Friday, January 22, 2010

Vinson doing little things for Metro

It would be easy to mope around during a season such as the one the Metro Jets are having, but in looking at second-year forward Justin Vinson, you’d hardly know the Jets are fighting for their playoff lives.

Always with a smile on his face, the 18-year-old from Livonia, hasn’t lit up the score sheet this season, but his value to the team goes beyond numbers.

“Vinny's just a pretty upbeat kid by nature,” said Metro coach Ryan Skop. “Last year, there wasn't a heck of a lot expected from our team and when we were getting blasted every night, he was one of the guys who came to the rink and kept working. This year, to this point anyway, we've fallen short of some goals and expectations we set as a team and Vinny, true to form, still shows up, punches the clock, and gets his work in. He really helps keep the room loose and energetic when some guys might not be so upbeat.”

As a rookie last season, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Vinson posted 13 goals and 29 points, good for third in Jets’ scoring. This year, with just two goals to his credit, Skop credits his decrease in offensive output to Vinson working on other aspects of his game.

“I think the biggest and most positive change in Vinny's game from a year ago is consistency,” explained Skop. “Last year he'd have a good weekend and follow it up with two bad ones. He’d have a good period, then a bad one. This year, although he isn't scoring, he's consistently doing a lot of other things really well. He's showing a real maturity to his game that just wasn't there before.”

Looking to the future, Skop doesn’t see the need for Vinson to be back in Waterford for another season.

“Vinny's kind of intriguing when it comes to the prospects of him advancing,” Skop said. “He's so quick and so fast that I think he'd be a very nice asset for a team at a higher level. He doesn't score much, but his speed and strength are very valuable on the penalty kill and in a checking-type role.

“I really think that, given the opportunity, he'd be able to provide someone with that same type of game at the next level.”


The Jets finished up a long weekend Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 loss at Lakeland Arena to the Quad City Jr. Flames.

Quad City beat the Jets, 6-5, Saturday night, while the Toledo Cherokee blanked Metro, 4-0, Friday night in Toledo.

Tim Hooker had a goal and an assist and David Merkle also scored Sunday and Ian Mercer made 30 saves between the pipes.

Saturday night, Brett Grech scored twice to go along with singles from Will Saley, Jon Elliott and Jon Wickersham.

Elliott added an assist for a multi-point game.

R.J. Heath stopped 33 shots in goal.

Friday night, Mercer turned aside 37 shots in a losing effort.

Metro (7-26-0-3) plays a pair in Peoria this weekend against the Mustangs before going to Motor City next Friday night. The next home game for the Jets is Sat. Feb. 6 against the Queen City Steam.


Grech is second among CSHL defensemen in goals with 10. Peoria’s Charles Vasseur leads the league with 11. Grech has also seen time at forward this season for the Jets.


Seth Giersdorf, who played for the Jets during the 1999-2000 season, is now living in Canton with his wife of 5 ½ years, Meghan, and their dog.

His hockey career behind him, Giersdorf is now a regional director for Sterling Management, a real estate and property management company, and oversees properties in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Giersdorf came to the Jets from Coral Springs, Fla., and met his future wife while playing for the Jets as she was a niece of his host family.

Photo by Andy Grossman

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