Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hosking playing solid 'D' for surging Jets

Josh Hosking started this season with the North American Hockey League’s Jamestown Ironmen, but when he was cut from the team, his next option was only a phone call away.


“When I was released from Jamestown, the coach told me to talk to (Metro Jets’ coach) Jason Cirone and I got a call from Jason actually during my drive home the next day,” explained Hosking, a 19-year-old defenseman from Oxford. “Jason has been great. He can be very intimidating at times, but he knows how and when to push the buttons with guys and he knows what he is talking about.

“One thing I learned almost immediately is that he always has us players’ best interests in mind and wants to better every single guy in the room as much as possible.”

Now a fixture on the Jets’ blue line in the North American 3 Hockey League, Hosking logs a regular shift and usually plays a shutdown role against opposing team’s top lines. Hosking said he’s happy with his role in Waterford, but ultimately, wants to move back up to the NAHL.

“I am working to play in all situations, better my skills on the ice and working out everyday to become stronger,” explained Hosking. “I would say my shot and my vision with the puck fit well in the NAHL, but I know I need to work on my foot work.”

On a four-game winning streak, the Jets have seemingly bonded and gelled in recent weeks and when that happens, wins can pile up.

”Everyone is really coming together,” Hosking said. “There has been a lot of bonding and a feeling of really becoming a family around the room. We are playing well as a team since we are playing all the top teams in the league.

“I feel we are proving to people we are better than what our record shows.”


Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was named the NA3HL’s 1st Star of the Week after his two wins last week against Flint and Michigan.

“The NA3HL is a great league to get him some shots and experience,” said Cirone. “He is very talented and very calm and composed for being just 16 years old. He plays with a lot of confidence and our team has fed off that.”


Former Metro forward Brad Townsend, who played for the Jets during the 2005-06 season, is playing with the Dayton Demonz of the Federal Hockey League this season.

After his season with the Jets, Townsend, a 25-year-old Davisburg native, played for the Pembroke (Ont.) Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League and then in 2008-09, played in the International Hockey League with the Flint Generals.

Townsend also had previous pro stops in the FHL and also in the ECHL, All-American Hockey League and Central Hockey League.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grizzel has high hopes for Hartland

Alex Grizzel only joined the Hartland Hounds last weekend and played in the team’s one game against the NWO Grrrowl, but already feels like he’s been with the team since the summer.

Originally signed to play for the MWJHL’s Traverse City Cohos, when that team unfortunately didn’t get off the ground, Grizzel wasn’t without a team.

“(Traverse City coach) Scott Gardiner helped me land a spot on the Hounds roster,” explained Grizzel, an 18-year-old Traverse City native who played last year at Traverse City West High School. “I feel I can bring a lot to the table offensively by scoring goals and making plays. I like big hits and dropping the gloves as well so hopefully, that will get the boys fired up.”

Recording an assist in Hartland’s 5-0 win over the Grrrowl last Friday night, Grizzel came away impressed with the makeup of the Hounds and the league overall.

“The team is great and we have a lot of skill and depth on the roster,” said Grizzel. “(Hartland head coach) Randy (Montrose) is a great guy, a great coach and I’m excited to play for him this season. From what I saw in Toledo, the league looks pretty solid.”

In Hartland, where the vast majority of players are from the Hartland and Howell areas, Grizzel doesn’t see him coming from up north as an issue.

“I feel I fit in fine,” Grizzel said. “In hockey, it does not matter where you’re from. Everyone is just trying to have fun and live the dream.

“I think we have the team to win a national championship this season.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Olson sees great success with Hounds

Brendan Olson didn’t play any competitive hockey last season or at the start of this season.

Then he got the itch that he wasn’t done lacing up the skates.

Olson then took in a Hartland Hounds’ game in October and that was all he needed.

“I came down and saw the Hounds play and then later that night, I emailed coach (Randy) Montrose and he invited me down for practice,” said Olson, who signed with Hartland on Nov. 2. “I really didn’t know too much about the Hounds or about the MWJHL prior to joining the team. I knew that the Hounds were in first place, but other than that, I didn't know too much.”

