FRASER, Mich. – The Metro Jets are one win away from returning to the USPHL National Tournament.
Will Augustine stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Jets blanked the Lake Erie Bighorns 5-0 Friday night at Fraser Hockeyland in the opening game of the two teams’ best-of-three series.
Justin Renzi (pictured right) posted a goal and an assist, while Trevor Granzow added three assists and Conner Graham (pictured left) and Nolan Turi each had a pair of assists.
“I think for us being off for what seemed a long time because we didn’t play last weekend, our guys came out hard and the energy was where it needed to be in the first period,” Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said. “Once we got that first goal, it seemed like we could take that deep breath and get back to our game.
“We’ll have a couple tweaks in the morning that we’ll talk to the guys about, but they know what we need to do. We’ve talked about that enough, but a win’s a win and we’ll take it. I’m excited the guys have this opportunity to close it out tomorrow.”
Garrett Johnson, Josh German, Jesper Svadang and Cam Conover also scored for the Jets.
Lake Erie goalie Ross Jones finished with 48 saves in suffering the defeat.
Game time Saturday back at Fraser Hockeyland is set for noon.
In Decatur, Ill., Artem Alekhin’s overtime goal at 16:10 of the extra session completed the comeback as the Decatur Blaze rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the MJDP 3-2 Friday night at the Decatur Civic Center.
Mitch Forton registered a goal and an assist and Nick McDougall also scored for the MJDP.
In goal, Kris Eberly stopped 32 shots.
Walker Smith and Austin Floyd also scored for the Blaze, while Cooper Stewart made 48 stops in net.
“Not really much to say,” Jets associate head coach Jamie Lovell said. “We played well enough to win, but we didn’t win. We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities on the power play in overtime and ultimately, it cost us Game 1.
“It doesn’t matter now. We have to come back and win the next game. Whether we won this game or not, we still had to win the next game and that is the focus now.”
Decatur and the MJDP play Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
All USPHL playoff games will be on www.HockeyTV.com with live updates on the USPHL app.