Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saginaw adds OA Sisca from Guelph

The Saginaw Spirit added a top-flight scorer in Matthew Sisca to their offensive corps this weekend, sending a third round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection via trade to the Guelph Storm.

The 1990-born Woodbridge, Ont., native put up 65 points (35 goals and 30 assists) with the Storm last season. Sisca is scheduled to join the Spirit Saturday night when the team arrives in London for their game against the Knights, although his participation in the contest will be a game-time decision.

Sisca is a four-year veteran of the league, having a combined 62 goals and 72 assists for 134 points in 192 regular season games. He played two seasons with the Niagara IceDogs from 2007-2009 before going to Guelph last year.

Photo courtesy CHL Images

Spirit to honor veterans with tribute

The Saginaw Spirit will host a special celebration on Saturday, November 6, when the team will recognize U.S. military veterans as part of a Veterans Day celebration.

The highlight of the event will take place prior to the Spirit game at 5:30 p.m., when local police and firefighters will hit the ice in the annual Guns-n-Hoses charity hockey game, with the proceeds going to benefit the Department of Veteran Affairs and their Aid to Needy Vets fund.

Special charity-priced tickets are available at the Saginaw Spirit store - $10.00 for an upper level ticket with $2.50 from each ticket going to support the Aid to Needy Vets fund.

Military veterans and their families can show their military I.D. at the Spirit store to receive a special $6.50 upper level ticket when they purchase at the Spirit Store from now until Friday, November 5.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Muskegon radio show set for Monday

A pair of Muskegon Lumberjacks forwards will make their debut on Monday night’s weekly radio show, “Breaking Out the Lumberjacks.”

For Lance Fredrickson, who is from and still lives in Spring Lake, it will be his second debut in three days. He’ll appear in front of numerous family members and friends at the L.C. Walker Arena Saturday night when the Jacks host the Waterloo Black Hawks and wrap up a three-game homestand on Pink the Rink Night.

All the players’ pink jerseys will be auctioned off following the game. Commemorative pink T-shirts will be sold for $5 apiece and all the money made on the shirts and the jersey auction will be donated to the Johnson Family Center for Cancer Care.

Isaac Kohls has scored a short-handed goal in both of the Jacks’ last two games and could feasibly make it three in a row tonight when Muskegon hosts the Des Moines Buccaneers. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. and the arena doors open at 6:15 for both games this weekend. Children are encouraged to take part in trick or treating at the main concession stands during pregame tonight, as it will be Ghoulwill Night. Fans who donate gently used clothing or household items to Goodwill representatives at the arena will receive a $4 off voucher for a ticket to the Jacks’ home game on Saturday, Nov. 27, also against Des Moines.

The Monday night radio show airs on 97.5 FM The Champ from 6-7 p.m. Each week’s show is re-broadcast from 9-10 a.m. the following Saturday morning. As always, the show will be hosted by the voice of the Jacks, Christopher Heimerman, and will feature an appearance by Lumberjacks head coach Kevin Patrick. There will be giveaways and the floor will be opened for fans to ask questions of all the guests.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stirling's work ethic helps lead Jets

Matt Stirling was signed by the Metro Jets last summer to be part of a defensive line that would play against the opponent’s top line.

But then a funny thing happened – the line Stirling was put on with Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney) and Mike Moroso (Macomb) became the Jets’ scoring machine. Heading into this weekend, the trio has accounted for 22 goals – more than one-third of the team’s 51 goals.

“Everything just seemed to click when (Metro head) coach (Jason Cirone) put me with those guys,” said Stirling. “I knew Tommy from my high school days and I was already was good friends with him. I met Moroso when the Jets brought him in. We have had good chemistry as I have got to know them both better and how they both play. Both of these guys have been key to our line’s success so far.”

According to Stirling, being a top point-getter is a role he’s been accustomed to before.

“In the high school days, that's what I was on the team for and what my high school (Dexter High School) expected of me,” explained Stirling. “For this year, however, I just want to do whatever it takes to help the team win. If being a go-to guy for the Jets is what they need, I'll do it, but to me, doing whatever to help the team win is first priority.”

Named an alternate captain this year, Stirling earned the confidence of the coaches even before the season started and that has carried over into the regular season.

“He leads by example with his work ethic,” said Cirone. “The guys see how hard he works and it’s hard not to follow him. He’s a level-headed kid and that’s what you want in a leader. You want a kid that doesn’t get too excited when things are going good and doesn’t get too down when things aren’t going so well. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him this season.”

Stirling wasn’t sure where he would play this season after his high school season ended, but a visit to a game from Jets’ head scout Tim Ross swayed his decision to come to the Jets and play in the Central States Hockey League.

”I didn't know much about the junior leagues coming out of high school,” Stirling said. “I knew I wanted to continue to play hockey after high school and then I met Tim at one of my high school games. Tim was interested in me and later in the year, I signed with the Jets.”

Focused on this season right now, Stirling also has aspirations to keep playing past this year.

”I would like to play at the highest level I can possibly play,” boasted Stirling. “Whether that's the NAHL or higher, I would definitely like to keep playing. Realistically, though, I would like to just keep improving to move on to the next level.

