Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jets' goalie Limburg playing with confidence after taste of NAHL

WATERFORD, Mich. – Kam Limburg was singing the blues two weekends ago, but in a good way.

After all, getting a call-up to the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League is a feather in Limburg’s goalie helmet, but not only did the Metro Jets’ rookie get the call-up, he played the last 31:46 of the Jr. Blues game Jan. 18 against the Topeka RoadRunners, a 6-1 loss for Springfield.

Never the less, the experience Limburg went through in his week of practice with the Jr. Blues and his game action is something he can build on the rest of this season in Waterford.

“I went to Springfield’s main camp over the summer and did well and they have been checking in on me periodically throughout the season,” said Limburg, an 18-year-old product of Howell, Mich. “A couple days before I went there, one of the goalies was reported to be injured and they needed a goalie to fill in while he was out, so they decided to give me the call.”

On Jan. 18, Limburg came on in relief of stating netminder Stefanos Lekkas and stopped 15 of 19 shots.

“The players and staff were very welcoming to me when I arrived,” Limburg said. “I got in the locker room and most of the guys came up to me and introduced themselves and tried to include in as much as they could. When I got the nod on Saturday night, to be honest, I was a little nervous. Springfield had a pretty big crowd that night and as I was skating to the net I received a lot chirps from the Topeka bench. That being said, once I made the first save I felt very comfortable out there. I thought I ended up playing well for my first appearance.”

Immediately, Limburg noticed the big jump from the North American 3 Hockey League to the NAHL.

“I think the biggest change between the NA3 and the NA, as a goalie, was the speed,” Limburg said. “The players were faster, the passes were faster and crisper and the release on the shots was quicker. The Springfield coaches said that they like what they saw from me over the week I was there and that they think I am progressing well this season.”

In Waterford, Limburg has battled for playing time all season with veteran Trevor Kalinowski and fellow rookie Davide Mantovani and has posted a 5-9-0 record with a 3.56 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.

“I think the experience I had in Springfield was great and I definitely gained some confidence from it,” said Limburg. “It helped me realize that I have more time on the ice than I previously thought. Trevor and Davide have been playing well lately, so I think it will continue to be good competition between the three of us in practice and when it comes to game time.”

And even as the Jets have had to shuffle their lineup lately with a number of NAHL call-ups, head coach Justin Quenneville calls that situation a good problem to have.

“I believe that there is a healthy balance to developing players, promoting them and winning hockey games,” Quenneville said. “I don’t buy when coaches use that as a crutch to say that they ‘lost’ a player. Our job as coaches is to challenge our players and develop them. When players are ready, they should be playing at a higher level because they deserve so and coaches should never hold them back, plain and simple.

“I think we’re a hard-working team that plays an in-your-face style. We want to give ourselves a chance to win every night and to do that, we have to be hard to play against and make good decisions with the puck. Naturally, as a coach, I’d love to have more skill, but we have players that are getting rewarded right now for their effort on and off the ice.”


Former Jets’ forward Steve Klisz has committed to attend and play hockey at ACHA Division I Indiana Tech University beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Klisz, a 20-year-old Livonia, Mich., native, played for the Jets during the 2011-12 season and led the team with 30 goals and tied for the team lead with 67 points.


Defenseman Josh Hosking, who played for the Jets last season before being traded to Pittsburgh at the NA3HL trade deadline, returned to Waterford two weekends ago against the Michigan Mountain Cats.

Hosking, a 20-year-old native of Oxford, Mich., recorded three goals and seven points in 29 games with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League this season.

Last year with the Jets, Hosking scored two goals and 11 points in 29 games before being dealt to Pittsburgh on Feb. 6. He was then re-acquired by the Jets on May 24.


Jon Elliott, a forward who played for Metro during the 2009-10 season, is now in his sophomore season at St. Mary’s University, an NCAA Division III school in Winona, Minn., that plays in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Elliot, a 22-year-old native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has tallied three goals and three assists for six points through 16 games this season.

In his season with the Jets, Elliott was second in team scoring with 15 goals and 26 points and also played in all 48 games that year.

