Saturday, October 06, 2012

Jets' rookie Gambino progessing well

The Metro Jets liked forward Mike Gambino so much last season that on draft day this past June, the Jets made a major deal with Quad City to move up to No. 5 in the first round to nab the slick-skating 18-year-old from Livonia Churchill High School.

Now a few weeks into the North American 3 Hockey League season, Gambino has seven points in his first six games and seems to be fitting in well and adjusting to junior hockey.

In fact, when Metro coach Jason Cirone was asked if Gambino has played as he hoped he would, Cirone answered, “Well, yes and no.”

“On the offensive side, Gambino has done an outstanding job for us,” said Cirone. “There is no doubt about that. The reason I said ‘no’ is that I never knew the kid could play as physical as he’s been this year. He’s definitely brought a new element to our team this season.”

"The NA3 is a lot more physical than I had expected, but I like playing a physical game, so it's not a huge adjustment for me," Gambino said. "I would say this league is what I expected and then some. The guys on our team are awesome and I'm having a great time. I like to get to a good start early in the season. if I don't, then I feel pressure on myself to produce and it just makes me play worse. I am very comfortable on the ice."

At 6-foot and 185 pounds, Gambino has the size to make an impact in the NA3HL, but more than that, he’s a player that wants to keep learning and wants to get better.

"Our captain, Matt Stirling, has probably been the biggest help to me," said Gambino. "If there's anything that I'm doing in practice, in games, or even the locker room that I should be doing, he always has something to say to help me out."

“He has great speed and you always need that up front at any level of hockey,” said Cirone. “Mike is also learning to play well in his own end and that’s something good players do – they excel on both sides of the puck and in all three zones.

“I think Gambino is the type of player North American Hockey League teams want and I think if he keeps improving as much as he has so far, he will have his pick of NAHL teams for next season.”

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