“I just want to take juniors one step at a time and see how far I can go in hockey.”


The Jets played in the annual CSHL Showcase last weekend at Ice Mountain Arenas in Burton, Mich., and after winning their first game against the host Michigan Mountain Cats, dropped the next three games to see their overall record this season dip to 6-8-0-0.

Mike Denston's goal at 18:23 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and the Jets held on to beat the Mountain Cats, 3-2, in the opening game last Friday afternoon.

Goaltender Eric Trunick (Commerce Township) stopped 39 shots in the win.

After a scoreless first period, Moroso scored at 14:09 of the second period to give Metro a 1-0 lead.

Dan Hudson (Gregory) tallied 55 seconds into the third period before two straight goals by the Mountain Cats (Daniel Cowan at 10:31 and Trevor Ladd at 12:52) tied the game at 2-all.

That set the stage for Denston's (White Lake) heroics.

Robert Schultz finished with 44 saves for Michigan.

The Peoria Mustangs used three power-play goals to snap the Jets' five-game winning streak Saturday morning with a 6-4 win.

Hudson scored twice for the Jets, while Moroso and Brett Grech (Hartland) each had a goal and an assist.

Metro captain Mike Corder (Warren) chipped in a pair of assists from the blue line and Trunick finished with 24 saves in net.

Mason Riley recorded two goals and two assists for Peoria, while Nathan Chasteen and Kyle Hamilton each tallied twice and added an assist.

Mike Czupryn made 17 saves for the win between the pipes and Mike Mikulan added two assists.

Metro took a 1-0 lead into the third period Sunday afternoon, but the Mountain Cats scored three in the third to escape with a 3-2 win.

Grech staked the Jets to the early lead at 17:44 of the first period.

After a scoreless second period, Jake Endicott scored the first of his three goals 1:25 into the third period, but Moroso answered for Metro at 5:55.

Endicott then scored two shorthanded goals at 9:24 and 13:38 to give the Mountain Cats the win.

"I give the Mountain Cats credit - they didn't quit and kept coming at us," Cirone said. "That's a sign of a good team and today, the Mountain Cats were also the better team. We played well, just not well enough. Their goalie (Schultz) was outstanding."

For the Jets, Matt Braun made his CSHL debut in goal and finished with 25 saves.

"Matt played very well," added Cirone. "He gives us a good 1-2 punch with Trunick, but Eric is still our No. 1 guy. No question."

Schultz made 42 stops for the Mountain Cats.

Monday afternoon, the Jets completed the CSHL Showcase with a 7-4 loss to Peoria.

Hudson scored twice, Grech and Denston each had a goal and an assist and Tommy Burns (Pinckney) tallied three assists in the loss, the Jets’ third straight.

Trunick made 24 saves in net, while Austin Shipaila (Wyoming) assisted on Grech’s goal for his first point with the Jets since being acquired from Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

Mikulyan had two goals and two assists for Peoria, while Hamilton (goal, three assists), Chasteen (two goals, assist), Mitchell McPherson (goal, assist), Nikolas Sakellaropoulos (two assists) and Riley (two assists) all had multi-point games.

Brandon Neville added a single goal for the Mustangs, who got a 13-save outing from goaltender Sam Hingtgen.

The Jets host the Chicago Hitmen this weekend for two games at Lakeland Arena. Game time Saturday night is 7:50 p.m. with Sunday afternoon’s game starting at 1:20 p.m.

“If we play how we know how to play, I expect to sweep,” said Stirling. “We need the points and I definitely think if we play our best, we can come out with a couple of wins.”


The Jets traded forward Josh Beleski (Southgate) to the Michigan Ice Dogs of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League late last week. Beleski had not seen action this season for the Jets.


The Oakland University ACHA Division I roster boasts 13 former Jets players.

Goalie Alex Pikunas, forwards Art Dore, Kevin Kranker, Jordan MacDonald, David Merkle, Adam Novack, Steve Wiechec, Jon Wickersham and Jesse Worrell and defensemen Jacob DeSano, Brian Jacobs, Colin Ronayne and Steve Vandenberghe all played at Lakeland Arena at one time or another in recent years.

Novack was the Jets’ captain in 2008-2009, while Merkle, Wickersham and Vandenberghe played for Metro last year.

Kranker and DeSano were also named to the U.S. National University Team that will play in the Winter World University Games Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2011 in Erzurum, Turkey.

Photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

St. Clair's Motte picks Ferris State

The Waterloo Black Hawks announced that goaltender C.J. Motte has committed to play collegiate hockey at Ferris State University beginning in the fall of 2011.

The 18-year-old native of St. Clair is in his second USHL season after appearing in 42 games for the Black Hawks in 2009-10 and earning 21 victories. It was the seventh 20-win season for a Waterloo goaltender in USHL history. Motte has appeared in three games this season, posting a 1.97 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.

"The statistics don't show what C.J. is like off the ice," said Waterloo head coach P.K. O'Handley. "Since he came to Waterloo, C.J. has matured into a leadership role. He takes a very serious approach to his preparation, and he is a competitor."

