No sophomore slump for Jets’ Bazin

WATERFORD, MICameron Bazin wasn’t quite ready to hang up the skates.

After playing last season with the Metro Jets, once the season ended and the summer arrived, Bazin had his mind set on giving up the game and going to school full-time starting in the fall.

But like most athletes will say, it’s not always easy to give up all you’ve ever known. That was certainly the case with Bazin.

“I knew a lot of the guys on the team this year (new and old) and I kept in touch with some of them, so I felt that it wouldn't be that big of an adjustment to come back and join the team,” said Bazin, a 19-year-old from Troy. “We have a very solid group of guys on the team and so far, this year has been awesome, especially since we're winning games.”

Joining the team in early November, Bazin has since tallied 13 points in 18 games. He had just 10 points in 36 games during the 2010-11 season.

”The first couple games I played in, I had to get some rust out of my system,” Bazin said. “I knew that I could perform much better points-wise) than I was playing. I didn't let it frustrate me, though, and I just kept working hard. Lately, I have just been pretty much scoring everything and I have to give a lot of credit to the other guys that I'm on the ice with. We have been winning games and everyone is helping out, whether it's scoring goals, assisting them or just making good plays all around the ice.”

Bazin is also not one to toot his own horn as he definitely has a team-first attitude.

“One player can’t win you hockey games,” said Bazin. “It takes a whole team and we have a great team here this year. I'll do whatever I can to make sure everyone is rolling and that we never lay an egg out there. Whether it's by killing penalties, scoring goals, winning faceoffs or hitting, I'll hopefully find a way for us to win games and gain momentum.

”Being an older guy I think gives me more of an edge to know how we have to practice and then translate that hard work to our games. I try to always work hard and set an example for younger and older guys. I like to say I bring solid energy to the team and think that helps with everyone picking up their play and being on top of their game.”

One of Bazin’s teammates this season, fellow forward Mike MacKinnon, is also a Troy native and the two have been close friends for quite some time.

”I have known MacKinnon since middle school and have played on several teams with him, including at Troy Athens High School for two years,” explained Bazin. “He is a great player and great asset to our team. I talked with him at beginning of the year and he played a part in talking me into coming back and playing this year. I was not playing anywhere prior to signing with the Jets, although I constantly got on the ice every opportunity that I got.”

Sitting at 19 wins this season and starting to jockey for playoff positioning, Bazin has all the confidence in the world that the Jets will continue to see more notches in the win column.

“I feel we are going to finish with a real solid second half of the season and I think we can make a very strong push for the No. 1 seed in our division,” beamed Bazin. “With the squad we have this year, I think that we are one of the top teams in the whole league and that we can compete with any team in the league. I would be highly disappointed if all we did was make the playoffs and then lost. We should be pushing for that top spot in the division by time the season starts winding down and if I was 21 and in Vegas, I would be betting on the Jets to win the division.

“It's nice to be on the squad that is changing the Metro Jets name and making them contenders yet again.”

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

A trip to Pittsburghlast weekend saw the Jr. Penguins creep up four points on the Jets in the East Division with a convincing two-game sweep.

The Jr. Penguins jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the midway point of the game and never looked back in a 6-2 win over the Jets on Saturday night.

Alexander Lysyuk recorded a hat trick plus an assist for Pittsburgh and goalie Tyler Stepke stopped 19 shots between the pipes. Vico Necchio added two goals in the win.

Chris Hellebuyck and Matt Stirling scored the Jets’ goals, while Dillon Kelley and Eric Trunick combined for 19 saves. Kelley suffered the loss after allowing five goals on 12 shots through 22:46. For Trunick, it was his season debut after re-joining the Jets over the holiday break.

Sunday afternoon, Hellebuyck and Steve Klisz scored and Kelley and Trunick combined for 18 saves in a 7-2 defeat.

Nick Randazzo scored twice and added an assist for Pittsburgh, while Sean Keating finished with 25 stops in goal.

This weekend, the Jets (19-13-0-1) travel to Cleveland for a two-game set with the East Division-leading Jr. Lumberjacks.

JET STREAKS

Defenseman Trevor Hillman (Beverly Hills, Mich.) was released prior to last weekend. He was the Jets’ top pick from last summer’s NA3HL draft and is expected to return next year to Waterford.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Austin Brown, a defenseman who played for Metro during the 2005-06 season, is now a senior at Division III St. Scholastica College in Duluth, Minn.

This year, the 24-year-old Lathrup Village native is the top-scoring blueliner for the Saints with 18 points through 19 games and also leads the NCHA in defensemen scoring and with 15 power-play points.

After leaving the Jets, Brown played for the Alaska Avalanche (NAHL), Hawkesbury Hawks (CJHL) and Woodstock Slammers (MJAHL).