By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com 03/24/2020, 12:15pm EDT
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The United States Premier Hockey League announced on March 24 that, due to the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, the originally scheduled NCDC Combine in Detroit (April 10-11) is postponed to a date to be determined.
The NCDC Combine in Chicago (May 1-2) is currently still on as planned, but the USPHL is monitoring this situation closely.
Please check back frequently to USPHL.com for updates.
FRASER, Mich. – With the offseason comes the annual time for Metro Jets players to start making their college commitments.
Last month, Jets captain Brodie Thornton got the ball rolling by deciding on Adrian College and today, veteran forward Justin Renzi gave the nod to NCAA Division III New England College, a school located in Henniker, N.H., that competes in the New England Hockey Conference.
Renzi, a 20-year-old Canton, Mich., native, said NEC has everything he was looking for in a college career.
“What appealed to me the most about NEC was, of course, the hockey being really good there but also the campus life and they have what I want to go into (business),” Renzi said. “I like how it’s a smaller school that takes pride in its sports.”
Once he arrives in Henniker, Renzi will join former Jets forwards Jhuwon Davis, Connor Inger and Trevor Momot and goaltender Andrew Kormos with the Pilgrims.
“It’s really nice that there are former Jets players there – that also made the decision easier to go to NEC,” said Renzi. “They all had nothing but great things to say about the campus, the hockey, and the brotherhood. With them being second- and third-year players, I can look up to them to help make the transition easier.
“I hope to be an impact player as a freshman. Going from playing juniors to the college level is a big jump, so it’s going to be a busy offseason getting ready for the next step. I’m very excited to play at NEC and help the team in any way I can.”
In the classroom, the NEC business curriculum is one that Renzi looks to take on with as much seriousness as his hockey career.
“I want to get into business when I am older so I’m going to study business and take the courses that go with that,” Renzi said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll own my own business – that would be really nice. I hope the transition will be easy getting back into schoolwork, but it’s all about just staying on task and time management.”
Renzi joined the Jets midway through the 2018-19 season and posted eight goals and 18 points in 26 games. This season, Renzi served as an alternate captain and recorded 17 goals and 48 points over 36 games.
Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said he watched Renzi put in the work and is excited to see him earn an NCAA opportunity.
“’Renz’ is deserving of this opportunity and will be a great fit at NEC,” said Quenneville. “They have a great coaching staff and with several former Jets on the team, I know Justin will work hard to be a key part like those guys. He brings a lot of versatility to the table and that’s why he was being recruited by so many schools, but in the end, he knew NEC was the best fit. We wish him the best of luck next season."
Playing for the Jets the past two seasons “has been amazing,” said Renzi, and helped him develop the skills needed to get noticed by NCAA schools.
“It’s ran like a pro program – workouts and skating in the morning and then video after,” said Renzi. “The Jets give you every tool you need to become a better player. I’ve got to thank Coach Q and (associate head coach) Jamie Lovell for shaping me into the player I am and giving me a chance to help lead this team. There are so many people to thank for helping me get to this point from former coaches, former teammates, my parents, basically my whole family, and all of my friends.
“All of the support from everyone makes playing the game 10 times more fun and keeps pushing you.”
Going forward, Renzi is pumped to have his next four years planned out and ready to go.
“My short-term goals for hockey are to keep on improving my game every day, keep living a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to play the game at a high level, and keep taking life one day at a time and making sure I’m taking the most out of it as I can,” Renzi said. “I’m excited for the next four years and am looking forward to building a brotherhood and competing in NCAA hockey.
“Playing hockey is something I want to do for as long as I can. Long term, I would like to continue to play after college, just taking it one step at a time.”
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The USPHL announced Thursday its decision to suspend Premier and Elite National Championships effective immediately.
The decision was unanimously made by the USPHL Board of Directors with the best interest of USPHL players and staff in mind.
Prior to the announcement, the Metro Jets fell 2-1 to the Minnesota Moose, despite outshooting the Moose 58-22.
Jets captain Brodie Thornton scored the lone goal and Will Augustine made 20 saves in goal.
"It's an unfortunate result for us," Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said. "We didn't capitalize on our chances and there were several. Our guys know that wasn't our cleanest game and we didn't manage the puck well at times. We need to just focus on playing a complete, 60-minute game and step up when we get our chances."
