FRASER, Mich. – The Metro Jets fashioned an 11-0-1 record during the NA3HL’s regular season against the West Michigan Wolves.
That means nothing now.
The two Michigan-based teams in the league meet this week in the East Division finals after each swept its semifinal series last weekend – Metro over Wooster and West Michigan over Toledo.
Game 1 is Thursday night at 7 p.m. at The Rink in Battle Creek, while Game 2 is Friday night at 7:30 p.m. back at Fraser Hockeyland. If needed, a deciding Game 3 would be played Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. back at Fraser.
“Both teams are very deserving to play in the finals and in a best-of-three series, it can always go either way,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “I can tell you one thing – that won’t be the same team we saw over a month ago. They are a very hard working hockey club and (coach) Mark (Lawrence) will have them ready.”
The Jets are already guaranteed at least a wild card spot at the Silver Cup Championship Tournament March 29-April 3 in suburban Chicago based on their 40-5-2 regular-season record. West Michigan has to win the series against Metro to qualify for the Silver Cup.
West Michigan, which finished 26-17-4 during the regular season, is led by goaltender Sam Woznicki (13-9-0-2, 3.22 GAA, .903 save percentage), forwards Dakota Ulmer (22 goals, 57 points) Brendon Block (21 goals, 53 points) and Tyler McMahon (23 goals, 46 points) and defenseman and captain Corey Siwula (17 goals, 52 points).
The lone asterisk for the Jets during the regular season versus West Michigan was a 5-4 overtime loss back on Oct. 24. Ulmer was the OT goal scorer that night.
“They’re going to come at us hard,” said Metro captain Matt Dempsey. “We’re expecting it, but we’ll be ready to come at them hard just like they’ll come at us.”
“I think we take it one shot at a time, one shift at a time,” added Jets goaltender Kam Limburg. “We have to play physical and if we play our game, I think we can take it, for sure.”