Friday, September 25, 2009

Vandenberghe looks steady for Jets

When the Metro Jets overhauled their roster during the offseason, they did so by bringing back three defensemen from last year, leaving only a handful of spots on the back end for the taking.

At the annual CSHL draft last May, the Jets picked up blueliner Steve Vandenberghe from De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, and he’s fit in very nicely most nights playing with second-year defenseman Steve Lockwood (Clarkston).

“Playing with Lockwood has been good and we have done pretty well together,” said Vandenberghe, a 17-year-old from Bruce Township. “I think I have adjusted well to the speed of the game and am used to the speed.”

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Vandenberghe said he had several options after last season, a season in which he captained De La Salle, but bought into what the Jets are building and chose to come to Waterford, even if the team is off to a rough start.

“The mood is still positive,” Vandenberghe said. “I think we will get it going soon.”

Metro’s coaching staff is high on Vandenberghe, who turns 18 next month, and feels he can definitely advance his game to higher leagues.

“Steve is a skilled player and was a top-notch defenseman last year,” Jets GM Butch Wolfe said. “With good offensive instincts, he needs to simplify his game a bit to be successful at this level. If he can pull that together, he should be able to move on.”

“Vandy’s a guy who’s got good skill on the back end,” continued Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop. “He’s very mobile and he’s learning that sometimes keeping it simple will make him much more effective. He’s a good character guy, doesn’t say much, but he works very hard. He fits right in here and he keeps working like he does, I’m sure he’ll have a chance to move up.”

Vandenberghe, who said his strengths are puckhandling and skating and weakness is lack of a physical game, already has thought of what the words “moving up” mean.

“In five years, I want to be done with college and be able to start off with a solid job,” he said. “That would be nice.”


Metro was idle in CSHL action last weekend, but did play an exhibition game against ACHA D-I Adrian College, losing to the Bulldogs, 6-3, in Adrian.

Justin Vinson (Livonia) scored twice and Michael Denston (White Lake) added a single for the Jets.

Ian Mercer (Rochester Hills) started in goal and allowed one goal on 13 shots in 30 minutes of work. R.J. Heath (Holly) played the last half of the game and gave up five goals on 22 shots.

"The guys picked their game back up to a more respectable level after, more or less, a total letdown last Wednesday," Wolfe said.

Metro also had two goals disallowed.

Prior to the game, the Jets toured the arena and its facilities, as well as the rest of the 1400-student campus.

"(Adrian coach) Dan Phelps and his staff were very gracious hosts," added Wolfe.

Metro heads to Pittsburgh this Saturday and Sunday for a pair of games with the Jr. Penguins, who are a perfect 4-0-0 in their first season in the league.

Pittsburgh is led offensively by Mikael Lemieux (5-8-13), Vincent Somma (3-7-10) and Kyle Rosendale (4-4-8) and by goaltender Colin LeMay, who has three of the team’s four wins this year while posting a 2.00 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

The Jr. Penguins are also second in the CSHL in goals allowed with eight and also sit second in goals scored with 26 – an average of more than six per game.


Rookie forward Jesse Peterson (Clinton Township) was released on Tuesday after posting no points in the season opener Sept. 12 against St. Louis.


Steve Greenberg, a Metro forward in the late 1990s, is now an assistant coach for the Capital Centre Pride Midget Major AAA team that plays in the Northern Lakes Hockey League.

After playing for the Jets, Greenberg played for the Pride franchise in the North American Hockey League and then went on to play Division III college hockey at SUNY-Fredonia.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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