Thursday, November 17, 2011

Petoskey's Kelley adjusting to Jets

Making the jump from high school hockey to Junior A hockey was an adjustment at first for Dillon Kelley.

He has since come into his own and is constantly pushing his goalie counterpart, Devin Williams, for playing time in the Metro Jets’ crease.

“The first few games and weeks were rough for me,” said Kelley, a 17-year-old Petoskey native. “I feel I was being too hard on myself, but once I lightened up, I got my game back and have improved every game. The hockey is a much faster pace and the players are much more creative and smarter.”

Kelley played last season for Petoskey High School and was scouted by Jets’ assistant coach Randy Wilson, who saw the potential for Kelley to play juniors.

“Randy wanted me to come to the Jets’ open camp and after I went to the camp, he said he would like me to come to main camp,” Kelley said. “That was when they offered me a spot. I really didn’t know much about the Jets or the NA3HL. All I knew was what Randy had told me and I didn’t really know what to expect. After being in the league and on the team for two months now, I am very happy to be on this team and in this league.”

So far this season, Kelley is 3-1-0 with a 4.25 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage. Williams has seen the bulk of playing time, but Kelley has played well when called upon.

“Devo is probably my closest friend on the team,” explained Kelley. “We hang out all the time and love to talk hockey and equipment. Within that friendship, we both want to push each other to get better and we both want to play. There is competition there, but it’s a good one.”

Kelley sat on the bench for one game earlier this season as a backup for the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons. That experience opened Kelley’s eyes as to what it will take to make the lateral move to the NAHL.

“I plan to keep working hard day in and day out on and off the ice,” boasted Kelley. “I want to improve myself so I can help my team win whenever I am in the net. I hope to get better and better game in and game out and help our team get to where we want to be at the end of the regular season.

“My goals are to improve and get to the next level like everyone else, but my main goal is to help the Jets make it deep into playoffs and win a championship.”


The Toledo Cherokee jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held on to top the Jets, 5-3, last Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.

Jake Schlacht, Chris Hellebuyck and Zach Mohr scored for the Jets.

In goal, Williams started and allowed all five Toledo goals in 28:21 of work, making 16 saves in the process.

Kelley replaced Williams and made 20 saves.

The Jets (10-7-0-0) are now idle until Wednesday, Nov. 23, when they play in Flint.

Metro's next home game is Sunday, Nov. 27, against Toledo at 11:50 a.m.

*** NOTE *** All Sunday home games are now at 11:50 a.m., instead of 1:20 p.m.


Defenseman Jordan Jones, who played 23 games for the Jets last season, returned to the team and made his 2011-12 debut against Toledo.

Jones, a 20-year-old Toledo native, tallied eight assists in 16 games with the Boston Jr. Blackhawks of the International Junior Hockey League this year.

Last season, Jones recorded four assists after he was acquired from Toledo on Nov. 23, 2010.

Justin Shureb, an 18-year-old forward from Livonia, also joined the Jets last Friday.

Shureb was drafted fourth overall by the Jets out of Livonia Stevenson High School last June. He was an honorable mention Division 1 All-State selection last year.

Shureb joins Mike MacKinnon, Hellebuyck, Tim Perks (injured, hasn’t played this year), John Baker, Chad Frost, Tim Wlodkowski and Steve Klisz as 2011 draft picks to make the Jets’ team this season.


Wylie Rogers, a goaltender on the 2002 Silver Cup national Junior B championship team, is playing this season for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League.

Rogers, who played for the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2002-03, also played four years of Division I college hockey for Alaska-Fairbanks of the CCHA from 2004-08.

The 26-year-old native of Fairbanks saw time last season for the Heerenveen Flyers pro team in the Netherlands.

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