WATERFORD, MI – Justin Shureb only joined the Metro Jets in mid-November, but hasn’t missed a beat in recording 19 points in 28 games.
Shureb was one of the Jets’ two first-round picks in last June’s NA3HL draft (defenseman Trevor Hillman was the other), going fourth overall out of Livonia Stevenson High School where he earned Division 1 All-State honorable mention honors.
Admittedly, Shureb didn’t know much about the NA3HL or the Jets, but was pleasantly surprised when he received a call on draft day from the Jets’ brass stating he would be drafted early.
”I was very honored, considering there were 320 players that were drafted into the NA3HL,” said Shureb, who turns 19 next Monday. “Even though I came into the season late, my role has been to add more offensive power to an already potent offense, shut down opponent’s top lines, kill penalties and when chances come, score goals and grind it out.”
The Jets have five other players who have played for the team this year who earned All-State honors last season in forwards Steve Klisz (Division 1 Second Team at Livonia Churchill High School), Trevor Bardallis (Division 1 Second Team at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School), Zach Mohr (Division 1 honorable mention at Novi High School, now in the NAHL with Wichita Falls) and Josh Beleski (Division 2 Second Team at Southgate Anderson High School) and defenseman Max Biggings (Division 2 honorable mention at Hartland High School).
Playing for a respected coach in Jason Cirone is also something Shureb wanted in order to keep climbing the ranks.
”Jason is a very no-nonsense coach who knows the game and how to get the most out of his players,” Shureb said. “My ultimate goal is to play college hockey, so I would like to continue playing juniors so I can achieve my goal.”
Listed at 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds, one would hardly think Shureb plays as his size would indicate.
And that’s a good thing.
”My size has never been an issue as far as I was concerned,” said Shureb. “I have been able to out-skate many of my opponents. My drive, determination and hard work have been what I have used since I started playing hockey 11 years ago. I have never let my size slow me down or interfere with my dreams and goals. I have been told by many coaches that I play like I am 6-foot-5, not 5-foot-6. I have never been one to be intimidated by bigger players.”
That said, expect Shureb to elevate his game in the coming weeks as the Jets make a push to play into April.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets hosted the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins last weekend at Lakeland Arena and came away with a convincing two-game sweep.
Saturday night, Cameron Bazin and Mike MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win, while Dillon Kelley finished with 18 saves.
Metro captain Tommy Kilgore, Cameron Mackey and Doug Andrews also scored.
Sunday afternoon, the Jets jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first period and settled for a 7-3 victory to clinch third place in the East Division. The Jets will play Flint or Cleveland on the road in the best-of-three first round of the Hurster Cup playoffs starting March 16.
MacKinnon, who was subsequently named the NA3HL's 2nd Star of the Week, continued his torrid pace with two goals and two assists and Klisz also had a four-point game with a goal and three helpers. Matt Stirling and Bardallis tallied a goal and two assists apiece, while Bazin and Chris Hellebuyck also scored.
Kilgore chipped in a pair of assists and Kelley made 17 saves.
“I think it was a very good weekend, considering all the games we’ve been playing lately,” said Cirone. “I told the players that in the NHL it takes 16 wins to win the Stanley Cup and we’ve been starting our own run to 16 wins since right before the (NA3HL East Showcase Feb. 19-22 in Troy).”
The Jets (28-15-1-1) travel to Flint tonight to play the Jr. Generals at 7:20 p.m.and are then off this weekend before concluding the regular season March 10-11 at home with two games against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks.
“We’ve exceeded all of our goals we set at the beginning of the season,” said Cirone. “I think you get greedy when you have a good team, but I think 30 wins is a reasonable goal and I see no reason why we can’t get to that number. The guys know we still have a lot to play for before the playoffs.”
Current Jets defenseman Will Shier has some good bloodlines as his cousin, Andrew Shier, skated at the University of Wisconsin from 1990-94 and was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 12th round of the 1990 NHL draft.
Andrew Shier played the majority of his seven-year pro career with the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Anthony Cacciatore, who manned the blue line for the Jets during the 2000-01 season, is now living 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, 30, 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.