WATERFORD, MI – Devon D’Angelo just wanted a chance to play hockey and the Metro Jets have given him that opportunity.
This time last year, the 19-year-old West Bloomfield native may not have thought junior hockey was a possibility after injuring his knee early in his senior year at Walled Lake Northern High School.
Then again, hard work (and modern medicine) pays off.
“Once I was almost fully healed, I told myself I did not want to hang up the skates after high school, so I made my way to the Jets’ organization,” said D’Angelo. “And here I am.”
D’Angelo has a goal and five assists in 27 games with Metro and admittedly, wants to boost those numbers as the North American 3 Hockey League season starts to enter the stretch run.
“On a personal level, I am very disappointed in my game,” D’Angelo said. “I’m in quite a slump this season and am not very happy about it. I have a lot more potential to show the team and coaches. Coach (Jason) Cirone has helped me significantly this year with my game. There's a few things I need to change myself to move up and start producing more points, though. I feel that I bring the team positive energy, talent and many forms of communication.
”As a team, I feel like we've come a long way. We all stay on each other and are very close. From the locker room to the ice, we're always staying positive. I still feel like we have a lot to work on over the rest of the season.”
From a personal standpoint, D’Angelo said that from where he first started playing hockey to where he wants to go, it’s definitely been an exciting journey.
“I had a stick in my hand at three years old and was on my way to the ice around four,” explained D’Angelo. “My dad brought me into the game as he was a very talented hockey player himself. My future goal is to play ACHA Division I club hockey. I have been looking at Oakland University and a few others. I plan on trying out OU's camps, as well as some NAHL camps this summer to see where I'm at. On and off the ice, I want to become a stronger player, physically and mentally.”
With the Jets, finishing the season on a high note is the priority for D’Angelo.
“My outlook the rest of the way is that we step it up and start winning some games,” D’Angelo said. “If we finish strong here, we can make the playoffs and raise a cup in the future. We need to start this in practice as we have a team full of talent that can dominate a majority of the teams in the division.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Doug Andrews' power-play goal at 13:38 of the third period tied the game at 4-4 and the Jets went on to defeat the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution 5-4 in a shootout last Saturday night at Revolution Arena.
Kyle Shreve scored twice for the Jets and Andrew Palushaj added a goal as well.
New goaltender Riley Corbin, on loan from the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers, made 24 saves in regulation and overtime and then stopped all four shooters in the shootout.
“It was good feeling to get back into the win column,” Metro captain Matt Stirling said. “Even though it was in a shootout, the points were what mattered in the end. Battle Creek is an improved team that we knew would give us a game coming in and they did just that. Either way, it was great to win again.”
Battle Creek goaltender Matt Hughes stopped 46 shots.
The Jets (12-16-1-0) return home to Lakeland Arena for a two-game set with the Michigan Mountain Cats this weekend. Game time Saturday night is 8 p.m. with a 2:50 p.m. start time scheduled for Sunday.
“Michigan is a team that has given us some trouble in the past,” said Stirling. “We need the four points this weekend and anything shy of that won’t work for us. We need all the points we can get as we are 10 points out of fourth place in our division.”
Aside from adding Corbin, the Jets also released goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (now with the Whalers on a full-time basis) and traded forward Jeff Monfils and defenseman Chad Frost.
Monfils, a 20-year-old Washington native acquired last summer from Cleveland, was sent back to the Jr. Lumberjacks at the end of last week for 18-year-old defenseman Brad Hepler, a Chelsea native.
Frost, a 19-year-old Clarkston native in his second season with the Jets, was then traded to the Quad City Jr. Flames earlier this week where he will join Aksel Campbell, another ex-Jets’ defenseman who was acquired by Quad City two weeks ago.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Anthony Cacciatore, who manned the blue line for the Jets during the 2000-01 season, is now ling and working in Chicago and owns and operates his own business – Chef of Chicago – where he works as a private and personal chef.
After his time in Waterford, Cacciatore, now 31, played two years at Robert Morris College and left early to play two years in the United Hockey League with the Muskegon Fury and Port Huron Beacons.