To have a successful hockey team, each player has to accept and produce in their designated roles.
The Metro Jets are no exception.
Take Joe Matyaszek, for example. The diminutive forward won’t score 30 goals or look like Pavel Datsyuk on the ice, but if the Jets are looking sluggish, it’s a given Matyaszek will come over the boards to instill some energy and life into the team.
“I like to keep everyone going and bring life to the bench,” said Matyaszek, an 18-year-old Taylor, Mich., native. “It’s a role I’m happy with because every team needs a guy like that on the team to keep everyone going if they’re down.”
“He’s our little Morgan,” Metro associate coach Jamie Hayden said, comparing the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Matyaszek to 6-foot-4, 235-pound teammate Morgan James. “Joey is fearless. If we need a spark, he’s who we want out there. He goes into the dirty areas of the ice and if he gets hit, he’s right back up. Definitely a kid that can really put a spark into our guys.”
This past weekend, Matyaszek’s hard, gritty work resulted in his first goal of the season.
“My goal was a give-and-go from (Mike) Moroso and (Matt) Stirling was screening the goalie,” Matyaszek (pronounced MADDA-zack) explained. “I took it around the top of the slot and took a shot on my back hand and scored. Coach Jason (Cirone) gave the puck to me after the game.”
After playing high school hockey last season for Taylor Unified, Matyaszek was unsure of where he would land this season, but knew he wanted to continue playing.
”I heard about the Jets from a friend because I was also trying out for another CSHL (now North American 3 Hockey League) team with him and did not make it,” explained Matyaszek. “Then I heard the Jets were looking for players, so I came here and found my home.”
Matyaszek said that his long-term goals in hockey are to move up to the North American Hockey League and hopefully, college hockey.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Metro hosted the defending Tier III Junior A national champion Jr. Blues last weekend and came away with two notches in the loss column.
Tommy Burns (Pinckney, Mich.) scored both Jets’ goals Saturday night in a 6-2 defeat, while Eric Trunick (Commerce Township, Mich.) and Matt Braun (Ramsey, N.J.) combined for 19 saves in goal.
Brett Grech (Hartland, Mich.) assisted on both goals and newcomer Ryan Kelly (Wilton Manor, Fla.) earned a helper on one for his first point with the Jets since being signed last week.
Sunday afternoon, Matyaszek scored the game’s first goal 3:08 into the first period, only to see St. Louis tally the next four, including a late empty-netter, and take the game by a 4-1 count.
Braun finished with 23 stops in the loss.
“(Sunday’s game) was 2-1 up until about three minutes to play,” Hayden said. “We have shown that we can definitely play with some of the top teams in this league. St. Louis might be third or fourth right now, but they are the defending champions until someone knocks them off. It was nice seeing Joe get his first goal, though.
“We have two weeks off now and I think we’ll be getting back to basics at practice, refining some things before we get back at it and bring in Pittsburgh.”
The Jets (7-11-0-0) host the Jr. Penguins at Lakeland Arena on Nov. 20-21.
The Jets signed goalie Rick Ice and added him to the active roster last Friday.
Ice, an 18-year-old from Sterling Heights, Mich., started the season with the Toledo Cherokee before being released on Sept. 23.
His only action for Toledo came on Sept. 19 when he started and made eight saves on 12 shots before being pulled 2:57 into the second period in a game the Cherokee would go on to win 11-5 on the road against the Michigan Mountain Cats.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Former Metro forward Brad Townsend, who played for the Jets during the 2005-2006 season, signed with the Lapeer Loggers of the All American Hockey League and made his season debut last weekend, scoring a goal on Friday night against the Indiana Blizzard.
After his season with the Jets, Townsend, 23, played for the Pembroke (Ont.) Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League and then two years ago, played in the now-defunct International Hockey League with the since-folded Flint Generals.
Townsend also had stops with the Indiana Ice Miners of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (now AAHL) and Chi-Town Shooters of the All American Hockey Association, also now known as the AAHL.