WATERFORD, Mich. – Kyle Shreve averaged a point per game last season with the Metro Jets and was rewarded with a tender agreement offer from the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League.
Shreve began this season with the Jr. Blues and had three goals and nine points in 27 games, but was recently reassigned to the North American 3 Hockey League and the Jets.
Though some may see this move as a demotion, Shreve is hardly taking it as such.
“While I was in Springfield, I grew a lot as a player,” said Shreve, a 19-year-old forward from Walled Lake. “It was a learning experience, for sure, but I tried to help the team every time I was on the ice. One positive I see coming back to Metro is that everyone is committed to working hard on and off the ice and that we are also a very well-coached team.”
Last weekend, Shreve recorded an assist in the Jets’ two games against the Toledo Cherokee and hopes the points keep coming.
”I was told that I need to get back the same level of play I had at the beginning of the year,” said Shreve of what he needs to work on in Waterford. “More specifically, I need to be working harder in the defensive zone and creating more offensive chances.”
Earlier this season, the Jets had forward Kevin Shand on assignment from the Jr. Blues and once Shand went back up to Springfield, he had casual chatter with Shreve.
“We just made small talk and I tried to get a gauge on how the team was doing this year,” Shreve said. “He had nothing but good things to say about the team and really enjoyed playing for the team and especially, for coach (Justin) Quenneville.”
Once he arrived back home, Shreve said it was an adjustment last weekend, but as the games wore on, he found his groove.
“I thought we started off a little slow, but once I got my nervous energy out and as Saturday’s game went on, I feel like our chemistry got better,” said Shreve, who played on a line with Alex Holm and Matt Dempsey. “By the end of Sunday’s game, I thought we had played well and deserved the win on Sunday.
”Compared to last season, the team is a lot different for sure. One of the biggest things I noticed immediately is age and size. I think this year we are smaller, but a more finesse team than last year.”
With a year of junior eligibility remaining after this season, Shreve wants to do all he can to once again play in the NAHL.
“I want to play in the North American League again because I feel that it’s the best league for me to play in,” Shreve said. “I need to just settle down and have more patience with the puck and I need to get back to the things that made me successful last season.”
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Just one day after losing in the final seconds in Toledo, the Jets rebounded with a 3-2 shootout win over Toledo Sunday afternoon at Lakeland Arena.
Saturday night, Blake Podgorski’s goal at 19:49 of the third period gave the Cherokee the stunning 3-2 win after Cooper McLean and Travis Baranoski scored for the Jets and Kam Limburg made 31 saves in net.
Sunday afternoon, newcomer Nate Phillips and Holm scored in regulation and then Holm’s goal in the shootout was the difference.
Metro goalie Trevor Kalinowski made 14 saves in regulation and then stopped all Toledo shooters in the shootout.
Next up for the Jets (13-17-2) is a home-and-home series with the Flint Jr. Generals this weekend. The two teams play in Flint Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and then at 11:50 a.m. Sunday in Waterford.
Just prior to last weekend, Metro traded defenseman Kenny Forton to the Michigan Mountain Cats in exchange for Phillips, also a defenseman.
Phillips, a 19-year-old from Freeland, Mich., had two goals in 28 games with the Mountain Cats.
With the Jets, Forton, a 19-year-old native of Petoskey, Mich., tallied a pair of goals over 24 contests.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Former Jets’ forward Dustin Cloutier made his Kalamazoo Wings’ ECHL season debut last weekend after starting the season in Norway with Frisk Akser.
Cloutier has played parts of three seasons with the K-Wings.
Unlike the past two seasons with Kalamazoo, Cloutier joins the team as a defenseman. The native of Berkley, Mich., has also played on the blue line for Frisk Asker, where he posted 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 26 games.
Before turning pro, Cloutier played three seasons of junior hockey, including the 2004-05 season for the Jets, and was a four-year standout at NCAA Division I Bentley University.
Cloutier also played in the NAHL for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms and in the United States Hockey League for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.