From 2010-12, he played for the Cumberland Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League, registering 29 goals and 75 points in 124 games.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Captain's Corner - Pittsburgh, stepping up, Mountain Cats

Each week for the rest of the 2013-14 season, Metro Jets’ captain Zack MacKay will give his thoughts on topics surrounding the team as it makes its way through the North American 3 Hockey League season, the 25th for the Jets as a junior franchise. 

-- On last weekend's split at home with Pittsburgh.

We played really well the first game, we kept it simple. The second was a struggle. They were just beating us to all the loose pucks, capitalizing on most our mistakes, and that led to a loss. It's in the past now, nothing to dwell on.

-- On who has been stepping up their game for the Jets lately.

A lot of the guys have stepped up, especially (goaltender) Trevor Kalinowski. He's been giving us the chances we need to win games with big saves.

-- On how important each game is from here on out.

The rest of the games are really important. We have to be ready to play each and every game if we want to make a run for playoffs. The schedule is definitely in our favor to do so and there's no reason we shouldn't make it.

-- On this weekend's home-and-home series with the Michigan Mountain Cats.

The keys for the weekend against the Mountain Cats are going to be keeping it simple, just as Coach Q has taught us to do. When we play a simple game for a full 60 minutes and play between the whistles, we give ourselves a very good chance at winning any hockey game.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pittsburgh doubles up Jets Sunday afternoon to gain split

WATERFORD, Mich. - The Pittsburgh Vengeance salvaged a weekend split with the Metro Jets after getting a 4-2 win Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.

Kyle Shreve and Cooper McLean scored for the Jets and goaltender Trevor Kalinowski finished with 26 saves in the loss.

The Jets (16-20-2) next play a home-and-home with the Michigan Mountain Cats. Game time is 7:50 p.m. Saturday night at Lakeland and then 1:45 p.m. Sunday at Fraser Hockeyland.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Metro downs Pittsburgh Saturday night at Lakeland

WATERFORD, Mich. - The Metro Jets used five different goal-scorers to pick up a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Vengeance Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Kyle Shreve had a goal and an assist for the Jets, while Alex Holm, Cody Jones, Brad Hepler and Nate Phillips added single goals to back Trevor Kalinowski's 25-save outing between the pipes.

 "I'll never complain about getting two points when we need it more than they do," said Jets' coach Justin Quenneville. "At the end of the day, we got our two points and we'll move forward building off the positives. We're playing stronger hockey every game, but I think for selfish reasons as a coach, you want to play consistent hockey, so good teams still find ways to win and we're doing that even when we're not playing our best."

The two teams wrap up their weekend series Sunday with an 11:50 a.m. puck drop.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Captain's Corner - past captains, Mountain Cats, Vengeance

Each week for the rest of the 2013-14 season, Metro Jets’ captain Zack MacKay will give his thoughts on topics surrounding the team as it makes its way through the North American 3 Hockey League season, the 25th for the Jets as a junior franchise. 

-- On taking over as the Jets' captain from Josh Beleski.

It's a huge honor being given the chance to be the captain of the Jets. I had a taste of it at the beginning of the year while Beleski was undecided on playing with us or not and it was a great privilege. With being captain, I also felt I needed to step up my game and be more of a leader on the ice.

-- On what he learned this season from Beleski and last season from Matt Stirling.

This year, whenever I'd have to do something or make a captain’s decision on something, my first thoughts have been to ask myself how Stirling would handle it. Both Beleski and Stirling were great role models on the ice as well, putting their bodies on the line for the team, and that was one of the biggest traits I had to take in from them.

-- On last weekend's sweep of the Michigan Mountain Cats.

The sweep from the weekend was huge. After having a close game against Flint last Saturday and then being up 2-0 in the first and losing last Sunday to Flint, I feel we really needed these wins for the points and a confidence boost to get everything back on track.

-- On hosting the Pittsburgh Vengeance at home this weekend.

This coming weekend is no different than any other weekend. It doesn't matter who we’re playing, we just have to be ready to play a full 60 minutes each game. Preparing for the games ahead, I think as a team, we all need to be ready to practice hard this week and it'll fall into place.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kalinowski leads Jets to sweep over Mountain Cats

FRASER, Mich. - The Metro Jets relied on the sparkling performance of Trevor Kalinowski in net to grab a 4-1 win against the Michigan Mountain Cats Sunday afternoon at Fraser Hockeyland.