A 20-year-old defenseman from Grand Blanc, Olson said he initially wasn’t sure how the players would welcome him to the team, but those worries lasted all of a few seconds.

“I thought it would be hard to adjust when first coming to the team because I didn’t know anyone and they were all very close, but the guys were very good about introducing themselves to me and helping to make me feel part of the team,” explained Olson. “Making the road trip to Bloomington for my first games helped me to spend a lot of extra time with the guys and settle in.

“I hope to bring a physical presence to the Hounds and dependable, consistent defensive zone play.”

Joining an undefeated team might seem a big chore, but Olson said the mood around the 20-0 Hounds “is no different than the mood around a .500 team.”

 “If anything, we are even more focused than an average team,” said Olson. “We all realize that we can’t get too confident and we need to work hard each and every day in order to be fully prepared for tough post-season games. We make sure to play our game night in and night out and stick to our game plan.”

And if that happens, Olson sees even more excitement down the road on a personal and team level.

“My short-term hockey goals are to provide solid defense for the Hounds and to win both the MWJHL championship and a national championship,” said Olson. “My long-term hockey goals are to move up and play the highest level of college hockey that I can. I plan to pursue my hockey career and take it to the highest level that I can through hard work and consistent play.”

HOUNDS NOTEBOOK: Hartland signed forward Alex Grizzel (Traverse City) this week and put goaltender Colin Longeway (Pinckney) on the 30-day injured reserve with a foot injury.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kalamazoo sends two more to college

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings have announced the college commitments of forward Mac McDonnell and defenseman Sam Johnson.

McDonnell has committed to play his collegiate hockey at the University of Windsor of the Canadian Intercollegiate Sport League. The team is run by head coach Kevin Hamlin, who has led the Lancers to a 10-2 record so far, which leads the Ontario West division and leaves them ranked No. 5 in the country.

The 20-year-old right-winger from Allen Park joined the Jr. K-Wings just last week from the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League in time to skate in his first game in a Kalamazoo sweater against the Michigan Warriors. He made his appearance felt by tallying an assist in Kalamazoo’s 3-2 overtime victory.

Johnson, a two-year veteran of the NAHL, joined Kalamazoo after being traded from the Amarillo Bulls and will be playing at Division III Trinity College of the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The school, which has very high academic standards, is a perfect fit for Johnson, whose hobbies include creating iPhone apps, with goals after hockey including owning a software development company.

The Trinity team is currently ranked fourth in their conference.

Johnson is currently tied for the team lead in plus/minus with a +10 rating and was also the first Jr. K-Wing to be named an alternate captain during the active season. He currently wears an “A” with fellow alternate captains Nick Kovalchik, Taylor Burden and Matt Wurst.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jets' rookie Krajewski finding his way

T.J. Krajewski is just 17 years old, but is finding his way through his rookie season with the Metro Jets and learning what Junior A hockey in the North American 3 Hockey League is all about.

Back on Nov. 11 at Battle Creek, the Macomb native and Jets’ defenseman tallied a goal and two assists – all of his points to date – along with a plus-4 rating in a 9-3 win over the Jr. Revolution in just his eighth game of the season.

Playing in just half the Jets’ games entering this week of play, Krajewski has been happy with his current situation.

“My season is going pretty well at this point,” Krajewski said. “It is quite the big jump coming from Midget A hockey (Krajewski played for the Rochester Rattlers last season - pictured), but I knew the NA3HL was a good league to start playing juniors in. It’s really big for me now that I got my first goal out of the way.”

Most players would say they want to keep scoring at a rapid pace as once they get that elusive first goal, they want more.

Not so, said the realistic Krajewski.

