Friday, December 19, 2008

Lockwood and Vinson coming around for Jets

Steve Lockwood and Justin Vinson were at opposite ends of the spectrum at the start of the season, but lately, each has been creating more opportunities for themselves to make an impact with the Metro Jets.

“When the season first started, there wasn't much expected from ‘Woody,’ but there were a lot of expectation from ‘Vinny,’” Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop said. “He struggled out of the gate, but lately he's been playing at a level we had anticipated.”

For Lockwood (far right), an 18-year-old native of Clarkston, Mich., his season started to take an uphill turn four weeks ago in Dubuque.

“Woody’s biggest asset is his size and strength,” said Skop. “At the beginning of the season, he seemed very tentative to use it. He got into a good scrap in Dubuque (against Seth Burrow three seconds into the game Nov. 22), won that fight, and has been playing very confident ever since. Not only is he winning fights, but his entire game has gotten a lot better.”

With Vinson, a 17-year-old from Livonia, Mich., Skop said it was just a matter of time before the tide started to shift.

“Vinny's best asset is his speed,” Skop said. “It's very deceptive, but make no mistake, he's one of the fastest guys in this league. He's another guy who, at the beginning of the year, tried to do stuff he got away with in youth hockey, instead of using his great speed to his benefit. Once he finally figured that out, he's been playing very strong lately.

“Each guy has come light years from the beginning of the season.”

Lockwood is currently second in the CSHL with 114 penalty minutes and Vinson is now tied for sixth in Jets’ team scoring.

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