Motte also played for the Traverse City North Stars of the NAHL back in 2008-2009, going 22-9-2 with a 2.30 GAA, .913 save percentage, three shutouts and one assist. He was also a member of the All-North Division Team that year.

One other USHL player is committed to Ferris State as Tri-City Storm forward and Baldwin native Dominic Panetta will play hockey there following his USHL career.

Photo courtesy USHL Images

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lay happy playing for hometown team


After the big offensive season Andrew Lay had last season in his senior year at Flint Powers Catholic High School, it was just a matter of time before he was tapped by a team at the next level.

It just so happens that the Flint Jr. Generals, whose home rink is mere minutes from Lay’ s Swartz Creek home, came calling and signed the local talent this past summer.

“It is a lot of fun to play for your hometown team,” said the 18-year-old Lay. “I mean, I live at home and I see people at the rink all the time that I have seen my whole life. It is just a comfortable place to play and makes it a lot easier.”

Flint’s leading scorer to this point of the season, Lay said getting on the score sheet has never been unfamiliar territory to him.

“I would say that every year I try to put up big numbers,” Lay said. “Last year at Flint Powers, I led our team with 74 points in 30 games, so what I am doing now with this season isn’t something new to me. I know I am able to put points up on the board.”

Being a go-to player in the offensive zone isn’t the only part of Lay’ s game. Having a sense of humility, Lay also admitted he does have flaws in his makeup that he’ d like to work on.

“I think the strongest part to my game is what I am able to do in the offensive zone,” said Lay. “I seem to be able to set up plays to my teammates. My weakness to my game I would have to say would be my defense, which I have worked on a lot this year and am trying to get better at.”

With Flint sitting on just four wins heading into this weekend’s CSHL Showcase, playing four games in four days may be a good thing for the Jr. Generals.

“I believe that we have a team that can turn things around with a weekend like we have before us,” Lay said. “I know that it has been tough getting to know all of these new guys for our team and it is difficult to play with new guys and get that chemistry that you need to have. That is going to take us some time to get used to, but I believe that we have a team that is willing to work harder every week and improve our game and get better as a team every week.

“I thought that we would have gotten off to a better start to the season. We looked really good before the season started, but when it came down to the games, we just couldn’t seem to capitalize and get a win. With this whole team being new and with only a couple of veterans returning, it was hard for us to get to know each other and just click. I think that over the last couple of weeks that has gotten better and we are playing better hockey as a team.”

Playing to the old adage that team success breeds individual success, Lay has every ambition to keep playing the next few years.

“My goals for the season are to keep putting up the numbers that I am right now and I would like to see our team move up the standings because I know we are capable of doing that,” said Lay. “It is just taking us some time and the wins will come. I would like to move up and play in the NAHL this season – I think that would be great. Next year, I know that I would like to be playing in the NAHL and I would like to play college hockey anywhere.

“Right now, I really don’ t have a school in mind. I guess that I am still looking.”

Jacks radio show set for next Monday

Muskegon hockey’s past and present will come together on Monday, Oct. 25, at Racquets Downtown Grill.

Ron Stephenson, who racked up 83 points during two seasons with the Muskegon Zephyrs from 1960-62, and current Lumberjacks defenseman Alexx Privitera will be guests on the team’s weekly radio show, “Breaking Out the Lumberjacks.” Held at Racquets, 470 W. Western Ave., in downtown Muskegon, the show airs on 97.5 FM The Champ from 6-7 p.m. Each week’s show is re-broadcast from 9-10 a.m. the following Saturday morning.

After his playing days in Muskegon, Stephenson was the color commentator alongside John Weideman, former Muskegon Fury broadcaster and current radio play-by-play commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks. Through five games, Privitera leads all United States Hockey League defensemen in both points (six) and assists (five). The 17-year-old from Old Tappan, N.J., will attend Boston University after his time in Muskegon.

As always, the show will be hosted by the voice of the Jacks, Christopher Heimerman, and will feature an appearance by Lumberjacks head coach Kevin Patrick. There will be giveaways and the floor will be opened for fans to ask questions of all the guests.

The Jacks (1-3-1) return home this Saturday, Oct. 23, to host the Indiana Ice (2-3-0), and will look to avenge their 4-1 season-opening loss to the Ice at the L.C. Walker Arena on Saturday, Oct. 2. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15. The theme of the night will be Big Lebowski night.

'Privy' started on wheels, excels on ice

By Christopher Heimerman

Like the blade of a hockey skate, the skills of Alexx Privitera have been carefully sharpened over the years. Interestingly enough, some of his tools were refined thanks to an inline roller skate.

The 17-year-old from Old Tappan, N.J., leads the Muskegon Lumberjacks in points and assists this, the Jacks’ inaugural season in the United States Hockey League. In fact, he leads all of the USHL’s blueliners in both of those categories. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound offensive defenseman has been honing his game on both ends of the ice since he started playing ice hockey at age 4.

