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NHL Draft

Ingham remains confident despite disappointing season

Mississauga goaltender ranked among top goaltending prospects for 2018 NHL Draft

by Guillaume Lepage @GLepageLNH / Staff Writer

Every Thursday, will look ahead to the 2018 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Jacob Ingham wanted to have the power to influence a game from start to finish.

So as an 8-year-old, he quit playing center and being the captain of his novice team to become a goaltender.

While there is no better position to play than goalie if a player wants to have an influence on the outcome of a hockey game, there are also two sides to the coin in that regard.

After going 17-6-6 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in 31 games with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League last season and helping reach the OHL final, he was 16-22-2 with a 3.65 GAA and .880 save percentage in 43 games this season.


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And In five OHL playoff games he had a 4.02 GAA and .870 save percentage as Mississauga lost in to Barrie in six games in the first round.

Despite the challenges, Ingham, 17, is No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American goaltenders for the 2018 NHL Draft, to be held at American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 22-23.

In Ingham's case, it's important to realize that one season does not make a career.

"In tough times you have to stay confident," he said. "Sometimes it can feel like everything is falling apart because of the way our season is going, but I'm pretty happy to see where I stand in the rankings.

"It may be the worst season of my career, but I will learn from it. And down the road I'll be able to look back and tell myself that nothing else could be more difficult."

Mississauga coach James Richmond never lost confidence in Ingham despite his struggles.

"You have to play him," Richmond said. "I can't sit him for a long stretch. He's here, and he's an excellent goalkeeper. If a forward or a defenseman has a bad game or a bad shift, I send him back on the ice. They are young and they will learn by playing."

A well-regarded pitcher in baseball, Ingham had to choose between the sport at which his father, Darryl, had excelled -- Darryl was Manitoba Baseball senior player of the year in 1986 -- or hockey in his first midget season, when he was 15. At 6-foot-3 and 186 pounds, either sport would have been a good choice.

Watching Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price pushed Ingham to choose skates over cleats.

"[Price] is so good," Ingham said. "I try to be that calm when I'm in goal. He always arrives on time, he is always faster than the puck. I try to draw inspiration from his patience and work on some aspects to improve my game."

Beyond the style of play inspired by Price, it's Ingham's determination that makes an impression on those around him. Despite his tough season, he remains positive and spares no effort to return to the top of his game.

"I like everything about him," Richmond said. "He comes from a good family, his teammates love him and he works without stopping. He is always in the gym. He trains well in the summer, during the season, and he is serious on the ice. He has the physique of a professional goalie and he is going to be really good."

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