WATERFORD, MI– When Adam Reid is on his game, he gets noticed for one of two reasons.
Either the Metro Jets defenseman from Georgetown, Tex., is physical against the opposing team or he plays a steady game that he doesn’t get noticed at all.
In other words, when Reid is on his game, he can be as good as any blueliner in the North American 3 Hockey League.
“Adam is starting to realize that when he’s physical, that’s when he’s at his best,” Jets head coach Jason Cirone said. “I think he played his best stretch of games this week (at the NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Darien, Ill.). He only played four games last year dealing with a concussion, so for him to get up to speed at this level is a slow progress, but he’s progressing and improving everyday.”
Reid skated for the Russell Stover Midget Major AAA team last season in Kansas City only to see his season derailed early on. Now getting another opportunity has made Reid grateful for the time he has spent so far with the Jets.
“Before this season, I didn't really know much about the NA3HL other than its existence and affiliation with the NAHL,” said Reid. “Looking back, I suppose it was a shot in the dark joining this league because I really didn't know what I was getting into. I just wanted to play hockey. But now, in retrospect, I am really happy I joined.”
This past summer, the 19-year-old Reid went to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons’ tryout camp at Hazel Park Ice Arena and while he thought he impressed enough to earn a spot with the NAHL team, it wasn’t meant to be.
“Since I was sidelined for essentially the entirety of last season, I didn't have exposure and was trying to make the most of some NAHL opportunities,” Reid said. “After the camp, (Port Huron coach) Bill Warren called me and said I didn't make their roster, but he had some positive feedback and mentioned Jason's name. A couple days later, I got a call from Jason asking me to play for him.”
“What I liked most about Adam at the Port Huron camp was that he wasn’t the biggest or the toughest on the ice, but he didn’t back down from anything,” added Cirone. “When Bill called and asked if I had room for him, I jumped at the chance.”
In Texas, where Reid lived from 1997-2010 after his father took a job with Dell Computers, he played for the Austin Roadrunners, a AA program.
“We would mostly travel to places like Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City,” explained Reid. “My early hockey influences were guys like Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. I remember watching them win the back-to-back Stanley Cups when I was just five or six.”
One of two Texas natives on the Metro roster this season (forward Tim Wlodkowski is the other), Reid said this season’s homecoming of sorts is “a very comfortable environment.”
”I didn’t know Timmy prior to this season,” said Reid. “He's from Katy, a suburb of the Houston area, which I am familiar with, but I was living north of Austin at the time. It does help having a fellow Texan on the team, but most of my extended family is up here.”
Aside from Texas, Reid and his family also lived in Singapore from 2005-08. No worries, though, Reid found a local rink. Lucky for him, he also had his skates with him.
“I played hockey there in a beer league with other expatriates,” said Reid.
In 20 games so far this year, Reid has two assists, but is hoping his stay-at-home game will get him noticed by NAHL teams.
“I think my strengths on the ice are my size and skating ability,” said Reid. “I am very confident in my skating, but I have learned that my mind is by far my biggest asset if I use it correctly. My biggest short-term goal is to dress in a game in the NAHL this season should the opportunity present itself. I also want to be someone that my teammates can trust both on and off the ice. My long-term goal is to just see what my limits are. I would love to play college hockey in some form, but ultimately, I want to see how far I can take this.
“If it isn't in the cards for me, then I want to be able to look back and know I did everything I could.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets played four games in as many days this week at the showcase in the Chicago suburbs, going 2-2 along the way.
Metro lost to the Quad City Jr. Flames, 8-4, on Sunday, topped the Peoria Mustangs, 2-1, on Monday, was edged by the Minnesota Flying Aces, 4-3, on Tuesday and then defeated the North Iowa Bulls, 4-3, in a shootout on Wednesday.
Chris Hellebuyck scored twice for the Jets, while captain Tommy Kilgore had a goal and an assist against Quad City. Steve Klisz notched the other goal for Metro.
“I think we had more chances than Quad City, but we couldn’t finish and they scored on their chances,” said Cirone. “We had 38 shots on goal, so offense isn’t our problem, never has been at all this season. I thought our defense maybe could have made better decisions with the puck and our goaltending could have been better.”
Dillon Kelley made 31 saves in goal for the Jets.
Zach Mohr scored both goals, including the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the third period, to pace the Metro attack against Peoria. Devin Williams picked up the win in goal making 24 saves.
“That was a good bounce-back win for us,” said Cirone. “I thought Devin played really well, too.”
Even in defeat against the Flying Aces, Cirone found a way to put a positive spin on the contest.
“I thought this game was the best of the four,” Cirone said. “Like in the Quad City game, we out-chanced them and outworked them, but we couldn’t finish. I think we had two breakaways and hit two posts. With a little luck and if our guys started to bear down a little bit, I think we win that game.”
John Baker, Mike MacKinnon and Matt Stemkoski tallied for the Jets. Williams posted another 24-win outing in goal.
Wrapping up the event, Hellebuyck scored three goals, including the deciding goal in Metro’s first shootout of the season.
Travis Hargett recorded the Jets’ other goal and Kelley finished with 33 saves. Kelley also stopped three of the four Bulls’ shooters in the shootout.
“Dillon Kelley won that game for us,” said Cirone. “We weren’t prepared at all and maybe that was with the fact we were playing our fourth game. We weren’t mentally ready and that carried over into the warmup.”
With five goals during the week, Hellebuyck now has a team-best 16 on the season.
“I don’t want to say that Chris stepped up because he’s played that way all season and is a guy I’ve come to rely on all season long,” said Cirone. “I think you can also put Doug Andrews in that category with the way he’s been. I don’t think these guys stepped up this week, but they for sure didn’t step down.”
The showcase gave Cirone a chance to meet with scouts and to renew acquaintances with people from the hockey world.
“We saw a lot of different faces this week,” Cirone said. “We also got to play teams we don’t play during the season. We get tired of playing Flint and Cleveland as much as we do, so seeing new teams was a plus for us this week.”
The Jets (13-10-0-0) host the Queen City Steam at Lakeland Arena this weekend. Game time is 7:40 p.m.Saturday night and 11:50 a.m.on Sunday.
“Queen City always plays hard,” said Cirone. “We’ll need to be ready.”
Connor Hellebuyck, younger brother of Chris Hellebuyck and one of the Jets’ tenders last offseason, is playing for the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes this season and recently committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for next year.
Hellebuyck, 18, has distinguished himself as one of the NAHL’s best players this season, as he currently leads all NAHL goaltenders in save percentage (.939), ranks eleventh in goals-against average (2.29) and ranks third in saves (728), fourth in minutes played (1232:33) and is 8-9-4 in 21 starts.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Hellebuyck. “Just to sit and think of what’s being offered to you, the situation I’m in (with UMass-Lowell) is phenomenal.”
The Jets will have their other first-round pick from the 2011 NA3HL draft in the lineup this weekend as defenseman Trevor Hillman was signed Thursday.
Hillman, a 17-year-old from Beverly Hills, was taken third overall in June out of the Detroit Falcons 16U team, just one pick before forward Justin Shureb.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Jon Elliott, the second-leading scorer with the Jets during the 2009-10 season, is playing his second season with the Cumberland Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League.
The 20-year-old Elliott, an alternate captain with Cumberland, is fourth in team scoring with eight goals and 22 points in 35 games.
Elliott, a Birmingham native who played his high school hockey at Brother Rice, recorded 15 goals and 26 points while playing in all 48 games back in ’09-10.