But Privitera has his grandmother to thank for setting the wheels in motion – literally. Barbara Nudelman took her grandson to the park when he was just 2 for his first roller skate, which yielded mixed results.

“It’s my first memory, and I’ll never forget that she took me for my first skate - well, at least I attempted to skate around,” Privitera said, laughing.

Privy, as he’s affectionately called by his friends and teammates, immediately fell in love with roller hockey. Over the years, he’s made appearances at the North American Roller Hockey Championships (NARCh), roller hockey’s premier national competition. Two of the years he participated, his team won the gold medal in its division, while the other years, the teams scored a silver medal and a fourth-place finish.

There are glaring differences between roller and ice hockey. Outside the obvious, the play is four skaters on four, and there is no icing, offsides or hitting. Privitera says roller hockey features many more one-on-one and two-on-one situations, as the fewer number of skaters opens up the playing surface – much like in ice hockey’s overtime or when both teams are waiting for a player to hop out of the penalty box. It’s those you-against-me scenarios that developed Privitera’s creativity, vision, sense of space and hands.

“When you’ve got a guy coming at you when you’re behind the net as a defenseman, it’s you and him,” Privitera said. “You’ve got to beat him one way or another and you can’t really use your body.”

“His puck poise, his ability to handle the puck and make plays and see the ice – you can definitely see it translated from what he learned in roller hockey,” Lumberjacks head coach Kevin Patrick said.

What’s pleased Patrick is the way Privitera doesn’t cheat on the defensive side of the puck in order to be effective on offense.

“Alexx has done a really good job, not just in the scoresheet, but in his defensive game,” Patrick said. “He’s willing to block shots, compete and do the hard things defensively.”

Privitera’s willingness to sacrifice the body to block shots for the Jacks is a tool he didn’t sharpen in roller hockey. Wearing substantially less padding, players don’t dare lay down to obstruct shooting lanes. And on offense, redirections are hardly the preferred method of scoring.

“If you’re in front of the net, you’re getting right out of the way when a guy winds up,” said Privitera. “That puck moves, man.”

While Privitera, who will play college hockey at Boston University, developed several facets of his game playing roller hockey, he developed the bulk of his skill on the ice. He cites last season in Ann Arbor, his first in the USHL as a member of Team USA’s Under-17 developmental squad, as the place where he became a premier shot blocker. And, while he admittedly misses roller hockey, he’s got a one-sport mind these days.

“Roller hockey played a big role, but I’m not going to play again – that’s just being realistic,” Privitera said. “It definitely contributed to my vision and my hands and helped shape me as the kind of ice hockey player I am today.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rink will be pink in Muskegon on Oct. 30

On Saturday, Oct. 30, the Muskegon Lumberjacks won’t just go to battle with the Waterloo Black Hawks at the L.C. Walker Arena, they’ll also be facing off against breast cancer.

In an effort to raise breast cancer awareness, the Lumberjacks will hold their Pink the Rink Night. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the puck drops at 7:15 p.m. The Jacks will be dressed in pink jerseys and socks and a pink ribbon will be painted on the ice surface

Shawn Stephenson, a cancer survivor and daughter of Muskegon hockey icon Ron Stephenson, will drop the ceremonial first puck. After the game, the team will hold a live auction for the pink jerseys.

Groups of 10 or more can purchase loaded tickets for $15 per member of the group, which will get them an adult ticket to the game and a commemorative pink T-shirt. The deadline for groups to get loaded tickets is Thursday, Oct. 28. Shirts can be purchased individually for $5. All proceeds from the auction, loaded tickets and shirt sales will benefit the Johnson Family Center for Cancer Care.

Warriors' Szuma verbals to Wolverines

The Michigan Warriors have announced that defenseman Michael Szuma has committed to the University of Michigan for the 2011-12 season.

Szuma, a 19-year-old from Novi, has a goal and two assists through 12 games this season.

"I'm very excited for Mike that he's been given such a great opportunity to attend the University of Michigan," said Warriors head coach Moe Mantha. "To live a dream of playing hockey and, at the same time, get a great education is great for him and his family."

Szuma is the first player in Warriors history to commit to a Division I school.

Photo courtesy NAHL

Lumberjacks to host Ghoulwill Night

The Muskegon Lumberjacks and Goodwill Industries have joined forces to conjure up Ghoulwill Night on Friday, Oct. 29.

That night, the Jacks will face the Des Moines Buccaneers, with the puck dropping at 7:15 p.m., and the doors opening at 6. From the time the doors open until 8 p.m., Goodwill volunteers will be at the arena to collect donations of gently used clothing and other saleable household items. Donors will receive a $4 ticket voucher good toward the November 27 Lumberjacks game, also against Des Moines.

“The Muskegon Lumberjacks are dedicated to giving back to the community," Lumberjacks owner and CEO Josh Mervis said. "We support Goodwill’s mission of helping people in West Michigan find and keep good jobs."

“We depend on the generous donations from the community to support our mission of helping people find jobs,” Goodwill retail director James Cherney said. “We are grateful to the Muskegon Lumberjacks for partnering with us by hosting this event.”

