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After milestone '18-19 season, Jets look to hang another banner in Fraser

By Matt Mackinder, 03/05/19, 10:45PM EST


FRASER, Mich. – For the fifth straight season, the Metro Jets will play for a national championship.

This weekend, the Jets travel to suburban Boston and will compete with 15 other USPHL Premier teams with eyes on bringing home another banner to Fraser Hockeyland.

Jets captain Jeremy Schwartz was part of last season’s national championship team and wants to wrap up his junior career with another ring.

“Knowing that these are going to be our last couple games, we’ll be making sure that we give it all that we got on the ice to come out with a win,” Schwartz said. “We’re expecting that every team will be working twice as hard in every game and that we will be ready for them.”

Justin Quenneville has been behind the Metro bench since the 2013-14, guiding the team to five straight division titles and this season, leading the Jets to first overall in the team’s first season in the USPHL.

“We are proud of the guys for their accomplishments this season, all things considered,” said Quenneville. “Between the China trip, the showcases schedules and some injuries along the way, this group has fought hard week in and week out to secure that top spot. None of that is possible without the entire group committing to the process. With that said, every team this weekend has found success to get to this point and will be fighting for that last win. We have returners that know what it’s like to be on winning side and as a staff, we’ve been on the other side of it as well.  

“This opportunity will boil down to execution, discipline, and giving your all. Our goal is to come out strong early, play our game and take one shift at a time.”  

Three of the Jets alternate captains this season – defenseman Devlin Macaulay and forwards Jhuwon Davis and Rhett Limback – tasted glory last season with Davis netting the overtime winner in Chicago and Limback drawing an assist on the play.

“I think, as a team, to help us refocus, we have to put our past series behind us and know that we have a new task ahead of us,” said Davis. “Every team heading into this tournament is 0-0 so everything is up for grabs. My expectations for Boston are for us to compete and to make our mark on this league, to compete for a national championship. I think we have a great opportunity for us this upcoming week.”

“It's easy to get caught up in the emotion of playoff hockey, but I think it's important to take a step back to realize the situation we're in,” Limback added. “We still have a job to do, and there's 15 other teams trying to do the same.

“Boston is going to be a grind – there's no doubt about that. Fortunately, with all the showcases this year, we know what it's like to have a quick turnaround against some really good teams. Every game is going to be a battle. The biggest thing is taking care of our bodies for the condensed schedule. If we do that, good things will happen.”

The Jets play a round-robin format Saturday and Sunday at the Essex Sports Center in Middleton, Mass. – Saturday against the Florida Jr. Blades at 1:15 p.m. and then Sunday at 8:15 a.m. against the Chicago Cougars and 6:15 p.m. versus the Connecticut Nighthawks.

The semifinals are slated for Monday and the championship game is Tuesday.

Macaulay said fine-tuning details before heading east will be key to success this weekend.

“As a team, we’ll refocus by revisiting the last few details we need to work on before this upcoming weekend and continuing to touch on other details that has provided us with our success throughout this process,” said Macaulay. “Going to Boston this year, it’s expected to play a lot of tough competition where everyone will put their best foot forward not only to beat us but ultimately to get what every team has been striving for since the beginning of the season – and that’s a championship.”

Photo/Amanda Hofmann/PS Express