By: Dan Shulman
Coming into the 2016-17 season, Boston University welcomed one of the nation’s premier recruiting classes. Four members of the U.S. National Development Program entered the fold, including goaltender Jake Oettinger.
At age 17, Oettinger is one of the youngest players in all of NCAA Division I hockey. However, the freshman plays with the attitude as if he is a veteran, showing a lot of promise through his first three games.
In his debut against Colgate on October 8, Oettinger stood tall, allowing only one goal and turning aside 29 of 30 shots he faced. But last weekend, the freshman encountered adversity for the first time as he allowed six goals in two games against a potent Denver offense.
Despite his lack of experience, Oettinger is determined to put the past behind him.
“All the guys are definitely really excited to get another couple of cracks at it this weekend,” said Oettinger. “I know I’m really excited to get back out there. It’s a couple big games for us and we’re going to be ready for them.”
Oettinger is no stranger to the lime light after a stint with reputable U.S. Under-18 Team last season. He went 25-8-1 with a .908 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average.
His experience and skill made him the first-choice net-minder for the US NTDP last season and put him in position to start at the IIHF U-18 World Championships. In four games, Oettinger put up elite numbers – 1.50 GAA and a .934 SV%.
When it comes to pressure situations, Oettinger simply isn’t phased. So naturally his transition from junior hockey to being a first-choice college goaltender has been seamless, yet there is still a lot for the youngster to learn.
“Getting to play both games last weekend was huge for me,” said Oettinger. “A couple of things I learned was how close the margin of victory is in college hockey and how one weak goal can cost you a game.
“I’m going to take everything I learned last weekend and the experience to just keep working on my game and get a little bit better every weekend.”
As the second youngest player in college hockey, Oettinger is determined not to let age get in the way of his playing abilities. Although he is 1-2-0 in his young career, Oettinger is a forward thinker who is clearly always looking to improve.
“I feel confident in my game and all the stuff I work on every day and every week,” said Oettinger.
On Thursday, BU Head Coach David Quinn announced it would be Oettinger between the pipes on Friday night against Sacred Heart. With the shot at redemption, the freshman is prepared to show, once again, that he can be one of the nation’s top goaltenders.
“I’m confident in myself and my abilities,” said Oettinger, “and I’m excited I get to prove myself again on Friday.”