WATERFORD, MI – Josh Hosking started this season with the North American Hockey League’s Jamestown Ironmen, but when he was cut from the team, his next option was only a phone call away.
“When I was released from Jamestown, the coach told me to talk to (Metro Jets’ coach) Jason Cirone and I got a call from Jason actually during my drive home the next day,” explained Hosking, a 19-year-old defenseman from Oxford. “Jason has been great. He can be very intimidating at times, but he knows how and when to push the buttons with guys and he knows what he is talking about.
“One thing I learned almost immediately is that he always has us players’ best interests in mind and wants to better every single guy in the room as much as possible.”
Now a fixture on the Jets’ blue line in the North American 3 Hockey League, Hosking logs a regular shift and usually plays a shutdown role against opposing team’s top lines.
Hosking said he’s happy with his role in Waterford, but ultimately, wants to move back up to the NAHL.
“I am working to play in all situations, better my skills on the ice and working out everyday to become stronger,” explained Hosking. “I would say my shot and my vision with the puck fit well in the NAHL, but I know I need to work on my foot work.”
On a four-game winning streak, the Jets have seemingly bonded and gelled in recent weeks and when that happens, wins can pile up.
”Everyone is really coming together,” Hosking said. “There has been a lot of bonding and a feeling of really becoming a family around the room. We are playing well as a team since we are playing all the top teams in the league.
“I feel we are proving to people we are better than what our record shows.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Metro went above the .500 mark for the first time since opening weekend with a 3-1 win in Flint last Wednesday and then a 6-2 win at home over the Michigan Mountain Cats on Sunday.
"Why haven't we played that well for 60 minutes all season?" asked Cirone after the win over the Jr. Generals at Iceland Arena. "We've played that way the past few games, but the first 13 games, we didn't. That's my only complaint in that we haven't played this way for the first quarter of the season."
Mike Gambino and Andrew Palushaj scored power-play goals as the Jets earned their third straight win over Flint.
Travis Hargett also tallied for Metro and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 33 saves.
Luke McDiarmid scored Flint's lone goal and Ted Barile finished with 33 saves in goal.
"Everybody was going tonight and everybody played well," said Cirone. "Everyone contributed one way or another and that's what you have to do to win games in this league."
Sunday afternoon back at Lakeland Arena, Ryan Chapie scored two goals and Nedeljkovic made 33 saves for his fourth straight win since joining the Jets on Nov. 10 from the OHL's Plymouth Whalers as the Jets earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Metro captain Matt Stirling, Alex Holm and Gambino each had a goal and an assist and Devon D'Angelo (first goal of the season) also scored to go along with two assists from Jeff Monfils.
Metro (9-8-0-0) now heads to Blaine, Minn., for the four-day NA3HL Showcase this weekend. The Jets will play the Alexandria Blizzard, North Iowa Bulls, Peoria Mustangs and St. Louis Jr. Blues.
“This trip has been much anticipated by many guys for a while now,” said Stirling. “The important part is that we take it one game at a time and progress from there. The showcase is a long weekend for us and we need to prepare ourselves for it.”
Nedeljkovic was named the NA3HL’s 1st Star of the Week after his two wins last week against Flint and Michigan.
“The NA3HL is a great league to get him some shots and experience,” said Cirone. “He is very talented and very calm and composed for being just 16 years old. He plays with a lot of confidence and our team has fed off that.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Former Metro forward Brad Townsend, who played for the Jets during the 2005-06 season, is playing with the Dayton Demonz of the Federal Hockey League this season.
After his season with the Jets, Townsend, a 25-year-old Davisburg native, played for the Pembroke (Ont.) Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League and then in 2008-09, played in the International Hockey League with the Flint Generals.
Townsend also had previous pro stops in the FHL and also in the ECHL, All-American Hockey League and Central Hockey League.