Jake Oettinger, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American goaltenders eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, is a freshman at Boston University in Hockey East. The native of Lakeville, Minn., is 20-9 with three ties, four shutouts, a 2.06 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 32 games. Oettinger (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com all season leading up to the 2017 draft in Chicago. His March blog comes prior to a game against Boston College in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament at TD Garden in Boston on Friday.
Hello hockey fans!
It's amazing to think we'll be playing Boston College for a fourth time this season, and this time in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament. Even though we have beaten them three times this season, we all know how difficult this game is going to be. But I know everyone is really excited and I think there's some unfinished business with our team this year so everyone is looking for some redemption.
Once again, goaltender and good friend Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs) probably will be in net for Boston College. Obviously we knew we would be playing against each other in college but I didn't think it would be four times in my first year, so it should be a lot of fun.
I thought our team showed a lot of resiliency in back-to-back comeback wins in the best-of-3 quarterfinals against Northeastern. We were down 2-0 in both games but were able to get the wins. It shows the belief our guys had in the room that even if we go down by two goals, we're not out of it. Obviously in the future we don't want to dig ourselves that big of a hole at the start of the game. But I think it goes to show the type of group we have here.
When we got down by two goals, the thought process as a goalie is you can't let anything else past you. You can come back from being down by two goals, but being down by three goals is asking a lot. You just have to say to yourself, two goals is all it's going to be and go from there.
I do think playing internationally and playing against college teams last year as a member of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program was something that really prepared me to make the jump this year and have some success in big situations. I attribute that comfort level and being able to play at this level to the experiences I had last year.
I was asked to comment on being one of the semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award as the best goalie in college hockey this season. It's obviously a tremendous honor but I know I wouldn't even be considered if not for my team and teammates.
The only goal I set for myself at the start of the season was to give my team a chance to win every night. I didn't really set any statistical goals or number of wins, but obviously wins are the most important category. I'm really excited to reach 20 wins, but as a team we're looking for at least six more, including the NCAA Tournament.