WATERFORD, MI – Steve Klisz has quietly been one of the North American 3 Hockey League’s top scorers all season long for the Metro Jets.
His 27 goals and 56 points going into this weekend are good for second overall in the NA3HL.
Klisz, though, isn’t necessarily shocked by his offensive output and attributes much of it to his linemates.
“Coming into this season, I felt at best I could be in the top ten, but never would have thought I would be top two or three, though,” said Klisz, a 19-year-old from Livonia. “My linemates are a big reason why I am up there. If I didn’t have Mike MacKinnon or Matt Stemkoski on my line then I wouldn't be anywhere near the top three in the league.
“I have always been an offensive player all throughout my life and at times my numbers do surprise me, but deep down, I knew I could do this good at this level.”
MacKinnon is tenth in NA3HL scoring, while Stemkoski is 24th.
Klisz is hoping his year in Waterford will lead to an opportunity with the North American Hockey League next season. Several teams have already inquired about his services and Klisz has aspirations of staying close to home.
“I really want to play for Port Huron next year,” said Klisz. “They have a great program and I would love to join it next year, but we’ll see.”
Former Jets’ forward Mike Moroso (2010-11) currently leads the Fighting Falcons in scoring.
Looking ahead, Klisz has complete confidence in the Jets and feels a post-season run isn’t out of the question.
“Everyone feels great in the locker room and we feel like we can beat anyone anywhere,” said Klisz. “Everyone has confidence in one another, so if one person isn’t playing well, the rest of the team seems to play even better.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Dillon Kelley shut out the Michigan Mountain Cats in back-to-back games last Friday and Saturday night at Farmington Hills Ice Arena to propel the Jets to a sweep of the Mountain Cats and a 4-0 record against the Mountain Cats this season.
For Kelley, the weekend was a coming-out party of sorts for the 17-year-old Petoskey native who has emerged as the Jets’ No. 1 goaltender. He has three shutouts this year – all against the Mountain Cats. Kelley previously blanked Michigan with a 13-save outing on Jan. 14 at Lakeland Arena.
“I was well-rested and was seeing the puck well and felt very comfortable in both games,” said Kelley. “I would have to say that this past weekend is for sure in my top three greatest moments of my hockey career. I have never had back-to-back shutouts before, so this was pretty special to me.”
Friday night, Kelley stopped 27 shots in the Jets’ 3-0 win, while Stemkoski, Matt Stirling and John Baker scored to pace the Metro attack.
Saturday night, MacKinnon and Doug Andrews provided the offense in a 2-0 victory. Kelley finished with 40 saves.
“This weekend was huge for us,” Kelley said. “I think that the momentum we gained this weekend will carry us through the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. Even though they were two close games, I feel that as a team, we all played well, Michigan played hard and aggressive, keeping everyone on their toes, but we worked hard both games.
“All in all, I feel it was a great weekend for us as a team.”
“Dillon is a great kid and also a great teammate,” added Klisz. “He is one of the better goalies in the league and also one of the youngest. I see him going far in hockey mainly because his work ethic on and off the ice is great.”
Metro (23-14-0-1) will now get set to play five games in six days. The Jets skate at Battle Creek tomorrow night and then after an off day Saturday will head to Troy for the NA3HL East Showcase at the Troy Sports Center.
In Troy, the Jets will play the Mountain Cats on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Toledo on Monday at 2:45 p.m., Battle Creek on Tuesday at 9 a.m.and then finishes up against Queen City on Wednesday at noon.
“Everyone just needs to stay focused through all of these tough games,” said Klisz. “We need to get as much rest as we can because five games in six days is going to be really tough.”
Kelley was also named the NA3HL’s 1st Star of the Week for his 67-save weekend performance.
With the two wins and shutouts, Kelley improved his season record to 14-4-1.
“I thought Dillon was solid all weekend and came up with some key saves at key times in the game,” said Jets GM Butch Wolfe. “He used his size to his advantage and played under control, keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Goalie Devin Williams, who began this year with the Jets, had a monster game Wednesday night for the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters.
The Otters edged the Niagara Ice Dogs, one of the top teams in the OHL, by a 2-1 margin and Williams made an unbelievable 61 saves, including 44 in the first two periods, to earn the win.
"What can you say?" said Erie assistant coach and goalie coach Peter Sidorkiewicz to the Erie Times-News. “The kid was amazing.”
Williams, a 16-year-old Saginaw native, posted a 9-9-0 record with the Jets along with a 3.88 goals-against average and a ,896 save percentage. He joined the Otters, the team that drafted him last May, on a full-time basis in early January, but can only play 10 games as an affiliate player until the Jets’ season is completed. Last night was his sixth game with Erie with 15 left for the last-place Otters.
Photo/Andy Grossman/Detailed Images