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Jets get down early, fall to Hampton Roads in national title game Tuesday

By Matt Mackinder, 03/12/19, 4:00PM EDT


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Metro Jets trailed the Hampton Roads Whalers 3-0 after 20 minutes and never recovered, falling 5-2 Tuesday afternoon in the national championship game at Lawler Arena.

Jets captain Jeremy Schwartz and Nick Ceccarini scored for the Jets and Fredrik Meurling made 20 saves in goal.

After the game, Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville reflected on the game and the 2018-19 season:

“First off, we want to congratulate the Hampton Roads Whalers on winning the national championship. We were not in the same division, but we would lying if we said we didn’t build an indirect rivalry as the season went on. Between our strength of schedule in our division, to the difficult competition across the league, this was the hardest season the Jets had night in night out to win. The USPHL truly provides multiple avenues for our guys to move up, be seen in so many showcases and see the best competition in junior hockey. We had more college and junior scouts look at and talk to our staff/players than any other year I’ve coached in junior hockey.

Overall, to get an opportunity to play in the last game of the year is an incredible accomplishment and I’m so proud of this group for everything they worked for this year. From the international tournament in China representing USA and bringing home a bronze, to the success they had in showcases and winning a division and league season championship, they did all the little things to get to the big game. 

This program has now reached a national championship game for the fourth straight year and there are so many people to thank. This result does not define us, rather credits the people and process to get here. We have the best owner in Pete Cammick, the best coaches I can ask for in Jamie Lovell, Randy Wilson and Dan Pszenyczny, equipment managers and staff from Kenny Sidun, Paulie Sheridan, Stu Forbes, Dave Ross, Alyssa Pelton, Austin Diz, Dan Hull and Matt Mackinder with his boys Ethan and Wyatt. We are truly blessed to be able to provide this best platform for players to develop, succeed and move on. 

And, of course, we need to thank all the volunteers, billets and our wives and families. I know I wouldn’t be able to focus on the players at the rink without my wife Courtney taking care of my son and everything at home. We are all lucky to have the best fans and support system.

As for the game today itself, it was not a measure of who the better team was, rather who had the better game and bounces. Unfortunate, from the first crazy bounce goal they scored, we just were not able to recover and give ourselves a full chance at it. Hampton was a much older team and did what they needed to do, but I’m proud of how our guys never backed down and took it to them every shift they had. Without that unlucky bounce, or call we needed, we just were a step away from forcing an opportunity for ourselves throughout the game.  Our captains led the way this year and all our first-year guys played huge roles to get here. 

Every single player in our organization had a role in this and we look forward to using this years experience to keep moving forward. Expect many commitment announcements coming up and player signings for next year, because the Jets will be ready to provide opportunities for more young men next year."