WATERFORD, MI – Aksel Campbell has gone from Colorado to Pittsburgh to Waterford in just over two months’ time.
One of the newest Metro Jets’ defensemen, Campbell is hoping his latest stop is his last this season.
Acquired by the Jets from the Three Rivers Vengeance two weeks ago, Campbell has taken to Metro’s systems in a heartbeat and is excited at the potential the Jets have shown in his four games so far.
“I was very surprised by the trade from Pittsburgh, but I know that (Three Rivers) coach Brian (Cersosimo) is doing what he thinks is best for me and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach,” said Campbell, an 18-year-old native of Lone Tree, Colo. ”I didn’t realize I was going to be moving out until about the middle of last year. I hadn’t even looked into juniors until my last year of high school. It was a tough decision to move so far from home, but it has been worth it.”
Campbell played six games with the Vengeance after joining the team as a rookie this season. According to Jets’ coach Jason Cirone, Campbell has looked anything but like a rookie in his four games since the trade.
“Aksel has been fitting in really good for us,” said Cirone. “I thought our ‘D’ was a concern at the beginning of the year and now it’s starting to round itself out with the additions of (Brian) Ziola, (Josh) Hosking and Aksel. All these guys bring a dimension to our team that we really missed and lacked in the beginning.”
Campbell is the first Colorado native to suit up for the Jets since Jimmy Sanders in the early 2000s and Chance Thede, who went on to play in goal for Division I American International College, in the mid-1990s.
Campbell feels he can be an offensive defenseman for the Jets and said he likes moving the puck in the offensive zone from the point to try and create scoring chances for the forwards.
Getting acclimated with the Waterford area has been on Campbell’s agenda as well.
”Waterford is different than home, but there are still some similarities,” Campbell said. “I really like all the people out here and the cold winter is a lot like winter in Colorado.”
Now entrenched on Metro’s back end, Campbell wants to get down to business and help tack on a few more wins for the Jets.
”I’m going to strive for team success this season and try to grow as much as I can as a player,” explained Campbell. “I just have to keep working hard so I can try to move to the next level.
“So far, everything with the Jets has been great and I have been getting along really well with all the guys. Coach Cirone has been great, too, I’m excited to see where we can take it as a team this year.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Metro snapped its six-game losing streak last weekend with a two-game sweep of the Quad City Jr. Flames at Lakeland Arena.
Saturday night, the Jets took a 4-2 win over the Jr. Flames.
Alex Holm and Jeff Monfils each scored and added two assists to back Trevor Kalinowski's 20 saves in goal.
"The kids have been working hard and I thought they deserved better last week (against Toledo), but I felt they got what they deserved in this game," Cirone said. "They worked hard from start to finish."
Mike Gambino scored and chipped in an assist, while Ziola registered the empty-netter after Quad City's Easton Halbert cut the Jets' lead to one with two goals in the third period.
Travis Hargett's goal at 15:16of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and the Jets held on for a 3-2 win over Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Jets move their season record to 4-6-0.
Gambino and Metro captain Matt Stirling also scored and Luke DuBois finished with 37 saves between the pipes.
Peter Coppola and Harley Manus scored for Quad City.
The Jets are idle this weekend before hosting the Flint Jr. Generals on Friday, Oct. 26.
Ziola, an 18-year-old from Commerce Township, made his Jets’ debut in the Quad Cityseries after originally signing a tender with the team over the summer.
“He adds more depth and I’ve always liked him; that’s why we tendered him,” said Cirone. “We were patient with him and let him do what he wanted to do. His first choice was to go to school and see how that worked out, but he obviously had a change of heart.”
Monfils was named the NA3HL’s 2nd Star of the Week after tallying a goal and three assists against the Jr. Flames. On Saturday, he scored the game-winner and on Sunday, he assisted on the game-winner.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Forward Jon Elliott will start his freshman season at Division III St. Mary’s University next weekend after spending the last two years in Canada and the 2009-10 season with the Jets.
Elliott, a 21-year-old Birmingham native, played in all 48 games for the Jets and was second in team scoring with 15 goals and 26 points. He played from 2010-12 with the Cumberland Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League.