FRASER, Mich. – Cam Schwartz played for the Toledo Cherokee last season, but wanted to come home.
After all, with the Metro Jets moving just 15 minutes from his Macomb home, what could be better?
The 19-year-old forward asked for a trade last summer and both teams were accommodating.
“I wasn't really happy with Toledo,” said Schwartz. “I ended up asking for a trade from Toledo to Metro and I was happy that Coach Q (Justin Quenneville) was able to take me on his team.”
Quenneville has been more than happy with the progression and daily improvement Schwartz has shown over the last six months with the Jets.
“Cam was a nice addition in the offseason and has been a big part of the team's success,” said Quenneville. “Cam is a versatile player who plays responsible in all three zones. His presence in the lineup goes much further than just stats. He plays a big role in a lot of ways most people may not see and will continue to be counted on in the postseason.”
Schwartz has posted six goals and 19 points in 33 games this year, including three goals in his last three games. Points aside, he said this season has been a great experience to this point.
“Everyone here gets along with each other and that's not just the players – the coaches and the staff get along with the players, too,” explained Schwartz. “I never had someone come up to me and tell me they didn't like someone, or they had an issue with anyone. I feel like my role this year is to be the type of player that sets up a lot of plays and creates a lot of chances. I'm also on the penalty kill a lot whenever we take penalties, so I consider that a big role that I play.”
As for his Jets teammates, Schwartz said that “I would say we all share a big time brotherhood.”
“We all know what we want to achieve and that's a national championship,” said Schwartz. “And we're going to do what it takes to get there, so we're helping each other on and off the ice whenever we need it. Most of our success has come from this year is what Coach Q does to help us during practice. We take a lot of things we learn from practice and use it during games, from certain power-play plays to small things like faceoff plays or our breakouts. I feel like we all buy in to what he wants us to do as a team and that's what creates most of our success.”
And while finishing out this season strong and forging a deep playoff run is first on the agenda, Schwartz has started to look forward to the future as well.
“I obviously want to play hockey as long as I can, so I do plan on coming back to Metro next year,” Schwartz said. “I'm also going to be taking a few summer college classes and if I get any college offers during the season next year, I'm going to plan on transferring to that college and continue my hockey career.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
The Jets scored twice in the first period and twice in the second and rode Kam Limburg’s 25-save shutout to defeat the West Michigan Wolves 4-0 Friday night at The Rink.
Limburg picked up his fourth shutout of the season.
“I felt good out there tonight,” said Limburg. “I was tracking the puck well and I was soft with the puck, getting a lot of whistles. I was just making the saves my team needed me to make. And what works for me for keeping the ‘I hope I get a shutout’ thought out of my head is to just play one shot at a time. The only shot that matters is the next one.”
Schwartz scored twice for the Jets, David Chavis recorded three assists and Robby Flannery and Kevin Shand each posted a goal and an assist to lead the Metro offense.
“A solid game top to bottom and we got some timely saves by Kam,” Quenneville said. “We went with seven ‘D’ tonight to alleviate some tired legs from the Top Prospects showcase (last) week and mixed up the lines up front a little because of some injuries. I felt the guys responded to the challenges and played well.”
Quenneville said going 11-0-1 against the Wolves this season is a major accomplishment, but not one he expected when the schedule came out late last summer.
Then again, taking 23 of a possible 24 points against a tough East Division foe goes a long way when looking at the division, arguably the most competitive in all of the NA3HL.
The Jets grabbed the final two points in the season series Saturday night with a 7-4 win over the Wolves at Fraser Hockeyland.
“If you would have told us that we’d go 11-0-1 against them, I would have obviously laughed at that, given how well they finished last year and the type of coach Mark (Lawrence) is,” Quenneville said. “Credit to our guys to constantly find a new focus every week we played them and find new ways to beat them. One of the approaches we’ve always had is to focus on our game and not be distracted by the team we’re playing against.”
Chavis finished with a goal and three assists, Mathias Tellstrom added two goals and an assist, Shand his team-best 35th goal with two assists and Jacob Gleason posted a goal plus a helper.
“Everything went right, we had a couple bounces go our way, but we played Jets hockey,” said Gleason. “Have to give credit to West Michigan. They’re a tough team to play against. It’s a good rivalry, but it stays on the ice. They’re all great guys off the ice, but on the ice, it gets a little chippy and that’s the way we like to play.”
Flannery and captain Matt Dempsey added single goals, while Michael Tratar and Devin Kelly picked up two assists apiece.
In goal, Limburg made 28 saves to gain his NA3HL-leading 24th win.
For West Michigan, Curtis Carlson scored twice, Brendon Block and Corey Siwula had two assists each and Maxwell Barr and Sam Woznicki combined to make 42 saves in goal.
This weekend, the Jets (35-4-2, East regular-season champion) play a home-and-home with the Toledo Cherokee, starting Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Team Toledo Ice House before wrapping Saturday night back in Fraser at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for all remaining Jets regular-season home games (Feb. 27 vs. Toledo, March 5-6 vs. Southern Tier, March 12 vs. Wooster) are available at the arena ticket office one hour before game time, by emailing Nancy Krajewski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by clicking www.metrojetshockeytickets.com.
For his play last week, Chavis was named the NA3HL’s East Division Star of the Week.
The 20-year-old native of Grosse Pointe, Mich., had seven points and was plus-5 in the two wins over West Michigan. Chavis also played for the East Division team at the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament earlier in the week, where he helped the team to a perfect 3-0 record.
“David came off a good week at the Top Prospects event and it carried into this past weekend’s games,” said Quenneville. “He is a big part of the team’s success this season and brings a lot more to the lineup than his numbers. When he is on his game and playing smart with and without the puck, he is arguably one of the top defensemen in the league.”
Attention Jets alumni! Come to our last regular-season game on Sat. March 12 at 7:30 p.m. against the Wooster Oilers for recognition and a fun reunion! Let us know on Twitter with #JetsReunion or tag Metro Jets on Facebook.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Check out the Jets extensive list of alumni at all levels of hockey at THIS LINK.