The Oct. 29 game is also the night the crowd at the L.C. Walker Arena will decide the winner of the WZZM, ABC 13-hosted “Goodwill Halloween Costume Challenge.” Fans will text their choice of best costume from the three finalists displayed on the video board.

Wear your Halloween costume and enjoy pre-game trick-or-treating at the concession locations. It will also be “Nerd Night,” complete with nerd trivia and games. Come dressed as one and join the fun.

“It’s going to be a really fun night,” said Lumberjacks arena marketing coordinator Alicia Roberts. “So be sure to bring your Goodwill donations, dress in your Halloween or nerd costume, and get ready to decide the winner of Goodwill’s costume contest.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Woods, Walsh on 'Jacks radio tonight

Stories from the road and sentiments on the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ first win in the United States Hockey League will be on tap during the team’s weekly radio show tonight.

“Breaking Out the Lumberjacks” takes place every Monday from 6-7 p.m. at Racquets Downtown Grill, 446 W. Western Ave and is broadcast on 97.5 FM The Champ. The show re-airs every Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m.

Tonight’s guests will be Lumberjacks forward Brendan Woods, defenseman Travis Walsh and equipment manager Jason Smits.

Woods scored two goals and had a +3 plus/minus rating in the Jacks’ 6-0 win over Sioux City on Friday night, Muskegon’s first win in the USHL. Walsh, who played for Sioux City last season, had an assist in the game and a +2 plus/minus rating. Smits joined the staff at the outset of the season.

As always, the show will feature giveaways and the floor will be opened for fans to ask questions of all the guests.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Saginaw to host Gears throwback night

The Saginaw Spirit will be hosting Saginaw Gears Throwback Night at its Saturday, October 23 home game against the visiting Belleville Bulls.

The Spirit team will hit the ice wearing special commemorative orange and teal Gears jerseys which will be auctioned off post-game for charity. The Spirit will also recognize several Gears alumni and will be raising a tribute banner pre-game.

The Saginaw Gears were the region's premiere hockey team from 1972-1983, a member of the now-defunct International Hockey League and primary tenant of The Dow Event Center (formally known as the Saginaw Civic Center). The team reached the IHL playoffs nine consecutive seasons and the Turner Cup championship five times, winning the Turner Cup in 1977 and 1981.

The Spirit are set to welcome several Gears alumni for the event, including Dennis Desrosiers, Paul Evans, Mel Hewitt, Warren Holmes, Jim Johnston, Gordy Malinowski, Jean-Marie Nicol, D’Arcy Ryan, Ted Tucker and Dave Westner.

Trunick leading Jets from goal crease

Eric Trunick was acquired a month ago from Cleveland to come in and push the other two Metro Jets’ goaltenders for playing time.

One month later and Trunick is firmly entrenched as Metro’s No. 1 goalie and has his team on a three-game winning streak, along with being in goal for all four of Metro’s wins this season. Trunick, however, isn’t about to hog all the credit for the last three wins. Instead, he’d rather talk about the overall team effort.

“I think the biggest key is that our team plays a whole 60 minutes focused on what we need to do,” said Trunick, a Commerce Township native who turns 18 on Nov. 15. “We are not trying to take dumb penalties and we are cutting down on the amount of penalties we take, which also helps.

”I feel I have played a pretty good role in the last few wins, but so have plenty of other guys on the team. I think the team is very comfortable with me in the net, so that’s a plus. If we want to keep the wins coming, I’m going to have to step up my role even more when it comes to playing the better teams in the league.”

The goaltending position comes with enough pressure on its own, but in Trunick’s case, tending net for a team that hasn’t had a great deal of success the past few years brings an all-new set of pressures.

”On a game-to-game basis, there is a lot of pressure playing for this team,” said Trunick, who leads the CSHL with 261 saves, is seventh with a .913 save percentage and ninth with a 3.48 goals-against average. “Everybody knows right now that we’re not the team to come in and run over everybody, which means when we come to the rink to play, we’re going to war. There is a lot of extra pressure to the goalie especially on a team like this where every game matters.”

That said, pressure is something Trunick can deal with in leaning on teammates and coaches.

”The chemistry here is great,” said Trunick. “Everyone is getting along well. Even when a new kid arrives, no one is shy to intruduce themselves and make them feel a part of the team. We really have a great thing going here, from the staff to the players.”

When asked what his strengths and weaknesses are, Trunick didn’t hesitate to give the honest truth.

“A good strength I have is that I don’t let a lot of things bother me during a game, whether it’s a goal, trash talking or whatever. I have a wall that blocks everything out to play my game. A weakness I have is that sometimes I don’t stay focused on the puck for the whole 60 minutes, which can sometimes bite me in the butt because the other team could put one in and make it look like I was sleeping.”

Trunick played a bit last season for the Motor City Chiefs (now Michigan Mountain Cats) and played one game for the Jr. Lumberjacks this season before arriving in Waterford. With his third CSHL team in a year, Trunick wants to stay with the Jets for the long haul.

