Friday, January 30, 2009

Metro's Elezaj and Schofield play it smart

Paul Elezaj and Tyler Schofield are two of the younger players on the Metro Jets this season, but both have shown to have an on-ice mentality of players two and three years older than them.

Elezaj (pictured above) is the second-youngest player in the Central States Hockey League this year as he just turned 16 on Jan. 9 (Chicago’s Craig Tomassi is younger by three days). The Jets picked him up early in the season after being let go by Flint.

Schofield, a 17-year-old from Clio (pictured right), came to Metro in the beginning of October and, according to Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop, plays a very smart brand of hockey.

“Ty’s going to be a good power play guy,” Skop said. “He’s starting to feel comfortable at this level and is showing some more skills with the puck that maybe he was a bit tentative to use at the beginning of the year. He’s a very hard worker, but he also knows he needs to hit the gym and add some muscle, much like Pauly. I expect Ty to play in our top four next year.”

Elezaj, a native of Leonard, who scored a nice goal in tight last Saturday night against Queen City showing some excellent puck handling, has seen the majority of his playing time on the fourth line, but his status should be elevated next season.

“’Pauly’s got great instincts and a great head for the game,” said Skop. “He’s scored a couple goals recently that the more talented guys on our team might not have, simply because he’s been in the right spot and shown some moxy with the puck.”

Skop said he looks forward to having both players back in the fold for 2009-2010.

“Ty and Pauly are both guys that have been really nice surprises,” Skop said. “They both have great hockey sense and that’s something you can’t teach. As soon as their talent catches up with their brains, they will be very effective players at this level.”


Metro played two games last weekend and was defeated by Motor City on the road Friday night, 7-4, and by Queen City, 8-3, the following night at home.

Friday night, Justin Vinson (Livonia) was a factor in all four goals as he scored a shorthanded goal (giving the Jets a CSHL-best 12) and added three assists. Captain Adam Novack (Rochester Hills) had a goal and an assist and David Williams (Bloomfield Hills) and Matt Noe tallied single goals. Colin Greeley (Howell) made 27 saves in goal.

Against Queen City, Steve Lockwood (Clarkston) and Will Saley (Milford) each recorded a goal and an assist along with Elezaj’s goal. Nickolas Ceccolini (Dexter) stopped 30 shots in the loss.

This weekend, the Jets (6-29-0-1) play just one game in hosting Flint tomorrow night in the second-to-last home game of the season. Last time these two teams played was Jan. 10 with the Jr. Generals skating away with an 8-2 win at Lakeland Arena.


Five transactions took place in the past week for the Jets with two players leaving town and three joining the team.

Defenseman Jake DeSano (Washington Township) was released and forward Jared Justice (Clarkston) was traded to the Michigan Mountain Cats of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League. DeSano has since joined the Oakland University ACHA D-I team.

New players include forward Sean Carlock (Bloomfield Hills), defenseman Jake Williams (Grand Rapids) and goaltender Kevin Kinnie (Utica).

Carlock, a 17-year-old who played for Metro last season, had been with the Motor City Chiefs of the GLJHL this year and had six goals and nine assists with 59 penalty minutes in 19 games.

Williams, 18, was with the Elliot Lake Bobcats of the Greater Metro Junior Hockey League, had a goal and 11 assists in 25 games and was a teammate of current Metro forward Matt McCaig (Lincoln Park) the first half of the season.

The 20-year-old Kinnie played high school hockey for Utica High School, graduating in 2006.


Brad Charles, a forward for the Jets in the mid-1990s, is now a State Farm insurance agent based in Hartland. Charles saw action in three games as a senior for Michigan State in 1999-2000, including two at the 1999 Great Lakes Invitational.

Photos by Walt Dmoch

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