Friday, October 02, 2009

Wickersham more than just a last name

When the Metro Jets drafted Jonathan Wickersham last May, the Jets hoped they would be getting more than just a talented forward with a snazzy last name.

They were right.

“Wick's been the guy on the team that, thus far, has most exceeded our expectations coming into the year,” Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop said. “When we drafted him, we knew we were getting a solid two-way hockey player, but he's been all that and more. When we talk about ‘bringing it every night,’ Wick's the guy who does that best. He's a hard-working guy that just doesn't quit.”

Wickersham, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Macomb, also has impressed on the ice.

“He's a big guy up front who skates well and does all the little things, whether it be finishing a check, blocking a shot, taking a hit or whatever he's going to do what it takes to help the team,” Skop noted. “The most underrated part about his game is what he brings to the dressing room. He has very good leadership skills and because he's such a hard worker, when he talks, guys listen.

“He's been key in guiding us through our slow start here, and it's because of guys like Wick that I'm confident that, despite our start, we'll be alright this season.”

Wickersham has two goals this season and both were the result of hard work. His first tally came Sept. 13 at home against St. Louis and his second came last Sunday in Pittsburgh. His two goals also rank him second on the team behind Josh Magnan’s (Waterford) three.

Last season, Wickersham, 19, played for the Summit Plastics Midget AA team with current teammates Anthony Marrocco (Shelby Township) and Dylan Mantay (Troy), and that Summit team went on to win the Michigan Midget AA state championship.

Snazzy name and all.


The Jets' first visit to suburban Pittsburgh was not a pleasant one as the first-year Jr. Penguins pinned two losses on the Jets last weekend.

R.J. Heath (Holly) made 40 saves in Saturday night's 7-0 loss.

Sunday afternoon, Magnan, Wickersham and Mike Denston (White Lake) scored for Metro, but it wasn't enough as Pittsburgh took the game by a 10-3 count.

Ian Mercer (Rochester Hills) started in goal and stopped 57 shots for the Jets, now 0-5-0.

“This weekend was a tough one,” Skop said. “We made a lot of mistakes I didn’t expect wed be making at this point. Against good teams like Pittsburgh, we can’t do that. It seemed like every time we got going, we ended up in the box – penalties are mistakes, too. We have to stay aggressive, but we’re going to correct these mistakes and move forward. I think our guys went through stretches in all our games where they stuck to the plan and had success, so now we have to start sustaining those stretches through entire games.”

“We're having a hard time figuring our what to do to get the things being taught in practice to get applied to games,” Metro GM Butch Wolfe said. “We’re collectively scratching our heads right now.”

The Jets travel to Quad City this weekend for two games with the Jr. Flames Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Metro's next home games are a pair with the Peoria Mustangs Oct. 10-11 at Lakeland Arena.

Quad City (0-4-0) is lead offensively by Andrew Amendola (two goals), Devin Holmes (three assists, four points) and Josh Prygon (three assists). Balazs Goz, a Hungary native, has looked good on defense, along with Zach Honert and Scott Eberline, while David Jacobson has a 2.40 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage in goal.

The Jr. Flames won all four games last year with the Jets.


A year ago this weekend (Oct. 4, 2008), Metro beat Flint, 6-3, in Flint behind six different goal scorers – Brandon Nault, Will Saley, Lou Licari, Adam Novack, Brett Grech and Cameron Hnot. Mick Kolbasowski added three assists and Nick Ceccolini made 49 stops in goal.


Defenseman Sam Bell made the lineup of the NAHL’s Motor City Metal Jackets this season after playing with the Jets two seasons ago and recording four assists in 47 games and finishing second on the team with 132 penalty minutes.

The 19-year-old Bell, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound native of Munith, is pointless in three games so far this season with five penalty minutes.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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