By Matt Mackinder
Doug Andrews is a player that Metro Jets’ head coach Jason Cirone said “is going to be a heck of a player for us this year.” And after a six-point weekend to open the North American 3 Hockey League season last Friday and Saturday, who's to argue? Andrews, who signed with the Jets late in the summer as a free agent, said he knew what he was getting into by joining the Jets.
“When I signed with the Jets, I had some knowledge of the league and I also knew some of the players that were in it,” said Andrews, a 19-year-old Macomb, Mich., native. “One of my coaches from last year, Andy Oleksy, informed me more about the team and thought this would be a good fit for me. When I signed, I actually didn't know much about Coach Cirone, but I know that he expects a lot out of his players. I'm glad I am playing for him this year. I’m going to work hard and focus on becoming an all-around better hockey player.”
Last season, Andrews was part of the Troy Sting Midget AA team that won the state championship. The Sting was coached by Fred Costello, a former head coach of the Jets. Once last season ended, however, Andrews was already looking ahead to making the jump to junior hockey.
“I really tried to prepare myself all summer for the upcoming season by off-ice conditioning and also working on my shot,” the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Andrews said. “This has helped me get off to a good start this season. I don’t really feel any pressure from what Coach Cirone said, I just go out and give 100 percent every shift.”
Growing up, Andrews idolized NHL stars Steve Yzerman and Peter Forsberg. He said both “always played with class and heart.” He tries to model his game after those two and hopes to one day climb the hockey ladder to higher levels. “I would like to progress next year to the NAHL or a college team,” boasted Andrews. “I intend to do this by continuing my work ethic.” Or just by simply continuing to be one heck of a player.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets split last weekend’s season-opening series at home by topping Flint in OT on Friday night, but then falling to the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks Saturday night.
Steve Klisz’s game-winner 1:54 into the extra session against Flint completed a three-goal comeback and gave the Jets their first home-opening win since a 9-1 thrashing of Toledo to open the 2006-2007 season.
“I saw the defenseman flip the puck in the air and I skated as hard as I could,” explained Klisz. “The puck dropped right in front of me, I picked it up, went in, saw the five-hole and scored. Definitely one of the biggest goals I've ever scored."
Andrews notched a pair of goals and two assists for the Jets, while Chris Hellebuyck added a goal and three helpers. Mike McKinnon (also with two assists), Matt Stemkoski and Branden Morganroth scored one apiece.
Devin Williams stopped 44 shots between the pipes for Metro.
“We had a touchdown with a two-point conversion,” said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. “Do we have things to work on? Obviously. A win is a win is a win. They don’t ask how, right? They just ask how many. I told the players after the second period that if we’re going to run and gun, let’s make sure we get more and that’s what they did.”
Cirone wasn’t happy with the way the Metro defense played, but was happy with Williams’ play in net.
“I thought the young kid (Williams turns 16 on Oct. 30) played well,” Cirone said. “He faced 51 shots and maybe one that he allowed was shaky, but other than that, I thought he did a great job for us.”
Edward Osowski and Lucas McDiarmid scored twice for Flint, Josh Kestner tallied a goal and two assists and Myers finished with 21 saves.
Saturday night, David Fassbender scored once and added four assists to lead Cleveland to a 10-3 win over the Jets.
Blake Hamilton, Cameron Dimmitt and Kyle Fink added two goals apiece, while LJ Dvorak finished with 16 saves to earn the win.
For the Jets, Zach Schlacht had a goal and two assists and Hellebuyck and Andrews each tallied a goal and an assist.
Dillon Kelley made 35 saves in suffering the defeat in goal.
The Jets then lost, 10-3, in an exhibition game on the road Wednesday night against the Adrian College ACHA Division I team.
Metro (1-1-0-0) plays at Queen City this weekend. The Steam split at home with Toledo last weekend.
Stemkoski and Will Shier will be the alternate captains for all home games this season. Jake Schlacht and Matt Stirling will wear the ‘A’ during all away games … Forward Travis Hargett went out in the first period of the Flint game with an upper-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day … Ex-Jets players Morgan James (2010-2011) and Mike Denston (2009-2011) were spotted in the crowd at the game Friday night … A moment of silence was observed before Friday’s game in memory of those that lost their lives in the Sept. 7 plane crash in Russia of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team in the Kontinental Hockey League.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Mike Moroso, who played for the Jets last season, led the Port Huron Fighting Falcons over the Traverse City North Stars, 5-2, with a two-goal effort in a preseason NAHL game at Ferris State University on Sept. 8.
"(Moroso) basically made our team out of camp and the reason he did is because he put pucks in the net," Port Huron head coach Bill Warren said to the (Port Huron) Times-Herald. "Did I expect him to score two goals? No. But does he have that ability? Yes."
Last year with the Jets, the 20-year-old from Macomb, Mich., was third in team scoring with 20 goals and 16 assists for 36 points in 43 games. He also led the team and was second in the NA3HL with four shorthanded goals.