WATERFORD, MI – The Metro Jets are familiar with the philosophy that defense wins games and to a greater extent, wins championships.
With the last line of defense starting in goal, the Jets have three very capable goaltenders this season that have all shown the ability to play at the North American 3 Hockey League level.
Luke DuBois, Austin Julvezan and Trevor Kalinowski are all rookies in the NA3HL, but all have earned wins for the Jets this season. What’s more is that the trio gets along off the ice and pushes each other on the ice.
Essentially, it’s a win-win situation for all three goalies.
“The friendly competition is good,” said Julvezan. “I've always gotten along with my goalie partners, but playing with these guys is easy. We all support each other when it's not our game. We get along outside of the rink pretty well. These guys are just easy to be around and we always have a good time.”
“The competition between us three goalies is what I've enjoyed most this season,” added DuBois. “We push each other to be at our best and always stay positive no matter who is between the pipes on a given day.”
Kalinowski, who played at Lakeland High School last season and has seen the bulk of action thus far for Metro, currently leads the Jets with three wins, while DuBois and Julvezan have one apiece.
“I feel the season has gone fairly well,” said Kalinowski. “I’ve certainly learned a lot and still have more to learn from my coaches and my teammates. We all seem to be bonding very close to each other. I consider this year a big leap in the right direction for my hockey career, since I split last season with a senior on Lakeland’s varsity team.”
Julvezan played the 2011-12 season for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, going all the way to the Division I state semifinals before losing to Brighton High School and current Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks’ rookie goalie Christian Michalik.
“My season has gone well so far,” Julvezan said. “Going from a starter to rotating was hard to get used to at first, but I'm really starting to feel myself excel. The jump from where I played last season compared to the NA3 was minor. The speed of the game hasn't changed by much, but the shots are harder and more accurate. Before this season, I knew the NA3 had become a better level of play and had improved from what people used to perceive it as.”
During the 2011 NA3HL Entry Draft, DuBois was actually drafted by the Flint Jr. Generals, but chose to stay and play his senior season at Gabriel Richard High School. When the chance came up this season for him to join the Jets, there was no hesitation.
“I have had a decent season thus far and I have some things that I can work on, but I feel as if I've performed when given the opportunity,” DuBois said. “The jump to the NA3 was large compared to the level of my team last season, though I was used to the fast paced style of play from participating in the MDHL and other showcases. I don't really have any set goals for the season. I enjoy seeing our team win and would rather have my team win than have personal goals fulfilled. Before this season, I was pretty familiar with the NA3 and have known (Jets assistant and goalie) coach (Randy) Wilson for quite awhile.”
Each goalie also said they hope to jump to the North American Hockey League next season with an eye on playing in college one day.
“I just want to take it as it comes,” Julvezan said.
“I would just like to keep hockey a part of my life in any way possible,” added DuBois.
So who gets the start Saturday night against Flint? That is the $64,000 question.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets played on the road against the Michigan Mountain Cats last Saturday night and then hosted Cleveland Sunday afternoon.
Austin Sartorius scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Mountain Cats past the Jets 5-2 at the Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.
Jets' captain Matt Stirling had a goal and a helper, while Andrew Palushaj also scored.
Kalinowski made 39 saves for the Jets. Dominic Orlando finished with 34 stops at the other end.
Jeff Monfils and Doug Andrews staked the Jets to a 2-1 lead after two periods, but the Jr. Lumberjacks came back with two goals in the third period to escape Lakeland Arena with a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon.
Cameron Dimmitt and Cleveland captain Fred West scored for the Jr. Lumberjacks in the final period to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Julvezan made 29 saves for the Jets, while Michalik stopped 13 for the win.
“Last weekend, we really only played two good periods of hockey and that was against Cleveland,” said Stirling. “The Michigan game, we came out flat and didn't compete very well. The Cleveland game, we fought well and still came up short.”
The Jets (5-8-0) host the Flint Jr. Generals on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.before traveling to Battle Creek Sunday afternoon for a 1:30 p.m. faceoff.
Metro is 5-4-0 on home ice, but just 0-4-0 away from Lakeland Arena.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Lathrup Village native Scott Hughes was a goaltender for the Jets during their first season of 1989-90 and is now a goalie equipment representative for Vaughn.