WATERFORD, Mich. – When the Metro Jets signed forward Jake Sealy to a tender agreement last summer, they were hoping to get a passionate leader that was ready for the North American 3 Hockey League.
Two months into the season and Sealy has been everything the Jets’ brass expected, and then some.
Metro coach Justin Quenneville said it took a few weeks of game action for the 19-year-old Plymouth Salem High School product to fully adjust to the NA3HL.
"Jake was one of the main targets we had out of our pre-draft camp,” said Quenneville. “He possesses a dynamic skill set and is very gifted offensively. However, it took a few games to adjust to the physicality and pace of junior hockey before he started to really contribute on both sides of the puck. He now is one of the more versatile players on the team and is very coachable."
Sealy came to the Jets already knowing a handful of players on the team, including former Salem teammate Jason Newel and Metro assistant coach Randy Wilson, who has also worked as Salem’s goalie coach.
“Playing for Salem helped me prepare for the NA3 because of the coaches that I had helping me every step of the way,” said Sealy, a Canton, Mich., native who was Salem’s captain last year. “I learned a lot from them in the three years I played there and without them, I know I wouldn't be the same player I am today.”
Through 20 games this season with the Jets, Sealy has struck for three goals (two game-winners) and nine assists for 12 points.
“The thing I like most about the team so far is the level of completion we have in every practice and game,” boasted Sealy. “The atmosphere in the locker room is great. Everyone gets along and we are always having a good time. On a team level this year, I hope to accomplish winning a championship. We feel that we have a team that can compete with anyone in the league and come out on top night in and night out.”
As for his future, Sealy said he’s willing to work as hard as he can to stay on the ice, and that includes a goal of college hockey when his junior career ends.
“I intend to take hockey as far as I can go,” Sealy said. “I love to play the game and if I could, I would play for the rest of my life.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Last weekend, the Jets dropped a 5-3 decision to West Michigan on the road Friday night, but rebounded for a sound 5-2 win at home Saturday night against Pittsburgh.
In Battle Creek top open the weekend against the Wolves, Kyle Shreve, Max Vance and Newel all scored and goaltender Kam Limburg made 29 saves.
Against the Vengeance, Cody Jones notched two goals, while Newel and Andrew Sawyer added a goal and an assist in the win. Thomas Luzynski scored the other goal and Jake Stephan finished with 21 saves between the pipes.
"We continue our struggles on the road for two reasons – youth and discipline,” Quenneville said. “We can only control one of them and Friday night was out of our hands by being in the box over half the game and we still played well enough to win. Unfortunately, being shorthanded for over 25 minutes is always an uphill battle. Naturally, Saturday we stayed out of the box and dominated Pittsburgh. We are a hard team to play against, we know that and teams know that, and that's the plan."
The Jets (12-8-0) are idle this weekend. Next action is a home-and-home with the Toledo Cherokee Nov. 21-22. Game time in Toledo on Nov. 21 is 7 p.m. followed by a 7:50 p.m. puck drop at Lakeland Arena the following evening.
Metro captain David Chavis II is tied for fifth in the NA3HL with his team-best plus-15 rating.
The Jets are 9-1-0 on home ice this season. Their only loss was a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Toledo on Sept. 12.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Forward Vince Scognamiglio played one game with the Jets during the 2013-14 season and is now a fixture for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
The 18-year-old Scognamiglio recorded two assists in a 9-3 loss against his hometown St. Louis Jr. Blues on Oct. 26, 2013.
Last year with Plymouth, Scognamiglio had a goal and three assists in 41 games and through 16 games this year, has one goal for the Whalers.