It took some time, but it’s safe to say that Dallas Stars goaltending prospect Jake Oettinger is now accustomed to the change of circumstance that he found himself in this season.
The netminder for the NCAA’s Boston University Terriers is in his third year with the school, and perhaps had gotten comfortable having a certain type of team and a certain amount of talent in front of him. The Terriers were one of the nation’s top hockey programs the past two seasons, but lost their head coach (David Quinn, now the bench boss for the New York Rangers) and a number of the squad’s top skaters to the pro leagues over the summer.
The changes certainly hit BU hard, coming out of the 2018-19 gate with a losing record and the team finding themselves often outshot and outplayed. Oettinger’s ability to stop pucks likewise took a hit.
Fast forward a few months and the team is still getting outplayed on a regular basis, but they’ve pulled themselves up to a respectable 10-10-3 record thanks in large (largest?) part to their 6-foot-4, 20-year-old stopper.
The Stars’ first-round pick, 26th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has been performing some incredibly stout goaltending over the past few months, improving his save percentage on the season to a sparkling 0.925. That’s a higher number than the 0.915 he finished last season with, despite seeing the average number of shots he’s facing per game jump from 29 to 33.
Making matters more impressive is that Oettinger started 22 consecutive games for the Terriers, with this past Saturday being the only game all season that he hasn’t started. To say that he’s been a workhorse for his club would be an understatement.
Drafting and developing goaltenders is never simple, but the Stars must be quite happy with how well Oettinger is coming along for them.
North American Juniors
Riley Tufte picked up two assists in two games for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, including one from this powerful wrap-around:
Kamloops Blazers forward Jermaine Loewen had three goals and one assist over two weekend games, mostly through confidence and hard work around opposing nets.
Ty Dellandrea scored one goal and one assist in two games with the Flint Firebirds. He’s on a nice little tear with Flint lately, scoring 17 points over his past 10 games. He’s also second in the entire OHL when it comes to face-offs taken.
Guelph Storm forward Liam Hawel had one goal and one assist in a game on Friday before being held off the score sheet on Saturday, snapping his point-scoring streak at seven games.
Speaking of point streaks, Jason Robertson is currently on a nice six-game streak of his own, fueled by his goal and five apples in three games last week.
Curtis Douglas also added to his season point totals, adding one tally and three helpers over three contests for the Windsor Spitfires.
Jacob Peterson scored one goal for Bjorkloven last week in two games. Video footage of his goal, as well as a beautiful breakaway scoring chance immediately beforehand, can be found at this link starting at the 2:05 mark.
The brief AHL All Star break probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the Texas Stars, who enter the downtime with just one win in their past seven games, and that victory was a 5-4 nail-biter against the Stockton Heat on Friday.
Goaltending has been an issue for the team over this recent slide, with both Landon Bow and Philippe Desrosiers struggling in their starts. Bow got the win versus the Heat, but still allowed four goals on 22 shots.
The Stars did manage a couple highlight-reel goals, one from Denis Gurianov and the other from Roope Hintz, who had a difference-making three-point night against Stockton. Despite the team’s recent slide, the aforementioned forward duo have both made strong cases that they deserve to be called back up to Dallas in the near future.