WATERFORD, MI – Travis Hargett is hoping the third season with the Metro Jets is the charm.
So far, it has been for the 18-year-old Clarkston native as he has been scoring more than he did his first two years and has seen his ice time increase.
“Personally, I think that this year I have made huge strides in my game in my hockey sense and my ability to score,” noted Hargett, who has five goals and an assist through eight games. “I've been playing a lot more and having the confidence knowing that (Metro coach) Jason (Cirone) trusts me enough to put me on the ice in certain situations, like when we pull our goalie. I would say that so far this year in eight games, I am happy with the way I have played, but I still know that I can do better.”
Off the ice, Hargett has become much more acclimated to the lifestyle of playing junior hockey in the North American 3 Hockey League.
“I know what to expect when I come to practice during the week and the difference between an early-week skate and a practice right before an important weekend,” said Hargett.
In his rookie season of 2010-11, Hargett posted just seven points and last year, he had 15 points. He is on pace to record greater numbers this season and part of that notion is how offensively-gifted the Jets seem to be this season.
”At camp this year, I knew right away that our team wouldn't have a problem putting the puck in the net,” said Hargett. “Scoring goals has not been an issue for us this year, just as it wasn’t last year. With our team, it’s being consistently defensively sound for the whole game.”
Playing mostly on a forward line this season with Alex Holm and Jeff Monfils, Hargett said the trio “plays together really well.”
“I love those guys and we usually know where the other two are on the ice and we make some really good plays,” explained Hargett. “We have a lot of fun together in the locker room and off the ice, too.”
On the ice lately, the Jets have not had too much fun as the team is embroiled in a six-game losing streak that began after a season-opening sweep at home of Battle Creek.
Hargett isn’t ready to push the panic button, nor does he plan on it.
”The main thing to keep the guys focused is definitely knowing that it’s not an eight-game season,” said Hargett. “We have 40 more games and I know we will be OK and things will come around. We just need to keep working hard and keep our heads up.”
Taking his own advice is also something Hargett plans on doing to help further his career and get the Jets some more notches in the win column.
”This year I want to play my best, plain and simple,” Hargett said. “I will go where the road takes me and would consider both staying in junior hockey or playing in college.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets played a home-and-home series with the Toledo Cherokee last weekend and came out on the losing end each night.
Metro held a 3-1 lead over the Cherokee midway through the second period, but couldn't hang on as the Cherokee rallied for a 4-3 win Saturday night at Lakeland Arena.
Doug Andrews scored a pair of goals for the Jets, while Mike Gambino added the other.
Newcomer Luke Rendino and Andrew Palushaj each had two assists on the night and in goal, Austin Julvezan made 30 stops.
Gambino and Rendino scored for the Jets Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't enough as Toledo took a 4-2 win over the Jets at the Team Toledo Ice House.
For the Jets, Trevor Kalinowski finished with 25 saves between the pipes.
Metro hosts the Quad City Jr. Flames Saturday and Sunday back at Lakeland Arena. Game time Saturday night is 7:50 p.m. followed by a 2:50 p.m.start on Sunday.
“As a team, we are growing through this skid we are in right now,” Metro captain Matt Stirling said. “We know we are a good team and can win games. The most encouraging things, however, are to see us play a sound game for 60 minutes and continue to see some of the younger guys settle in to the NA3HL level of hockey.”
Rendino and defenseman Aksel Campbell made their Jets’ debuts last weekend and played well.
On loan from the NAHL’s Michigan Warriors, Rendino is now back with the Warriors.
“I was asked by my coach (Moe Mantha) if I would like to come down and play two games for the Jets because I was going to be scratched,” said Rendino. “So I said, why not come down and play some hockey? My impression of the team and the NA3 was that all around there was some good hockey being played.”
Campbell, a Colorado native, was acquired from the Three Rivers Vengeance prior to last weekend and is excited to be with the Jets.
“Loving Detroit. Trades can be a good thing,” Campbell posted on Facebook this week.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Dillon Kelley played the 2011-12 season in Waterford and posted an 18-8-1record in goal with three shutouts, a 3,62 goals-against average and a .891 save percentage.
He was called up to the NAHL’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons at one point during the season and also played one game for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League once the Jets’ season was over.
This season with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays, the 18-year-old Petoskey native is 0-1-2 with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage in three games.
Photo – Andy Grossman/Detailed Images