WATERFORD, Mich. – Alex Holm has worn Metro Jets’ colors since 2012 and wants nothing more than to wear them into a deep playoff run this spring.
As a rookie during the 2012-13 North American 3 Hockey League campaign, Holm and the Jets missed the Silver Cup playoffs and then last year, qualified for the post-season on the final day of the regular season.
Clearly, the trend is going in a positive direction.
“We all know (head coach Justin Quenneville’s) expectations are set high,” said Holm, a 19-year-old out of West Bloomfield, Mich. “We're all looking forward to winning games and taking a run at Nattys.”
Holm has also seen his offensive numbers improve in each season – from 23 points in ’12-13, to 32 last season and in a half-season in 2014-15, 26 points thus far. His plus-minus this season is plus-17, a far cry from being a minus player the past two years.
“’Holmer’ has been one of our more consistent players this season,” Quenneville said. “When I took over last year, the first thing that stood out in his game was how hard he competed in games. He has improved his game’s consistency in the last year and has bought in to being a more responsible two-way player. When his compete meter is on, we use him in several roles throughout the game.”
Holm said team success has equaled individual success to this point.
“Our team has had some good success so far,” Holm said. “We did lead the division in points, which we are back on track to doing again. The chemistry is great as we have a lot of fun on and off the ice.
“Personally, I think I've improved just a little bit of everything. I just go out and try to create some offense and work smart.”
And even while Holm said he chose to come back to Waterford this season because of “the great opportunity to develop and achieve goals of mine,” he’s still looking ahead to a potential shot at playing some level of college hockey.
“I am not talking to anyone right now, but I'm excited to see the opportunity to come,” Holm said.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets moved into a second-place tie in the East Division standings after routing the Cincinnati Swords in two games at Lakeland Arena last weekend.
Saturday night, Metro captain David Chavis II scored two goals with two assists in a 6-2 win over the Swords. He was later named the East Division Star of the Week by the NA3HL.
Matt Dempsey, Cody Jones and Jacob Drinkard all scored one each, while Jake Sealy chipped in a goal and an assist. Holm added two assists and Kam Limburg stopped 17 shots in goal.
The following afternoon, Stephen Wroe turned aside all 12 shots in a 5-0 shutout.
Zach Koonce contributed a goal and two assists, Dempsey a goal plus an assist and Jones, Devin Kelly and Graham Day single goals in the win.
“Regardless of our opponent, we feel we played two consistent and strong 60-minute games,” said Quenneville. “As a coach, you look to build on the success we have had to reciprocate that with two more wins this weekend.”
Metro is now 19-12-0, tied with the Southern Tier Xpress (19-11-0) and Toledo Cherokee (17-10-4) for second place as all have 38 points. The Xpress has played one fewer game (30) than the Jets and Toledo.
This weekend, the Jets play two crucial games at home against Southern Tier. Game times are 7:50 p.m. Saturday night and 11:50 a.m. Sunday.
“This is a big test for our club this weekend,” Quenneville said. “The Xpress have been playing great hockey of late and we will need to be on the top of our game to slow them down. Look for two hot teams battling it out for important divisional points up for grabs.”
With Wroe’s shutout of Cincinnati, all three Metro goaltenders have a shutout this year.
Limburg blanked the NA3EHL prospects team at the NA3HL Showcase back on Dec. 8 and Jake Stephan earned his shutout back on opening night (Sept. 6) against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
A pair of ex-Jets are now with Adrian College’s ACHA Division III Gold team in forward Dan Hudson and defenseman Anthony Catalina.
Hudson (Gregory, Mich.) played for Metro in 2010-11, scoring 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points, while Catalina (Chelsea, Mich.) skated for the Jets the second half of the 2013-14 campaign, recording no points over eight games.
The Adrian Gold team won its third straight ACHA Division III national championship in 2014.