Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mantay contributing to surging Jets

It’s not everyday that a team can move their best defenseman up front to play forward, but that’s what the Metro Jets have done with veteran Brett Grech.

Much of that has to do with the depth the Jets have on the blue line and also due to the recent emergence of rookie Dylan Mantay.

Mantay, a 2009 draft pick of the Jets and one of 10 draft picks to play for the team this year, only goes 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, but that hasn’t been an issue thus far.

“Dylan is one of the best technical skaters on the team,” Metro GM Butch Wolfe said. “This helps him balance his lack of stature. Most of the time, he’s a very smart hockey player, too.”

Jets coach Ryan Skop also noted that Mantay’s adjustment period to the CSHL level is becoming more and more evident with each game.

“Mants has really started to turn his game on lately,” Skop said. “He's been able to adjust to the speed of the game and the style of the game pretty well, and has really started to become an asset for us on the back end.”

Skop also said that the progression of Mantay, an 18-year-old Troy native, is just what the team expected coming into the season.

“We knew what we were getting with Dylan,” said Skop. “He's one of our more talented guys on the back end. He's got great feet, probably the best feet on our team, and in fact, the kid’s probably one of the best two or three athletes on our team period. He's got good vision, makes a good first pass, and is pretty fundamentally sound.”

Mantay, part of the Summit Plastics Midget AA state championship team of a year ago, has also started to improve in the areas of the game where he needed work.

“Our concern with Mants was the physical side of the game,” explained Skop. “Dylan's really figured out how to deal with that lately and has been much more effective because of it. We've been on him about engaging a bit more and he's really responded to that. He's finishing every check, getting up in every play, and really just playing bigger than he is.

“He's not a monster back there, but pound for pound, he's a pretty strong guy.”


Metro traveled to Dubuque last weekend and came home with a point after losing in a shootout Friday night, 4-3.

Josh Magnan, Jon Wickersham and Jon Elliott scored in regulation and R.J. Heath made 45 saves in goal. Dubuque tied the game with four seconds left in the third period.

The Thunderbirds came back Saturday night and blanked the Jets, 5-0.

Heath started and made seven saves in the first period before Ian Mercer took over and stopped 18 of 19 shots in the final 40 minutes.

Metro (5-10-0-2) will now gear up for a three-in-three stretch in Ohio. The Jets play in Toledo tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. and then in Cleveland Saturday night (9:00 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (1:30 p.m.).

Next home action for the Jets back at Lakeland Arena is Sunday, Nov. 29 at 1:20 p.m. versus Motor City.


Rookie forward Matt Moeller, out since the middle of October with a knee injury, will be back in the lineup this weekend for the Jets.

Tim Hooker, a forward who hasn’t played yet this year recovering from shoulder surgery, has been practicing with the team and should make his season debut in the coming weeks.


Forward Dustin Cloutier, who played for the Jets during the 2002-2003 season, is in his junior year playing Division I hockey at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass.

Cloutier, a 23-year-old from Berkley, also played one year with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and another with the NAHL’s Mahoning Valley Phantoms before arriving at Bentley in the fall of 2007.

The IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets signed ex-Metro goalie Tyler Sims, another member of the 2002-2003 team, this week.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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