“I’m looking to score at least five goals this season,” said Krajewski. “The Jets are a good team and I know (Metro head coach Jason) Cirone will help me out a lot. He is a great coach and knows a lot about the game. As for my teammates, guys like Jeff Monfils, (Jets’ captain) Matt Stirling and Doug Andrews have all helped me through the season the most. I owe a lot to those guys.”

Just getting started in his junior career, Krajewski has some broad goals in mind for the future and wants to keep working to get to where he wants to be.

“Short-term, I just want to improve all of my skills,” Krajewski said. “Long term, I want to move up in the leagues and get a shot at playing college hockey.”

And with his confidence booming after his outbreak against Battle Creek, anything is possible for Krajewski.


The Jets (7-8-0-0) sat idle last weekend, but play Wednesday night in Flint and then Sunday afternoon at home against the Michigan Mountain Cats and former Jets’ forward Cam Bruff (2011-12).


Of Stirling’s 27 points this season, just six have come on special teams (one shorthanded goal, one power-play goal and four power-play assists), showing how effective the Jets’ captain is playing five-on-five.

Andrews is just as potent five-on-five, with just a power-play goal and three power-play assists among his 25 points this year.

Both have also combined for just 10 penalty minutes (all minors) this season and each are among the top 10 NA3HL scoring leaders.


Two former Jets’ captains currently skate for the Oakland University ACHA Division I team in Adam Novack and Tommy Kilgore.

Novack, a senior, played for the Jets from 2007-09, while Kilgore, a freshman at OU, suited up for the Jets from 2010-12 and also played three games with the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons in early 2011.

Oakland junior forward Art Dore is also an ex-Jet and played for NCAA Division III Becker College prior to coming to OU.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kalamazoo adds Allen Park's McDonnell

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings have announced the addition of forward Mac McDonnell.

McDonnell, a 20-year-old right-wing from Allen Park, comes to the Jr. K-Wings after spending the last two seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

In each of the last two seasons, McDonnell played in 62 regular-season games. In 2010-11, he scored eight goals and added 10 assists and last season, McDonnell poured in seven goals and was credited with six assists for 13 points.

McDonnell didn’t suit up this season for the Otters and he is set to join a Kalamazoo team that has lost four of its last five games and is looking for offensive production.

Hounds' Russian import a welcome add

With all the local players on the Hartland Hounds this season, bringing in an “outsider” might disrupt team chemistry, right?

Hardly, even when the new player hails from Russia.

Nik Bakanov arrived in Hartland last month from his native Moscow looking to get exposure to North American hockey with the hopes of making a career here.

So far with the Hounds, the 17-year-old forward has a goal and two assists in five games. As for chemistry, Bakanov said the players have been extremely welcoming.

“I like the guys and I'm friends with all of them and the coaches, the same,” said Bakanov. “I know the league is young and I love the Hounds team because we play smart hockey, not dirty hockey.”

Hartland coach-GM Randy Montrose heard about Bakanov through the hockey grapevine and thought he’d be a good fit in Hartland.

Turns out, Montrose was right.

“Nik is a kid we heard was interested in coming to play over here, so we made some calls,” explained Montrose. “We play a very European style of hockey in moving the puck, things like that, and that has helped Nik fit in immediately. We’re working with him everyday to make him comfortable here and he’s working with us to make that happen.”

Bakanov said he played on some very strong teams back home and one day, he hopes to play for his favorite team, the Moscow Dynamo, a team that currently sports Alexander Ovechkin on its roster.

Still, Bakanov’s move to Michigan is making him realize that there are many opportunities in North America.

“I'm interested in American hockey because I have never been to America and I like leagues like the OHL and the USHL,” said Bakanov. “Not many friends from Russia have played in these leagues, but I want to work and train to get there.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jets' rookie finds 'Holm' in Waterford

It appears Alex Holm’s adjustment period going from AAA hockey to the North American 3 Hockey League is over.

After recording just one goal over his first 11 games this season with the Metro Jets, Holm quadrupled his goal total with three last weekend as the Jets beat the Flint Jr. Generals and Battle Creek Jr. Revolution.

