FRASER, Mich. – The player advancements keep rolling for the Metro Jets.
After four previous NCAA Division III commitments, veteran forward Pearce Vance made it five with his recent commitment to Westfield State University.
Forwards Kevin Shand (Milwaukee School of Engineering) and Jacob Drinkard (Lawrence) and defensemen Jacob Rutkoske (Northland) and David Chavis (St. Mary’s) will join Vance at D-III institutions in the fall.
Westfield State plays in the seven-team MASCAC conference and is located in Westfield, Mass. The Owls finished with a 13-14-0 overall mark in 2015-16 and their 7-11-0 record in conference play was good for fifth in the league standings.
Vance said he owes a great deal of this commitment to Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville.
“’Q’ put me in contact with Coach (Bob) Miele and everything went from there,” said Vance, a 21-year-old out of Berkley, Mich. “From talking with Coach Miele, it seems like a great program and I look most forward to meeting the boys and getting to know them. I think I will fit in quite well because I think my playing style is perfect for the college level.”
"Pearce has been an offensive weapon for this program the past two seasons and was the X factor in our lineup that teams had to watch out for because of his speed and skill,” added Quenneville. “His success here is bound to translate at the NCAA level because of abilities and work ethic. I felt that the programs out east and the style they play would be an ideal fit for him. Colleges out east are always contacting us about players, and I knew Bob would be high on Pearce. Pearce is excited about playing next year and he will get that opportunity immediately with Westfield.
“We wish him the best of luck and congratulate Bob and his staff on a high-end pickup."
In two seasons with the Jets, Vance posted 34 goals and 91 points in 88 games. He was also a combined plus-52. Vance came over in a summer 2014 trade from the Michigan Mountain Cats, where he tallied 13 goals and 33 points in 2013-14.
A steady player, Vance was also named to the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament in 2014 and 2015.
“Q has taught me to play both sides of the puck, not only to be offensive, but also to play the ‘D’ side of the puck, which is important with the shorter schedule,” explained Vance. “I just want to thank my family and Coach Q, (assistant coach) Jamie Lovell and (assistant coach) Randy Wilson for getting to this point and the boys for making the ride an unforgettable experience.
“I will remember the boys the most – just being in the locker room everyday laughing and having a good time.”
Academically at Westfield State, Vance said he is looking into “a couple different science majors.”