”I do hope Metro is the last team I play for in this league,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Trunick. “I have learned and gained a lot from this league which I’m grateful for, but I think it’s time that I need to step up to the next level. I just hope I leave Metro on a good note with a winning season.

”My goals this season are to really get my numbers up so people have something to look back on and see what I can do. A tender to the NAHL would be nice, but as long as I make an NAHL team or anything else where the hockey is free and highly competitive, I’ll be happy.”


The Jets completed a two-game sweep of the Quad City Jr. Flames with a 5-4 win at Lakeland Arena Sunday afternoon and have now won three straight games.

Metro had topped Quad City 4-3 in overtime Saturday night.

Both games, the Jets gave up third period leads, but came back to win each contest.

Sunday afternoon, the Jets (4-5-0-0) used five different goal scorers and 40 saves from Trunick for the win.

Newly-signed Cameron Bazin’s (Troy) power-play goal at 13:54 of the third period snapped a 4-4 tie and the Jets held on the rest of the way.

Justin Bennett (Brighton) scored 87 seconds into the game for the Jets and then Brett Grech (Hartland) scored four seconds into a power play at 3:25. Quad City’s Kyle Vesling made it a 2-1 game at the 7:16 mark, but Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney) restored the two-goal lead with the only goal of the second period at 18:57.

In the third period, Matt Stirling (Dexter) made it 4-1 with a goal on the man-advantage at 6:10 and all seemed to be going in the Jets’ favor.

However, Cole Findlay (6:47), Jared Fielden (8:55) and Kody Rodriguez (10:13) all scored for the Jr. Flames in a 3:16 span to bring Quad City all the way back.

That set the stage for Bazin’s goal and a second straight Metro win in dramatic fashion.

Matt Truninger finished with 16 saves through 40 minutes for Quad City before Mike Meadows played the third period and took the loss making six saves on eight shots.

Grech provided the heroics Saturday night with a goal just 31 seconds into overtime to win it after the Jets blew a two-goal lead in the third period.

Metro led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Grech 1:24 into the game.

Mike Moroso (Macomb) and Stirling replied in the second period after Quad City captain Jerry Rank had tied the game six minutes into the period.

Anthony Buchal (10:42) and Drake Fisher (12:50) tallied in the third period to knot the game at 3-all, setting up Grech’s goal early in the extra session.

Trunick played well with a 43-save outing in goal, while at the other end, Tanner Jones and Meadows combined for 26 saves. Jones started and was replaced by Meadows for the third period.

Kilgore had two assists for the Jets, including the primary helper on Grech’s game-winner.

The Jets play just one game this weekend, on Saturday night at home against the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution, a team still searching for its first win this season. Game time at Lakeland is 7:50 p.m.


Metro released goaltender Allan Dowler this week and signed goaltender Matt Braun (Ramsey, N.J.). Braun won an NJSIAA/Devils Public B state championship last season with Ramsey High School, making 40 saves and posting a shutout in the title game …Kilgore, Stirling and Moroso all have five goals to lead the Jets in that category … Prior to their overtime win last Saturday night, the last time Metro won in the extra session was on Nov. 7, 2009, when Josh Magnan’s (Waterford) goal 2:05 into overtime beat Grand Rapids, 4-3.


Forward Nick Kenney, a former Jets’ forward whose 66 points led the team in 2006-2007 and was also sixth in CSHL scoring, is entering his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Last year, Kenney, a Wixom native, had three goals and three assists in 23 games for the Pointers.

From 2007-2009, Kenney played in the NAHL for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms.

Photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dr. Murphy to care for Fighting Falcons

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons, through a partnership with Orthopedic Associates, are happy to receive the services of Dr. Todd Murphy throughout their inaugural season in the North American Hockey League.

Dr. Murphy will act as "Dr. of the Game" at many 2010-11 Fighting Falcons home games, caring for players from each participating team as needed. A 2003 graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Murphy has previously worked as team physician for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, and MLB’s Colorado Rockies.

Dr. Murphy completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic before joining Orthopedic Associates in 2009.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with such a talented doctor,” said Fighting Falcons director of administration Julie Cranskshaw. “This is an extremely tough sport and it is extremely important that our kids receive the treatment and care that they need to stay healthy and successful.”

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Jets' captain Corder leads by example

Mike Corder epitomized his role as team captain last season so much that when he decided to come back and play his final season of junior hockey with the Metro Jets, the team brass had no problems giving him the ‘C’ for the second straight year.

After all, after a shoulder injury shelved Corder last year, he didn’t sit back and sulk.

It was last October and Corder dropped the gloves with Dubuque captain Ryan Bachman. When the fight was over, Corder sat up on the ice in obvious pain.

“Bachman got the better of me during that fight and I was out for four weeks in a sling,” said Corder, a 20-year-old native of Warren. “I showed up to practices, the coaches gave me a whistle and I stood behind the bench. I have to say it was a change of scenery that I did not like too much. Instead of having surgery and sitting out six months, I went to physical therapy and came back as soon as the shoulder felt strong enough. It never hurts during practice or a game, or I can't feel it, but it hurts before and after.”