Holm, a 17-year-old West Bloomfield native, also finished with a plus-5 rating for the weekend.

According to Holm, it was only a matter of time before his offense started to click and the team started to gel.

 “I feel that the season started off a little rough and we were playing our own style of hockey, but now we’re coming together as a team and listening to (head coach Jason) Cirone and getting the job done because our own ways of playing games doesn't work,” said Holm, who played in the North American Prospects Hockey League last season with the Detroit Falcons U-18 team (pictured). “The jump to the NA3 was pretty big, though. I had to adjust to the speed of the game and the physical play.”

Jets’ veteran Travis Hargett has been a big help in getting acclimated to junior hockey, said Holm.

“Hargett has showed me the ropes about all the rules and details the NA3 has,” Holm said. “Before this season, I knew that the Jets moved a lot of players on to play higher levels of hockey, so that was very appealing to me. I have also learned that Cirone is a very good coach. He knows his hockey and also has a very good hockey background and can teach me a lot on the ice and off the ice.”

Still, when asked what he most wants to accomplish this season, Holm strayed from personal numbers.

”I just want to make the playoffs,” said Holm. “Our long-term goal would be to take the Silver Cup. If we keep playing the way we did last weekend, we have the team that can match up against anyone in this league.”


Late last week, the Jets released goaltender Luke DuBois and forward Ian Springfield.

DuBois went 1-1-0 this season with a 4.29 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage, while Springfield tallied two goals in 12 games.


Defenseman Vinnie Pietrangelo, who played for the Jets back in 2009-10 after being their top draft pick in the 2009 CSHL draft, is now in his junior season at Division III Finlandia University in Hancock, Mich.

Unfortunately, Pietrangelo fractured his collarbone in early September and not expected to return until January.

Another ex-Jet, forward Todd Knaus, is also playing for Finlandia, but is out with a knee injury. Pietrangelo and Knaus were teammates at Traverse City West High School as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saginaw trades for Bulls' d-man Shaw

The Saginaw Spirit announced Monday that they have acquired overage defenseman Jason Shaw from the Belleville Bulls in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2013 OHL draft, a pick that was originally property of the Barrie Colts.

So far in 19 games with the Bulls this season, the Belleville, Ont., native has four assists.

Shaw began his OHL career with Niagara in the 2009-10 season, appearing in 17 games before briefly moving on to the QMJHL.

In 63 career games with Belleville, Shaw has recorded one goal and 20 assists for 21 points.

Shaw, the is younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks' forward and former OHL skater Andrew Shaw, is expected he will be in the lineup when the Spirit play host to the Plymouth Whalers tomorrow night.

Photo courtesy OHL Images

Friday, November 09, 2012

Parrott playing mature game in Hartland

Zack Parrott barely remembers the Detroit Red Wings winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997-98.

That’s because the Hartland Hounds’ defenseman was only born in 1997, making him the youngest player on the Hounds’ roster and the youngest in all of the Midwest Junior Hockey League.

On the ice, one would hardly realize Parrott is but a sophomore in high school.

In two of his last three games, he has dropped the gloves and fared well. Then again, that’s part of Parrott’s game.

“I have always tried to play more physical and don't back down from anybody,” said Parrott. “I am not afraid to go in the corners or battle in front of the net. Really, I try to follow Nick Lidstrom's way of playing. He played solid every night and didn't try to get fancy – just a solid stay-home defenseman.”

Playing most nights against players up to five years his senior, Parrott is also used to that.

He played on the Howell High School junior varsity team (pictured) when he was in eighth grade and also skated with the JV squad during the 2011-12 season.

“I have always wanted to play for (Hartland coach) Randy (Montrose) and his coaches,” Parrott said. “When I went to tryouts, I felt I played well and when Randy offered me a spot on the Hounds, I thought it would be a great opportunity, so I happily accepted.

“I get along great with all of the guys on the team. They don't treat me any differently because of my age. Playing in this league with guys that are all older than I am forces me to play at my best every night to make up for my age.”