Kalinowski made 26 saves for the Jets (15-19-2) and captain Zack MacKay scored twice to lead the offense.

Alex Holm and Kyle Downey also scored in the win.

For the Mountain Cats, goalie Walker Bass finished with 38 saves and Shawn Mott scored the lone goal.

The Jets host the Pittsburgh Vengeance next weekend at Lakeland Arena. Game time Saturday night is 7:50 p.m. with an 11:50 a.m. puck drop slated for Sunday.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shreve's four-point night lifts Jets past Mountain Cats

WATERFORD, Mich. - Kyle Shreve notched three goals and an assist to lead the Metro Jets to a 6-3 win over the Michigan Mountain Cats Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Alex Holm added a goal and an assist for the Jets, while Travis Baranoski and Matt Dempsey also scored and new captain Zack MacKay tacked on three assists.

Metro goalie Trevor Kalinowski made 26 saves for the win.

Max Vance, Kade Morrison and Shawn Cornock scored for the Mountain Cats and Kevin O'Shea stopped 32 shots between the pipes.

The two teams play the second end of the home-and-home Sunday afternoon with a 1:45 p.m. puck drop at Fraser Hockeyland.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Second-year forward Holm making strides with Jets

WATERFORD, Mich. – Alex Holm came to the Metro Jets prior to the 2012-13 North American 3 Hockey League season and put up pretty good numbers as a 17-year-old rookie.

This season, the West Bloomfield, Mich., native is on pace to increase his point totals and possibly climb the hockey ladder next season.

“I thought Metro was a great opportunity for me to move up and to further my hockey career and to have two years of juniors under my belt will help me even more,” Holm said. “Last season helped me grow as a player in all areas and last season also helped me prepare for the grind and commitment for this year. It's great being able to stay home in my own town with my family and friends to play juniors, but I also want to experience being away and on my own.”

In 2012-13, Holm registered 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points in 44 games and this year, leads the Jets with 10 goals already and is third in team scoring with 20 points while playing in all 34 games.

”We had a rough start, but our team starting to get over this hump and I know I have a lot more to show,” said Holm. “We’ve got a great group of guys in the locker room. We all got each other’s backs and are always there for each other.”

With two years of junior hockey eligibility after this season, Holm will no doubt have options this summer and he’s aware of this. To prepare, he wants to keep working hard the rest of this season and take it from there.

”I feel the strongest part of my game is getting in areas to get the puck to make plays, getting pucks on net and taking it to the net,” said Holm. “My long-term goal is to make playoffs and show everyone what our team is capable of. My dreams are to keep moving up in hockey and eventually, play college hockey.”


Former Jets’ goaltenders Alex Nedeljkovic (No. 5) and Devin Williams (No. 14) were listed on the NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the 2014 NHL draft among North American goalies.

Nedeljkovic appeared in nine games with the Jets during the 2012-13 regular season and was named the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month in November. He also was chosen for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competed at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and is currently in his second year with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

Williams, now with the OHL’s Erie Otters, played for Metro at the start of the 2011-12 season and went 9-9-0 with a 3.88 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage in 19 games.

Last Sunday’s loss to Flint was Metro captain Josh Beleski’s last game in a Jets’ uniform as he leaves for Navy boot camp in the Chicago area on Feb. 11. Zack MacKay will assume the captain’s role for the rest of the season.

And the player advancements continue to pile up – goaltender Kam Limburg earned a call-up to the North American Hockey League’s Springfield Jr. Blues, while forward Kevin Shand, who is currently with the Jr. Blues after a stint earlier this season in Waterford, has been pulled up to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League.


Dillon Kelley, who formed a tandem with Williams with the Jets early in the 2011-12 season, began this season in the NAHL with the Michigan Warriors before being traded to the Austin (Minn.) Bruins last week.

This year with the Flint-based Warriors, the 19-year-old from Petoskey, Mich., went 7-7-2-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage with one shutout.