Even when last season ended, Corder thought his competitive hockey career was history.

“After last season, I was unclear as to what I really wanted to do – either play hockey or go to college full-time,” explained Corder. “The more I thought about it, the more my mind was set on going to school. I didn't go to any camps all summer; I had literally hung up my skates. Next thing I knew, the exhibition season was starting. (Jets head) coach (Jason) Cirone called me and got me to come out and play an exhibition game against Flint (which the Jets won, 4-3, with six seconds left) and I got a good feeling about the team and the coaching staff.”

As for wearing the ‘C,’ Corder said he feels humbled by the honor, but it’s not something he sought out to get at the beginning of last year.

“I am just the kind of guy who shows up and punches the clock night in and night out,” Corder said. “I'm not the most vocal, but my philosophy is to lead by example. I know my role as a player and I do my job at 110 percent. I expect my team to meet the standard that I set.”

Showing his team player attributes, Corder said even though Metro has just two wins heading into this weekend, it’s not panic time. In fact, it’s the perfect time to show why he’s the Jets’ captain.

“The season has started off a little slower than we hoped for, but we are showing our potential 10 minutes here, five minutes there,” said Corder. “We all just need to buy in 100 percent to what Coach is trying to teach us and simplify the game. It will take a few games for the young guys to get up to speed and understand the game at this level, but it will happen. I feel some pressure, but it is only the pressure that I put on myself to play at the level I expect for myself. I see that as the best way to lead my team.”

Now with renewed enthusiasm to play hockey as long as he can, Corder also has the mentality that this season may be his swan song. His maturity in dealing with that situation certainly shows another side of Corder’s leadership qualities.

“This is my last year of juniors and I am also prepared that it may be my last season of highly competitive hockey with checking, national championships, stuff like that,” Corder said. “If the right opportunity arose I would be right there to jump on it. Life without hockey isn't life at all, so I am just going to focus on playing as well as I can this season because all I can control is what I do.

“There is no reason to worry about next year yet, there is still work to be done this season. Getting noticed and playing college hockey would be great, preferably Division I, but even if it is Division III, I love hockey and if I can play longer, hey, the longer the better.”


The Jets lost at home and won on the road last weekend to push their season record to 2-5-0-0.

Andrew Lay's four goals led the Flint Jr. Generals past the Jets, 6-4, Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Caleb O'Brien and Alexander Truran added the other goals for Flint, while goalie Dominic Orlando finished with 18 saves for the win in goal.

The Jets got goals from four different skaters – Tommy Burns (Pinckney), Mike Denston (White Lake), Mike Moroso (Macomb) and Matt Stirling (Dexter) – and a 33-save outing from goaltender Allan Dowler.

Metro faced a 2-1 deficit midway through the second period Sunday afternoon, but scored the next four goals and held on for a 5-3 win over the Michigan Mountain Cats at Canfield Arena.

After a scoreless first period, Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney) staked the Jets to a 1-0 lead with his first of two goals just 20 seconds into the second period. Spencer Scahill scored the next two for the Mountain Cats, both on the power play (at 3:32 and 10:29), to give Michigan the lead until Burns scored a goal with the man-advantage at 12:51 to send the Jets into the second intermission tied at 2-all.

In the third period, Stirling tallied at 5:13 and then Dan Hudson (Gregory) and Kilgore scored 22 seconds apart at 14:05 and 14:27 to complete the comeback.

Aaron Teal scored a late goal for Michigan at 18:11.

For the Jets, Eric Trunick (Commerce Township) earned the win in goal with a 21-save performance. Trunick has been in goal for both of Metro's wins this season.

Brett Grech (Hartland) added two assists for the Jets.

Schuyler Ferguson took the loss for the Mountain Cats, but did make 27 saves in the game.

The Jets host the Quad City Jr. Flames this weekend for a two-game series at Lakeland Arena. Game time Saturday night is 7:50 p.m. with a 1:20 p.m. puck drop set for Sunday afternoon.


Moroso and Kilgore share the team lead in goals with four apiece … Rookie defenseman Ian Costello (Lansing) made his season debut last weekend after being out the first month with a severely lacerated arm and shoulder … The Jets added goalie Alfonse Kolis (Howell) and forward Cameron Bazin (Troy) this week. Goalie Mitchel Leist (White Lake) was released.


Goalie Colin Greeley, who played in Waterford during the 2008-2009 season as a 16-year-old, is now with the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Greeley, a Howell native drafted by the Saginaw Spirit in the fourth round of the 2008 Ontario Hockey League draft, also attended the United States Hockey League Combine this past summer.

In Leamington, Greeley currently has a 4-3-0 record with a 2.82 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

Photo by Andy Grossman/Detailed Images

Friday, October 08, 2010

VIDEO: L.C. Walker Arena renovations

Noel-Bernier right at home with Jacks

By Christopher Heimerman

As Dave Noel-Bernier sits in his office adjacent to the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ new workout facility, he couldn’t feel more at home.