Parrott, who sees himself playing college hockey down the road, went on to say that being on the MWJHL’s top team record-wise has helped to shape him into a leader.

“Every teammate has taught me something different about playing at this level,” said Parrott. “We have great leadership in our captains, Jake Henrikson, Max Biggings and Jared Vincek, who always lead by example, but every player is a leader on this team.

“I am very proud to be a part of the Hounds. We are a strong team with lots of talented players. We have battled through this season so far and we need to keep working hard to get better every day.”

More transactions for Jr. K-Wings

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings have announced a number of roster transactions that have been completed in the last couple days.

First, defenseman Sean Campbell has been traded to the Michigan Warriors for future considerations. Campbell, who has been in the NAHL the past two seasons, played in 15 games this season with Kalamazoo, but wasn’t able to register a point. He logged two penalty minutes and was a minus-1.

The season before, the East Lansing native skated in 36 contests and posted seven points on one goal and six assists. He was also plus-4 with 49 penalty minutes.

In a separate transaction, Kalamazoo has traded future considerations to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons to acquire defenseman Cole Pierce. The 19-year-old rookie defenseman from Grand Ledge dressed in 14 games for the Fighting Falcons and tallied one assist, was plus-2 and picked up two penalty minutes.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder adds to a blue line core that looks almost brand-new compared to how the season started after getting Mark Esshaki back from injury and acquiring Sam Johnson and Brendan Vetter through trades earlier in the season.

Lastly, Kalamazoo has released defenseman Kyle Ware.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Jets' goalie trio works well on, off the ice

The Metro Jets are familiar with the philosophy that defense wins games and to a greater extent, wins championships.

With the last line of defense starting in goal, the Jets have three very capable goaltenders this season that have all shown the ability to play at the North American 3 Hockey League level.

Luke DuBois, Austin Julvezan and Trevor Kalinowski are all rookies in the NA3HL, but all have earned wins for the Jets this season. What’s more is that the trio gets along off the ice and pushes each other on the ice.

Essentially, it’s a win-win situation for all three goalies.

“The friendly competition is good,” said Julvezan. “I've always gotten along with my goalie partners, but playing with these guys is easy. We all support each other when it's not our game. We get along outside of the rink pretty well. These guys are just easy to be around and we always have a good time.”

“The competition between us three goalies is what I've enjoyed most this season,” added DuBois. “We push each other to be at our best and always stay positive no matter who is between the pipes on a given day.”

Kalinowski (pictured), who played at Lakeland High School last season and has seen the bulk of action thus far for Metro, currently leads the Jets with three wins, while DuBois and Julvezan have one apiece.

“I feel the season has gone fairly well,” said Kalinowski. “I’ve certainly learned a lot and still have more to learn from my coaches and my teammates. We all seem to be bonding very close to each other. I consider this year a big leap in the right direction for my hockey career, since I split last season with a senior on Lakeland’s varsity team.”

Julvezan played the 2011-12 season for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, going all the way to the Division I state semifinals before losing to Brighton High School and current Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks’ rookie goalie Christian Michalik.

“My season has gone well so far,” Julvezan said. “Going from a starter to rotating was hard to get used to at first, but I'm really starting to feel myself excel. The jump from where I played last season compared to the NA3 was minor. The speed of the game hasn't changed by much, but the shots are harder and more accurate. Before this season, I knew the NA3 had become a better level of play and had improved from what people used to perceive it as.”

During the 2011 NA3HL Entry Draft, DuBois was actually drafted by the Flint Jr. Generals, but chose to stay and play his senior season at Gabriel Richard High School. When the chance came up this season for him to join the Jets, there was no hesitation.

