored once.

In net, Devin Williams earned the victory with a 22-save outing.

“We’ll take the two wins, but it was a difficult weekend to implement our systems by playing a lot on special teams,” said Cirone. “Battle Creek is struggling, but they’re rebuilding and (Jr. Revolution coach) Richard Keyes is doing it the right way. I rolled four lines and all four lines got significant ice. All in all, I think it was a positive weekend.”

The Jets play on the road in Toledo this Saturday night and then at Flint on Sunday afternoon.

“This won’t be an easy weekend,” Cirone added. “Toledo and Flint are two tough teams and they’ll both be ready.”


Second-year defenseman Ian Costello (Lansing, Mich.) was released late last week by the Jets and in doing so, Cirone didn’t mince words in explaining the reason for doing so.

“He quit,” said Cirone. “He came in and quit. I understand why, but do I condone it? No. Am I disappointed? Yes. We went out of our way last season to help this kid out and then this happens.”

Costello was held without a point in four games this season.

Kelley was also returned by the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons after serving as the team’s backup last Saturday night.

“Dillon wasn’t playing for us Saturday and (Port Huron coach) Bill Warren called and said they needed a backup because one of their guys was suspended, so Dillon went and sat the bench for them,” explained Cirone. “It was by no means a promotion, but it was good for him to see a game at the NAHL level.”


Todd Knaus
, a forward who played 16 games for the Jets during the 2009-10 season, is starting his freshman year at Finlandia University, a Division III school in Hancock, Mich.

With the Lions, Knaus is reunited with Vinnie Pietrangelo, a former Jets’ teammate. Both are also Traverse City natives.

Knaus scored three goals with two assists during his stint in Waterford.

Photo - Andy Grossman/Detailed Images