WATERFORD, Mich. – Devin Kelly knows how to win championships and has brought that pedigree to the Metro Jets this season.
Kelly was a member of Livonia Stevenson High School’s Division 2 state champs in 2013 and was also Second Team D-2 All-State that season as a junior.
Last season, Kelly posted 57 points (14 goals, 43 assists) in just 27 games and moved up to First Team D-2 All-State.
“The coaches at Stevenson really helped me to get to this level,” said Kelly. “They taught me how to play the game the right way and it made it easier to transition to the level of play here.”
Over the summer, Kelly played in a summer tournament and Jets’ assistant coach Randy Wilson was in attendance. Wilson approached Kelly after a game and offered the skilled forward a tender.
Opening the 2014-15 North American 3 Hockey League campaign last weekend at Lakeland Arena, Kelly was held scoreless in Saturday night’s win over the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks, but busted out for two goals in the win Sunday over the West Michigan Wolves.
“I thought I played OK in my first game, but there is still a lot I need to work on to improve my game,” Kelly said. “It felt great to score those two goals to get the season going.”
Even better was picking up the four points, according to Kelly.
“My goals short-term are to help this team out anyway that I can to win us that national title,” said Kelly, who has college hockey on his list of future aspirations. “The vibe around the team is good, but ‘Q’ (Jets’ head coach Justin Quenneville) is keeping us level-headed.”
The Jets (2-0-0) next play this Friday night at home against the Toledo Cherokee with a 7:50 p.m. opening faceoff and then the following night in Toledo at 8:30 p.m.
All Jets’ games are available on www.fasthockey.com.
Metro rookie goalie Jake Stephan allowed just two goals in two games last weekend as the Jets cruised to the two wins on home ice over Cleveland and West Michigan.
Stephan made 20 saves in the 5-0 win Saturday night and then posted 23 stops Sunday afternoon and on Tuesday, earned East Division honorable mention honors for the week.
When will Stephen Wroe and Ryan VanderWoude see time in net?
“Our philosophy has always been if you win, you play,” said Quenneville. “That has to be their mentality, too. They’ve got to want to be better than the other goalies. If you take that mentality, you want to come in and not only win, but be the best player on the team.”
In the opener, Alex Holm scored twice with an assist, while David Chavis had a goal and an assist and Bruiser Freatman and Zach Koonce one goal apiece.
Sunday, aside from Kelly’s two goals, Chavis, Max Vance and Matt Dempsey each tallied a goal and an assist and Chris Williams and Graham Day notched one each. Andrew Sawyer, Jason Newel and Koonce all contributed a pair of assists.
“I was happy with our team play, moving the puck as a team,” Quenneville added. “I was also happy with our effort and the consistency of that effort, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
The Jets have not named any captains yet and Quenneville said that may not happen for the next several weeks.
“We’re waiting to see who steps up,” Quenneville said.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Dillon Kelley, a goaltender that played for the Jets during the 2011-12 season, is a freshman this year with NCAA Division III Adrian College.
Kelley, a 20-year-old native of Petoskey, Mich., went 18-8-1 with the Jets with a 3.62 goals-against average and a .891 save percentage with three shutouts. He also saw action in one game after the season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.
Following his time in Waterford, Kelley played two years in the North American Hockey League for the Corpus Christi IceRays (where his coach was Quenneville), Michigan Warriors and Austin Bruins.