In his season with the Jets, Kelley went 18-8-1 with a 3,62 goals-against average, a .891 save percentage and three shutouts. At the end of that season, Kelley saw one game of action with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

At the start of the 2012-13 season, Kelley played for current Jets’ head coach Justin Quenneville with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays before joining the Warriors mid-season.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Captain's Corner - Flint, playoffs, Mountain Cats, last game

Each week during the 2013-14 season, Metro Jets’ captain Josh Beleski will give his thoughts on topics surrounding the team as it makes its way through the North American 3 Hockey League season, the 25th for the Jets as a junior franchise. 

-- On getting swept last weekend by Flint.

It was a pretty rough weekend, but the guys all played hard. We spent most of our time in the penalty box, but we never stopped fighting. Saturday was upsetting because we had the win, but we made one simple mistake that lost us the game.

-- On looking ahead and how to make the playoffs.

The guys just need to stay positive and keep working hard. They won't see Flint for the rest of the season, so all they have to worry about is beating everyone else, but if they make it to playoffs, they will end up playing Flint again and I know the guys can pull off the wins they need.

-- On this weekend's home-and-home with the Michigan Mountain Cats.

Well, these four points are huge, but so is every other point from here on out. The team just needs to take it one day at a time and not get ahead of themselves. I know the guys are going to win this weekend and hopefully, will continue to win because they deserve to make the playoffs.

-- On last Sunday being his last game with the Jets before leaving for Navy boot camp Feb. 11.

I had been talking to the coaches about it for a while. I just figured I would make Sunday my last game because it was at home against Flint. I couldn't think of a better way to go out. Before the game, I was okay and I held myself together. I think I really started getting emotional in the last minute of the game. I'm going to miss the road trips and the early morning practices with the boys. It was hard knowing I would have to leave my brothers at some point during the season, but duty calls and I have to do what I think is best for Sarah (my future wife) and I in the long run. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and my decision and to the guys, thank you for the memories. I love you all like brothers!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jets score early, late, but fall to Flint Sunday afternoon

WATERFORD, Mich. - The Metro Jets scored the first two goals of the game and the last two goals of the game, but the Flint Jr. Generals scored seven in between and defeated the Jets 7-4 Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena to sweep the weekend home-and-home series between the two teams.

Metro captain Josh Beleski scored two goals, while Matt Dempsey and Zack MacKay each went for a goal and an assist.

Davide Mantovani and Kam Limburg combined for 26 saves in the Jets' cage.

Seven different players scored for the Jr. Generals.

Next up for the Jets (13-19-2) is a home-and-home set with the Michigan Mountain Cats, starting next Saturday night at Lakeland with a 7:50 p.m. start and finishing up Sunday at 1:45 p.m. at Fraser Hockeyland.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jets edged by Jr. Generals Saturday night in Flint

FLINT, Mich. - The Flint Jr. Generals relied on the scoring touch of Brett Leppek, who netted two goals, to beat the Metro Jets 2-1 Saturday night at Iceland Arenas.

Leppek found the back of the net short handed 12:55 into the first period to make the score 1-0 Flint and again while 14:43 into the third to make the score 2-1 Flint.

Metro was stymied by Flint netminder Anders Franke, who stopped 25 shots during the victory.

Kyle Shreve scored the Jets' only goal 7:41 into the second period to make the score 1-1.

Metro goaltender Trevor Kalinowski stopped 30 shots in suffering the loss.

The two teams rematch Sunday at Lakeland Arena for an 11:50 a.m. start.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Captain's Corner - Times Square, Toledo, trade, Flint weekend

Each week during the 2013-14 season, Metro Jets’ captain Josh Beleski will give his thoughts on topics surrounding the team as it makes its way through the North American 3 Hockey League season, the 25th for the Jets as a junior franchise. 

-- On how he spent the holidays.

I spent a lot of time with the family. I also went and saw the ball drop in Times Square this year. That was crazy - way too many people there for me. I'm happy with just watching it on TV.

-- On splitting with Toledo last weekend.

The last two games actually went really good. The only problem we had was in the first game in the last minute of the game. Other than that, we played our game and really kept the pressure on them. If we keep playing like this the rest of the season, then we have a really great chance of making the playoffs.

-- On the Kenny Forton-Nate Phillips trade and getting back Kyle Shreve.

Forton is a great guy and the team definitely misses him. I know he did not want to leave this team, but for other reasons, he had no choice but to leave. Phillips is a great guy, too, and he gets along with all the guys and is definitely a big help to our defense. Having Shreve back really helps out the team. He is an incredibly skilled hockey player and we can always use a player like him on the team.