“I have had a decent season thus far and I have some things that I can work on, but I feel as if I've performed when given the opportunity,” DuBois said. “The jump to the NA3 was large compared to the level of my team last season, though I was used to the fast paced style of play from participating in the MDHL and other showcases. I don't really have any set goals for the season. I enjoy seeing our team win and would rather have my team win than have personal goals fulfilled. Before this season I was pretty familiar with the NA3 and have known (Jets assistant and goalie) coach (Randy) Wilson for quite awhile.”

Each goalie also said they hope to jump to the North American Hockey League next season with an eye on playing in college one day.

“I just want to take it as it comes,” Julvezan said.

 “I would just like to keep hockey a part of my life in any way possible,” added DuBois.

So who gets the start Saturday night against Flint? That is the $64,000 question.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Falcons' defender Auk MTU-bound

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons have announced the commitment of defenseman Mark Evan Auk to play NCAA Division I hockey at Michigan Tech University, a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Auk, a 17-year-old defenseman from Grosse Pointe Park, is currently in his first year with the Fighting Falcons after leading the University Liggett Knights to the Division 3 Michigan state high school hockey championship last year.

Auk ranks in the top 10 in scoring for all NAHL defensemen with two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 20 games.

“Mark Evan is just starting to develop into a top defenseman and Michigan Tech will be getting an excellent player and person when Mark Evan steps on that campus,” said Port Huron coach-GM Michael Gershon. “We have tried to make sure that he is playing two-way hockey, but his offensive abilities have shined through. He takes good care of the puck and continues to be a very pleasant surprise for us this season.”

Auk was named the Combat Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month back in September, where he recorded eight points from the blueline (two goals, six assists) in 10 games played during the month, helping the Fighting Falcons to first place in the North Division during the month.

“It has been the best year so far for me in hockey-wise and I have learned a lot in just the couple of months that I have been here,” said Auk. “At this level, mistakes can really cost you, so I have tried to make smart decisions with and without the puck. I think we have a smart and experienced team. We get better as the game goes along and I think that has played into our success thus far.”

Auk becomes the second player to commit to college this season for the Fighting Falcons after Ian Miller, who had previously committed to Lake Superior State.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

D-man Cebalt a quiet force for Hounds

Garrett Cebalt is one of those quiet players for the Hartland Hounds that simply goes out, does his job on the back end and does it consistently.

An unsung hero for sure, but the 18-year-old from Milford is happy with his role and will continue to handle shut down duties as long as the Hounds keep winning.

Coming from high school hockey, Cebalt knew he would need to step his game up a notch and so far, he’s done just that.

“It's a pretty big jump going from high school to juniors,” Cebalt said. “All the players are better and faster, which means you have to be as well. Everything is different. There are more road trips, team bonding sessions, more games, the longer season, better teams and players.

“My expectations for this season are to improve myself as a player in all aspects of my game. Long term, I would like to keep playing hockey as long as I can, but right now, I want to focus on the good thing we have going in Hartland.”

Being one of the many local players on the team means Cebalt found his niche almost immediately on the team.

“Everyone gets along great,” said Cebalt. “I have seen no problems between anyone. We all seem like brothers on and off the ice.”

On the ice, Cebalt said his game is keeping it simple.

”I feel like I have a more defensive role on the team,” said Cebalt. “I just want to keep the puck out of our zone and make that good defensive play to stop a goal.”

So far, so good.

Jets' Palushaj making name for himself

Andrew Palushaj has some pretty good hockey bloodlines and has brought them to the Metro Jets this year after starting the season in the North American Hockey League.

The cousin of Aaron Palushaj, a former University of Michigan star with 41 games of NHL experience under his belt with the Montreal Canadiens, Andrew played 19 games last year with the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes (pictured) after an All-State season in 2010-11 at Livonia Stevenson High School.

Making the jump to Junior A was an adjustment at first for Palushaj, but one he feels is now under control.

“I feel that the season has been going pretty good so far,” said the 19-year-old Livonia native. “We are starting to figure things out as a team and are becoming better everyday. It's a pretty big jump because the league has a faster pace and is a lot more physical. I would love to get the chance to play at the NAHL level again, but right now, I'm just working on my skills and trying to become a better hockey player each day I come to the rink.”

