WATERFORD, Mich. – The Metro Jets jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then held on to beat the Southern Tier Xpress 4-3 Thursday night in Game 1 of the NA3HL first-round playoff matchup at Lakeland Arena.
Jake Sealy scored in the final minute of the first period and then Max Vance and Matt Dempsey scored in the first 1:26 of the second period.
After Southern Tier scored the next two goals, Cooper McLean tallied the game-winner at 8:28 of the third period.
The Xpress added an extra-attacker goal in the final minute, but could not get the equalizer.
"In playoffs, they ask how many you have, not how you win, right?" said Metro head coach Justin Quenneville. "I think our guys had a little bit of nerves heading into this, but you only gain experience through playing games. This was a big game for them to get over that hump and to get ahead in teh series, to get a statement win and to get us to where we need to be to move forward."
Jets' goaltender Kam Limburg made 24 saves to get the win between the pipes.
Game 2 is Saturday night at 5 p.m. in Jamestown, N.Y., and if a deciding Game 3 is needed, it will be Sunday afternoon back at Lakeland for a 12:40 p.m. puck drop.
"We've been playing playoff hockey heading into this, so the focus for us is to close," added Quenneville. "We've learned how to close games, how to finish games, and that mentality will be the same for the next game, which is to try and close it and try to finish the series."