Monday, August 24, 2009

Metro finds positives in preseason

Even though the Metro Jets lost both of their preseason games to the Flint Jr. Generals last weekend at Lakeland Arena, the positives shown will provide a solid jumping-off point once the regular season starts on Sept. 12.

Metro GM Butch Wolfe said he doesn’t take much stock in the preseason, but did note some areas that impressed him in his team’s outings.

“It’s not a big deal as far as win or lose,” said Wolfe. “We just rolled lines and got a feel for where individual players are. Several things stood out to me. It’s obvious we have a better team than last year, but also, we know we still have to continue to work hard to prepare for our league opener. It’s also obvious that the players have been very attentive in practice and diligent in their conditioning workouts so far.”

One area of improvement Wolfe saw is between the pipes. R.J. Heath (Holly) played in Saturday night’s game, while Ian Mercer (Rochester) got the nod in yesterday afternoon’s contest.

And it doesn’t appear offense will be an issue for the Jets this season, either, as Josh Magnan (Waterford), David Merkle (Waterford), Will Saley (Milford), Mike Herter (Dexter), Mike Corder (Rochester Hills) and Jonathon Elliott (Birmingham) had multi-point weekends.

Another new player, 16-year-old forward Matt Moeller (Fraser), showed a tenacity that opened more than a few eyes during the two games.

“Moeller was spectacular,” said Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop. “He's just a ‘93, but he was our most physical and fearless player.”

Skop, like Wolfe, also reiterated that to see this many positive developments at this stage of the season, the preseason games should be taken with a grain of salt.

"I couldn't be happier with this weekend – two losses or two wins, that's irrelevant. This is preseason,” said Skop. “I'm a big believer that there's a process to being successful and that includes evaluating, correcting, improving. Our process doesn't include preseason special teams units or playing guys who aren't going to be there for us in the fall. This weekend was perfect for us in the sense that it gave every guy on our squad an opportunity to work in every sort of situation. (Head coach) Jamie (Hayden) and I had a chance to evaluate who could play in certain game situations, and who cannot.

“Our guys have worked so hard these first couple weeks that the correcting and improving is going to be the fun part. I'm excited to get back at it today."

After yesterday's game, the players autographed their sweaters and presented them to the members of the Lakeland Hawks 2000 travel team.

Just 19 days until the season opener as the St. Louis Jr. Blues come to town for a pair of games Saturday, Sept. 12 (7:50 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 13 (1:20 p.m.).


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