BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Behind two goals from captain Matt Dempsey and Kam Limburg’s 21 saves, the Metro Jets took Game 1 of the NA3HL East Division finals tonight with a 3-1 win over the West Michigan Wolves at The Rink.
The Wolves got on the board first with a Justin Bloomfield goal 5:44 into the first period, only to have Dempsey pop a shorthanded goal at 13:55 to send the game into the first intermission tied 1-1.
“We had a slow start tonight and needed to weather the storm,” Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said. “We knew they would be coming out with energy and we did enough to hold at 1-1 at the end of the first period. From there, our guys played well underneath the puck and got back to creating offense with our speed.”
Dempsey’s second of the game at 10:50 of the second period stood as the game winner.
“Dempsey stepped up and had two big goals for us and I think that helped take the pressure off,” Metro defenseman Dylan Naumovski said. “I thought we played solid defensively in front of Kam and I think we pushed the play the last 50 minutes. I think if we come out battling and play the same way we did tonight and push the tempo, we will be able to close out the series.
“All we need is 20 guys to do a job for 60 minutes.”
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Friday night at Fraser Hockeyland at 7:30 p.m.
“I thought it was a great top to bottom team win,” noted Jets forward Jacob Drinkard. “We came in and did what we had to do out there, got some big saves from Kam when we needed them. The defense took great care of our end and the forwards did what we had to do in the offense zone. Just a great team win. We have a team goal we want to accomplish and this is just another step to that goal.
“The boys are ready to just go out there and do what we have to do to accomplish our goal.”
Kevin Shand added an insurance power-play goal for the Jets at 11:35 of the third period and Graham Day (pictured) chipped in with two assists for Metro on the night.
West Michigan goalie Sam Woznicki finished with 36 saves.
“Credit goes to Woznicki for keeping them in the game, but we don't win that game without timely saves by Kam to insure the lead,” added Quenneville. “We got the win we needed on the road and will be better as a group tomorrow.”