Matt Elswick started this season for the Metro Jets going 17 games before scoring his first goal.
He followed that milestone up with two more in the next three games.
Elswick’s confidence, obviously, is peaking and he’s admitted to not gripping his stick as tightly after scoring goal No. 1 on Nov. 20 at home against Pittsburgh.
“It was definitely a huge relief to finally put the puck in the net,” said Elswick, an 18-year-old native of Gaylord, Mich. “We all talk about how we plan on celebrating our next goal, but that was the last thing on my mind at the time. I was just so overwhelmed to finally bury one.
“This has been a big jump from high school hockey - much faster, much tougher, and a lot more talent.”
Still, being put on a forward line with Justin Bennett and Mike Denston has been paying off in recent games.
“I get along with both of them really well both on and off the ice,” Elswick said. “The two of them talk to me on the ice, which is a big help to me knowing where they are.”
Looking ahead, Elswick has both short-term and long-term aspirations in mind.
“I would enjoy shooting for college hockey and be able to study and get my education as well,” noted Elswick. “I expect as a team to start winning again and make the playoffs. Personally, I would like to continue getting my points and help my team win some games and complete our goals.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets played a strong game, but fell to the Toledo Cherokee, 8-5, Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.
Five different players scored for the Jets, including newcomer Bryan Marks (Milford, Mich.), who scored Metro’s first goal at 15:20 of the first period.
Marks, 18, signed with Metro last Friday after starting the season in Toledo.
Elswick added a goal and an assist, while Bennett, Matt Stemkoski (Novi, Mich.) and Tommy Kilgore (Pinckney, Mich.) also scored.
Denston and Matt Stirling (Dexter, Mich.) each recorded two assists and Eric Trunick (Commerce Township, Mich.) finished with 35 saves in goal.
For Toledo, Cameron Rossman scored three goals and Cory Bastian had two goals and an assist in the win.
The Jets (7-14-1-0) are off idle this weekend and don't play again until Dec. 11-12 when they hit the road to play the Chicago Hitmen.
Defenseman Austin Shipaila (Wyoming, Mich.) was released last Thursday. Shipaila was acquired from Pittsburgh on Oct. 15 and had one assist in 11 games with Metro … Marks tallied a goal and an assist during his 12-game stint with Toledo … Goalie Rick Ice (Sterling Heights, Mich.), released by the Jets on Nov. 23, signed with Toledo two days later.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Vinny Pietrangelo, a defenseman on last year’s Metro team, is in his freshman season at Finlandia University in Hancock, Mich.
Finlandia is one of two Division III schools in Michigan with Adrian College being the other.
Pietrangelo, a Traverse City, Mich., native who turns 20 on Dec. 26, leads the Lions with a plus-3 plus/minus rating and recorded his first collegiate point with an assist against Lake Forest College on Nov. 5.
Last season, Pietrangelo registered a goal and eight assists in 47 games for the Jets.