Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Kienzle adds character to Metro lineup

Chris Kienzle
has a limited role for the Metro Jets, but he’ll never be one to complain, even with this being his final season of junior eligibility.

The 20-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., came to the Jets during the summer on a recommendation from Metro’s Eastern United States scout Chris Werstine, also a former Jets coach. That was all the Jets needed to use a draft pick on Kienzle last May.

“Stine called me and suggested we take a look at Kenzy,” Metro coach Ryan Skop said. “He told me he's a very responsible forward, good in his own end, not flashy, just a good blue-collar guy. He has a good understanding of the game and most importantly, Stine really talked up Kenzy's character. Because of Stiner's recommendation, we kind of took a flyer on Kenzy, sight unseen. I'm glad we did.

Kienzle, who played Junior C last season for the Metro (N.J.) Fighting Moose, made the Jets’ roster out of training camp and now is the lone 1989 birthdate and the lone non-Michigan-born player. Hard work has been the name of his game since settling in with Metro.

“He's always getting on the ice early, staying on the ice late after practice, and working on his game,” said Skop. “That type of stuff is infectious. He does a great job of pushing everyone to put their work in. It's because of this that Kenz's importance to us isn't something that shows up on the scoresheet. He's a guy that comes in and whether he plays two minutes, or 20 minutes, he's punching the clock and going to work. He's one of the guys that set the standard for our team.”

Being a mentor to the younger players on the Jets is also a role Kienzle has assumed innocently. It’s also the role Skop feels is Kienzle’s biggest asset.

“What I like most about what Chris is doing with us this year is the relationship he's formed with some of the younger guys on the squad, in particular with Matt Moeller (Metro’s youngest player and only 1993 birthdate),” noted Skop. “Kenz has taken Moe under his wing a bit. They're right next to each other in the room and Kenz is always talking to him, showing him the ropes. He does a real good job with that.”

Though he has yet to record a point this season, that’s not what Kienzle is in Waterford to do.

“Kenz brings a little bit of everything to our team," Skop said. "He plays well positionally, gets back defensively and gets at the forecheck. He does all the little things. And when we started putting the roster together this season, we were looking for good character guys. And honestly, there's nobody with better character than Kenz.”


With the Jets earning a split over the weekend on the road at Queen City, the Jets have now equaled their win total from a year ago at the halfway point of this season.

Sunday afternoon, Metro goaltender Ian Mercer recorded his second shutout of the season as he stopped all 47 shots he faced in the 3-0 whitewash of the Steam.

"Mercer was solid," said Skop. "I think we did a good job of limiting their quality shots and even though there were a lot, we held them to few quality scoring chances. When they did get them, though, Merc stood tall."

Mike Denston and David Merkle added power-play goals after Brett Grech opened the scoring for the Jets. Tim Hooker, in just his second game of the year after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason, added an assist on each of the power-play tallies.

"Hook looked good," added Skop. "He's still getting his legs, but his on-ice vision and creativity is very apparent. He was good, but we all know he's going to get better."

Defenseman Tyler Schofield assisted on Denston's goal for his first point of the season.

On Saturday night, it was all Queen City as goaltender Justin Camuto allowed just a Will Saley power-play goal with 66 seconds left in the third period in a 6-1 victory.

R.J. Heath made 40 saves in the loss.

Metro (7-14-0-3) plays in Flint Wednesday night before hosting Cleveland Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.


Rookie forward Anthony Marrocco was traded to the Yellowstone Quake of the Northern Pacific Hockey League on Monday. Marrocco, a 2009 draft pick of the Jets, was held pointless in 15 games.

Ex-Jets forward Sean Hogan (1996-1997) coaches the Cody, Wyo.-based Quake.


Ryan Compeau, a forward-turned-defenseman who played with the Jets from 2005-2007, is currently a sophomore on the Marian University Division III team in Fond du Lac, Wis.

Compeau, a 21-year-old Romeo native, has an assist in eight games this season with the Sabres.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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