Palushaj even admitted that he sometimes gets mistaken for his cousin or asked if Aaron is his brother, but he doesn’t mind the attention at all.

“I think that what he accomplished is amazing and he made his dream a reality,” Andrew said of Aaron. “I would love to be able to get to where he is today. I give him a lot of credit for what he does. He shows that if you work hard enough that you can accomplish anything you want to and I am very proud of him and want nothing but the best for him as he continues his hockey career.”

Before coming to the Jets and the North American 3 Hockey League, Palushaj said he didn’t know a great deal about the team or the league. He said he has since realized that both provide great opportunities for advancing up the hockey ladder.

“I would love to win a championship with this team and I think we have a great set of guys and have the ability to do it if we work hard enough this season,” Palushaj said. “I didn't know that much about the league as a whole, but I knew the Jets had been known to move a lot of players on to higher levels and that made me want to be a part of this organization.”

Palushaj also gave props to Jets’ head coach Jason Cirone.

“I think coach Jason is a great guy and has a lot to offer to our team,” noted Palushaj. “He has a lot of hockey sense and a great hockey background. I think I can learn a lot from him that will help benefit me on and off the ice.”

Thinking towards the future, Palushaj has a game plan and one he hopes can fulfill to the highest degree.

“My short-term hockey goal would be to help benefit this team any way I can and keep scoring as much as I can,” said Palushaj. “My long-term goal would be to hopefully get a scholarship so I can keep playing.”

And with nine points in eight games this season, the Jets are banking on him providing offense and leadership that will trickle down to the rest of the players.


The Flint Jr. Generals scored late in the third period to knot the game at 3-all, but the Jets eked out a 4-3 win in a shootout last Friday night at Lakeland Arena to extend their winning streak to three games.

Palushaj scored two goals for the Jets, while captain Matt Stirling had a goal and two assists and Mike Gambino a goal and an helper.

“The Flint game was an all-around great game,” Stirling said. “We played well in every area of the ice and stayed out of the penalty box to get the win. That is the way we should play every night and what it will take to win key games in this league.”

Flint led 2-1 after two periods before Palushaj and Stirling scored in the third to put the Jets ahead.

Nick Gnagni recorded the equalizer at 19:08 of the third with goalie Patrick Drazkowski on the bench for the extra attacker.

In the shootout, Metro goalie Austin Julvezan stopped three of the four Flint shooters and picked up his first win of the season. Julvezan made 24 saves in the game.

Drazkowski finished with 32 saves in the Flint net, while Eddie Osowski had a goal and an assist.

The Jets (5-6-0-0) face the Michigan Mountain Cats on the road in Fraser this Saturday night before returning home Sunday afternoon to host the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks at 2:50 p.m.

“I expect for us to come out with four points as we need them to keep pace in our division,” said Stirling. “These teams are both talented and can be tough to play against if you don’t prepare all week for them. I expect Michigan to be aggressive all over the ice and to be able to keep pace with us for 60 minutes. Cleveland we have played before and know what kind of effort it will take to play them.

“Both games will be a challenge, but if we play how we know we can, we should come out with four points.”


Stirling’s 19 points are good for a sixth-place tie among NA3HL scoring leaders, while Doug Andrews’ 18 points puts him in an 11th-place tie.

Goaltender Trevor Kalinowski is in the top 10 for save percentage (.905) and goals-against average (2.81).


Jon Cooper coached the Jets to the 2002 Silver Cup Junior B national title and has seemingly won everywhere he has been since.

Cooper guided the St. Louis Bandits to consecutive NAHL titles, the Green Bay Gamblers to a United States Hockey League crown and last year, won an American Hockey League Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals, the top affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This season, Cooper is back with the Tampa Bay organization as head coach of the Syracuse Crunch after being rumored to make the jump to the NHL over the summer.

Photo by David Byerly/Odessa Jackalopes