-- On this weekend's home-and-home series with Flint.

The upcoming weekend is going to be very tough, but I know the boys and I can beat Flint. We have been up and down all year, but I believe everything from here on out is going to be all uphill for us. This is the last time we play Flint this season, so we will definitely be coming out hard because we need the points and we don't want to be swept by Flint on the season.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shreve returns to Jets after NAHL stint with Springfield

WATERFORD, Mich. – Kyle Shreve averaged a point per game last season with the Metro Jets and was rewarded with a tender agreement offer from the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League.

Shreve began this season with the Jr. Blues and had three goals and nine points in 27 games, but was recently reassigned to the North American 3 Hockey League and the Jets.

Though some may see this move as a demotion, Shreve is hardly taking it as such.

“While I was in Springfield, I grew a lot as a player,” said Shreve, a 19-year-old forward from Walled Lake. “It was a learning experience, for sure, but I tried to help the team every time I was on the ice. One positive I see coming back to Metro is that everyone is committed to working hard on and off the ice and that we are also a very well-coached team.”

Last weekend, Shreve recorded an assist in the Jets’ two games against the Toledo Cherokee and hopes the points keep coming.

”I was told that I need to get back the same level of play I had at the beginning of the year,” said Shreve of what he needs to work on in Waterford. “More specifically, I need to be working harder in the defensive zone and creating more offensive chances.”

Earlier this season, the Jets had forward Kevin Shand on assignment from the Jr. Blues and once Shand went back up to Springfield, he had casual chatter with Shreve.

“We just made small talk and I tried to get a gauge on how the team was doing this year,” Shreve said. “He had nothing but good things to say about the team and really enjoyed playing for the team and especially, for coach (Justin) Quenneville.”

Once he arrived back home, Shreve said it was an adjustment last weekend, but as the games wore on, he found his groove.

“I thought we started off a little slow, but once I got my nervous energy out and as Saturday’s game went on, I feel like our chemistry got better,” said Shreve, who played on a line with Alex Holm and Matt Dempsey. “By the end of Sunday’s game, I thought we had played well and deserved the win on Sunday.

”Compared to last season, the team is a lot different for sure. One of the biggest things I noticed immediately is age and size. I think this year we are smaller, but a more finesse team than last year.”

With a year of junior eligibility remaining after this season, Shreve wants to do all he can to once again play in the NAHL.

“I want to play in the North American League again because I feel that it’s the best league for me to play in,” Shreve said. “I need to just settle down and have more patience with the puck and I need to get back to the things that made me successful last season.”


Former Jets’ forward Dustin Cloutier made his Kalamazoo Wings’ ECHL season debut last weekend after starting the season in Norway with Frisk Akser.

Cloutier has played parts of three seasons with the K-Wings.

Unlike the past two seasons with Kalamazoo, Cloutier joins the team as a defenseman. The native of Berkley, Mich., has also played on the blue line for Frisk Asker, where he posted 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 26 games.

Before turning pro, Cloutier played three seasons of junior hockey, including the 2004-05 season for the Jets, and was a four-year standout at NCAA Division I Bentley University.

Cloutier also played in the NAHL for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms and in the United States Hockey League for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

After stunning loss, Jets come back with shootout win over Toledo

WATERFORD, Mich. - Just one day after losing in the final seconds in Toledo, the Metro Jets rebounded with a 3-2 shootout win over Toledo Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.

Saturday night, Blake Podgorski's goal at 19:49 of the third period gave the Cherokee the stunning win after Cooper McLean and Travis Baranoski scored and Kam Limburg made 31 saves in net.

This afternoon, newcomer Nate Phillips (acquired last Friday from the Michigan Mountain Cats for defenseman Kenny Forton) and Alex Holm scored in regulation and then Holm's goal in the shootout was the difference.

Metro goalie Trevor Kalinowski made 14 saves in regulation and then stopped all Toledo shooters in the shootout.

Next up for the Jets (13-17-2) is a home-and-home series with the Flint Jr. Generals next weekend. The two teams play in Flint Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and then at 11:50 a.m. Sunday in Waterford.