-- U.S. National Junior Team goalie Jack Campbell
would be the first to tell you his success didn't happen overnight.
He's received some pretty positive reinforcement over the years, particularly from the coaches he worked with at the U.S. National Team Developmental Program.
, named the first-ever full-time goalie coach with the NTDP in August 2007, is one such mentor.
For the last three years, Exter has been Campbell's go-to man when it comes to everything regarding goaltending. From the confidence he exudes in pressure moments and his rock-solid fundamentals, to the ability to immediately shake off anything that crosses the line behind him.
"Every goalie is different but you always have to make sure you work with all of them so that they have a grasp of the same fundamentals," Exter told NHL.com. "It's your job to help them play to their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses while developing a mentality that can help them have success on a shot-by-shot basis."
Really, that's Jack Campbell
Campbell hasn't cooled down since helping lead the U.S. to its first gold medal at the World Junior Championship since 1994 following a 6-5 overtime victory against Canada in last year's gold-medal game. The 2010 Dallas Stars
first-round pick won all four U.S. preliminary-round games, in the process posting a tournament-low 1.03 goals-against average and WJC-best .957 save percentage. Including last year, Campbell now is 5-0-1 with a pair of overtime victories in two World Junior tournaments.
Along with teammate Jason Zucker
, Campbell became the first U.S. male player to have earned three gold medals at IIHF events -- with the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2009 and 2010 and last year's WJC in Saskatoon, Sask.
When Campbell takes the ice to lead his team against Canada in Monday's semifinal (7:30 p.m., NHLN-US, TSN), he'll be looking to accomplish what no other goalie in the history of the NTDP ever has done -- eliminate Canada in back-to-back World Junior tournaments.
Campbell's success to this point hasn't really surprised Exter.
"Physically, I think he comes with a high skill set, and over the course of time he's allowed his mental part of the game to match it," Exter said. "He has a lot of energy and passion to succeed and with time comes maturity, and he's maturing as a goaltender with the mentality that helps him have success during the tough situations at the highest levels he's faced."
Exter, a Rhode Island native, certainly would know about overcoming not only a tough situation, but a life-threatening one.
It's been almost eight years since the former Merrimack goalie collided with Boston College forward Patrick Eaves
with about six minutes left in an NCAA game. Eaves' left knee struck Exter full-force in the head as both players were racing for a loose puck away from the crease. Exter hit his head on the ice as his mask came off, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from both ears.
He laid in a coma for 14 days with a fractured skull.
"Obviously, you don't remember anything that happened on that day or time," Exter said. "I did see it (on video) after that, for sure, and it was just two kids going at it hard. Was it done intentionally? Absolutely not. If you look back at the situation, there's a lot of good things that came from it. As far as the play goes, you give it your all even if it might not always go the way you want."
Doctors predicted Exter never would play again, but as the old adage goes, he's a hockey player. He eventually suited up for two seasons with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers before taking his spot with the USNTDP.
"Every goalie is different but you always have to make sure you work with all of them so that they have a grasp of the same fundamentals. It's your job to help them play to their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses while developing a mentality that can help them have success on a shot-by-shot basis." -- Joe Exter
"I always knew I'd be coaching and my goal was always make sure I wasn't labeled a goalie guy," he said. "But then the opportunity was there with USA Hockey and the NTDP was something that struck me and gave me a chance to shape my own mold. It has given me great opportunities and I've had the privilege of working with the country's best players and goaltenders. Each goalie that I get to work with in Ann Arbor or with the Under-20's gives me an opportunity to help further their career and develop them. That's something that I have enjoyed … it gives me an opportunity to leave an impact."
He has done just that. Now he's looking forward to having another opportunity to watch his young goalies compete on the grand stage of the WJC.
"Last year's experience was great, and for me the best hockey experience of my life," Exter said. "But we're not here this year to defend last year's title. This team is here to win this year but the effect was great for USA Hockey and great for last year's team. This year, there's a new challenge ahead of us and we look forward for the opportunity we've been presented for the remainder of the tournament."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale