Second-year vet Holm making strides

WATERFORD, Mich. – Alex Holm came to the Metro Jets prior to the 2012-13 North American 3 Hockey League season and put up pretty good numbers as a 17-year-old rookie.

This season, the West Bloomfield, Mich., native is on pace to increase his point totals and possibly climb the hockey ladder next season.

“I thought Metro was a great opportunity for me to move up and to further my hockey career and to have two years of juniors under my belt will help me even more,” Holm said. “Last season helped me grow as a player in all areas and last season also helped me prepare for the grind and commitment for this year. It's great being able to stay home in my own town with my family and friends to play juniors, but I also want to experience being away and on my own.”

In 2012-13, Holm registered 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points in 44 games and this year, leads the Jets with 10 goals already and is third in team scoring with 20 points while playing in all 34 games.

”We had a rough start, but our team starting to get over this hump and I know I have a lot more to show,” said Holm. “We’ve got a great group of guys in the locker room. We all got each other’s backs and are always there for each other.”

With two years of junior hockey eligibility after this season, Holm will no doubt have options this summer and he’s aware of this. To prepare, he wants to keep working hard the rest of this season and take it from there.

”I feel the strongest part of my game is getting in areas to get the puck to make plays, getting pucks on net and taking it to the net,” said Holm. “My long-term goal is to make playoffs and show everyone what our team is capable of. My dreams are to keep moving up in hockey and eventually, play college hockey.”

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

The Jets scored the first two goals of the game and the last two goals of the game, but the Flint Jr. Generals scored seven in between and defeated the Jets 7-4 Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena to sweep the weekend home-and-home series between the two teams.

Metro captain Josh Beleski scored two goals in his final game in a Jets’ uniform, while Matt Dempsey and Zack MacKay each went for a goal and an assist.

Davide Mantovani and Kam Limburg combined for 26 saves in the Jets' cage.

Seven different players scored for the Jr. Generals.

The Jr. Generals relied on the scoring touch of Brett Leppek, who netted two goals, to beat Metro 2-1 Saturday night at Iceland Arenas.

Flint netminder Anders Franke stopped 25 shots for the victory.

Kyle Shreve scored the Jets' only goal 7:41 into the second period to make the score 1-1.

Metro goaltender Trevor Kalinowski stopped 30 shots in suffering the loss.

Next up for the Jets (13-19-2) is a home-and-home set with the Michigan Mountain Cats, starting Saturday night at Lakeland with a 7:50 p.m. start and finishing up Sunday at 1:45 p.m. at Fraser Hockeyland.

JET STREAKS

Former Jets’ goaltenders Alex Nedeljkovic (No. 5) and Devin Williams (No. 14) were listed on the NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the 2014 NHL draft among North American goalies.
 
Nedeljkovic appeared in nine games with the Jets during the 2012-13 regular season and was named the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month in November. He also was chosen for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competed at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and is currently in his second year with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
 
Williams, now with the OHL’s Erie Otters, played for Metro at the start of the 2011-12 season and went 9-9-0 with a 3.88 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage in 19 games.

Last Sunday’s loss to Flint was Beleski’s last game in a Jets’ uniform as he leaves for Navy boot camp in the Chicago area on Feb. 11.

“I had been talking to the coaches about it for a while,” Beleski said. “I just figured I would make Sunday my last game because it was at home against Flint. I couldn't think of a better way to go out. Before the game, I was okay and I held myself together. I think I really started getting emotional in the last minute of the game. I'm going to miss the road trips and the early morning practices with the boys. It was hard knowing I would have to leave my brothers at some point during the season, but duty calls and I have to do what I think is best for Sarah (my future wife) and I in the long run.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and my decision and to the guys, thank you for the memories. I love you all like brothers.”

MacKay will assume the captain’s role for the rest of the season.

And the player advancements continue to pile up – Limburg earned a call-up to the North American Hockey League’s Springfield Jr. Blues, while forward Kevin Shand, who is currently with the Jr. Blues after a stint earlier this season in Waterford, has been pulled up to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Dillon Kelley, who formed a tandem with Williams with the Jets early in the 2011-12 season, began this season in the NAHL with the Michigan Warriors before being traded to the Austin (Minn.) Bruins last week.

This year with the Flint-based Warriors, the 19-year-old from Petoskey, Mich., went 7-7-2-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage with one shutout.

In his season with the Jets, Kelley went 18-8-1 with a 3,62 goals-against average, a .891 save percentage and three shutouts. At the end of that season, Kelley saw one game of action with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

At the start of the 2012-13 season, Kelley played for current Jets’ head coach Justin Quenneville with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays before joining the Warriors mid-season.