FRASER, Mich. – For the sixth consecutive season, the Metro Jets will play for a junior hockey national championship.
Fresh off a dominant sweep last weekend over the Lake Erie Bighorns, the Jets will make the trek to North Andover, Mass., to partake in the USPHL National Championship Tournament on the campus of Merrimack College.
The Jets will open with three round-robin games – Thursday at 1 p.m. against the Minnesota Moose, Friday at 6 p.m. against the Utica Jr. Comets and then Friday at 6 p.m. against the Hampton Roads Whalers in a rematch of the 2019 national championship final.
“These games are all tough and every game is like a Game 7,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “This is a very competitive league and every team is coming into this to win, so we are preparing accordingly.”
During the regular season, the Jets went 36-7-1, finishing first in the Great Lakes Division and earning a first-round playoff bye.
Then last weekend on home ice at Fraser Hockeyland, Metro defeated Lake Erie 5-0 Friday and 10-1 on Saturday.
From a player’s perspective, the Jets are confident going into suburban Boston.
“The boys are excited,” Jets forward Cam Conover said. “We’re ready to get there and we know we have a lot of work ahead of us. We’re not satisfied just getting there. It’s time to get back to work.”
The Jets will be in Boston without defenseman Garrett Johnson, who broke his femur in a car accident last Saturday night after the game. He is recovering after surgery, however, and will be able to play college hockey next season.
All games at USPHL Nationals will be streamed on www.HockeyTV.com with live updates on the USPHL app.
FRASER, Mich. – The Metro Jets are moving on to play for a national championship for the sixth year in a row after sweeping the Lake Erie Bighorns with a 10-1 win Saturday afternoon at Fraser Hockeyland.
The Jets will now head to suburban Boston to play in the USPHL National Championship Tournament that runs March 12-16.
Saturday, Conner Graham scored twice and added two assists, while Justin Renzi went for a goal and three assists and Nolan Turi added a goal and two assists to back Machus Turner’s 16 saves in goal.
“We definitely came out with a purpose today,” Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville said. “Obviously, closing out games is always the hardest, but I thought we managed the puck well and made good decisions overall to put ourselves in a situation to succeed.”
Jets captain Brodie Thornton, Anthony Cinato and Jesper Svadang all had a goal and an assist to go along with single goals from Brady Hanson, Nick Ceccarini and Alec Lindecker.
Garrett Johnson chipped in with three assists and Devon Fields (pictured) added two helpers.
Lake Erie tied the game 1-1 on a goal by William Carr midway through the first period, but then the Jets rattled off nine unanswered goals.
Bighorns goalie Hunter Meyette made 48 saves.
Also Saturday night on the road at the Decatur Civic Center, the Decatur Blaze survived a three-goal third period from the MJDP and escaped with a 5-4 win to also qualify for USPHL Nationals in Boston.
Jake Aslanian registered a hat trick for the MJDP, Garrick Smith also scored, and Patrick Hays tacked on two assists.
In goal, Ethan Ryan finished with 22 saves.
“It’s unfortunate for the season to end the way it did,” Jets associate head coach Jamie Lovell said. “I don’t think we played at our best this series. We had our opportunities in both games but just couldn’t find the back of the net at the right time.
“I’m proud of how this group battled back right to the last second of Game 2 but we needed that type of desperation the entire series and not just this last period. This is playoffs and we had a young group this season. Hopefully, they use this experience and learn from it.”
The MJDP outshot the Blaze 44-27.
“I’ve said this before – only one team gets to win their last game every season,” Lovell said. “Every other team experiences the sting that comes from losing. Yes, it would have been great to have both teams from this program move on to contend at the national tournament, but this young team exceeded expectations and shortly, they will understand that this season was a big step in the right direction in terms of their development as hockey players and as people.
“It’s been a pleasure as a coach to be a part of a group of young men like this. They committed to the process and it’s so easy for us as a staff to come to the rink and work with these guys each day. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”
The schedule for Boston will be released as soon as the rest of the playoff series across the USPHL are complete.
All national tournament games will be streamed on www.HockeyTV.com with live updates on the USPHL app.
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.