“I love this town and I love the United States Hockey League,” the former Muskegon Fury skater and current Lumberjacks assistant coach said. “I’m a small town guy, so this is perfect. It’s a decent-sized city, but it’s got everything – the lakes, the dunes and the trails. I’m an outdoorsy kind of guy.”

But what really puts him at ease is peering through his office window and seeing how hard his players are working.

“They just keep working,” Noel-Bernier said. “All I’ve got to do is look out this little window and I see what a group of hard-working guys we’ve got.”

Noel-Bernier, along with Jacks head coach Kevin Patrick, has put the unique terrain Muskegon offers to use in order to put the Jacks through a training camp unlike any they’d previously faced.

The players arrived at the end of August and spent the first week strictly training off the ice, conquering such activities as pounding out reps in the weight room and running the dunes along the lakeshore.

But the demanding regimen came with an underlying promise.

“It was established from the first day that we’d be able to do anything as long as we do it as a team,” said Jacks captain John Parker.

Parker, who is committed to play hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, vividly remembers one of the team’s first tasks – scaling the massive dunes in under 12 seconds.

“When everyone finished that, it was a really big accomplishment for the team,” Parker said. “Then we knew – as a team – we can do anything.”

Right winger Matt Berry, who will play college hockey at Michigan State University, admits that he needed to acclimate to the weight-training expectations.

“It takes a while to get used to; I started off not doing much and I’d get really sore during the weeks,” Berry said. “You start to see the results and your weights go up – you get happy about it. It gives you motivation to keep going and keep working hard.”

Noel-Bernier, 34, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach who has developed his program very scientifically.

“Everything we do in here, it’s stuff that I’ve done,” Noel-Bernier said. “I know what’s good and what’s bad. Coach Patrick and I believe in our program and know what it can do for them. Not only now, but in the future.”

Noel-Bernier played two seasons with the Muskegon Fury and was a member of the team that hoisted the Colonial Cup in 2004. When the Lumberjacks opened their inaugural season in the USHL at the L.C. Walker Arena on Saturday, Oct. 2, his heart swelled with pride as he watched his old skating grounds fill up.

The winger also played four seasons in the European professional ranks. After retiring, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he served as the director of hockey operations and the strength and conditioning coach.

After urging his college pupils to push themselves to their limits, he’s been blown away by the Jacks’ resolve.

“I think they’ve done a phenomenal job,” Noel-Bernier said. “They love to be pushed. They don’t complain. They just do what they’re told to do.”

And, being with the team nearly every day – whether it be on the ice, on a bus or otherwise - the staff has quickly learned just how much to tell them.

“You’ve got to know how far to push them before you stop and give them rest,” Noel-Bernier said. “You’ve got to find that balance.

“We’re taking that training camp and building on it. We’re not where we want to be still, but we’re getting closer every week.”

- Christopher Heimerman is the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ broadcaster and communications director. He can be reached at

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Fighting Falcons introduce mascot

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons unveiled the team’s mascot “Shootsy” at the first home game in franchise history last Friday.

Throughout opening weekend, Shootsy was a huge hit with fans of all ages at McMorran Arena as large crowds welcomed the Fighting Falcons to town. Shootsy kept fans entertained all weekend, and was especially popular with younger fans.

The mascot was sponsored by Casey’s Pizza and Subs of downtown Port Huron. Casey’s Pizza is owned and operated by Casey Harris, who spent three seasons with the Port Huron Beacons from 2002-2005. His restaurant features a wide array of interesting hockey memorabilia.

“We were thrilled to work with Casey to bring in a mascot for our team,” said Julie Crankshaw, Fighting Falcons director of administration. “Throughout the years fans in Port Huron have always enjoyed interacting with mascots at the games, and even though many teams in this league don’t have one, we thought bringing in a mascot is a great way to keep fans entertained and interacting with the team.”

Shootsy will make his next appearance when the Fighting Falcons take on the Traverse City North Stars this Friday and Saturday at McMorran Arena. Each game will start at 7:11 p.m.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

PINK OUT game coming to Saginaw

The Saginaw Spirit have partnered with the St. Mary’s of Michigan Seton Cancer Institute to present the fourth annual PINK OUT Breast Cancer Awareness game on Saturday, October 9.

The Spirit take on the Guelph Storm at 7:11 p.m., at The Dow Event Center of Saginaw.

The Spirit will be recognizing several breast cancer survivors in a special pre-game center ice ceremony and the Spirit team will hit the ice wearing special PINK OUT jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game. The proceeds from the jersey auction will be donated to the cause. There is also a pink pon-pom giveaway, courtesy of the St. Mary’s of Michigan Seton Cancer Institute.

Fans can also check out the pre-game action when the Hockey Angles hit the ice at 4:30 p.m. as part of the evening’s fundraising efforts.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Warriors add Walkon, drop Ladd, Davis

The Michigan Warriors made a trade with the New Mexico Mustangs Thursday and acquired former Belle Tire forward Andrew Walkon for future considerations.

In other moves, the Warriors released Fenton native Trevor Ladd and fellow forward Eli Davis, a Macomb native (both pictured above).

NAHL teams had until midnight Thursday to get their rosters down to the 23-player limit.

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