Bluebirds' goalie uses his athleticism to overcome lack of size in the net
Growing up in a hockey family, Jacobson had visions of being the next Sidney Crosby, the high-scoring center for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Those plans changed when the goalie on Jacobson’s youth team got hurt. Jacobson was pressed into action, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jacobson, a Parker junior, is 19-1-2 for Janesville’s high school co-op team heading into a WIAA Division 1 quarterfinal game against top-ranked and unbeaten Eau Claire Memorial. He has allowed only 30 goals on the season for a 1.34 goals against average and has posted four shutouts.
Janesville coach John Mauermann said the Bluebirds have played against some of the best goalies in the state. He said he wouldn’t trade Jacobson for any of them.
“David’s a quality goaltender,” Mauermann said. “He’s gonna come to compete every game.
“The thing about David is that we expect him to stop the puck. A lot of goaltenders look for blame when things happen or are quick to point fingers when things don’t go right. David takes it upon himself to take responsibility that his job is to stop the puck.”
At 5-foot-7, 145 pounds, Jacobson isn’t exactly an imposing force in the net. But because he’s such a good skater, and a three-sport athlete at Parker, Jacobson makes up for it with his athleticism.
Mauermann said his star goalie plays big and is rarely out of position.
“The biggest thing that David does is give us a chance to win every night,” Mauermann said. “And because David accepts responsibility, that takes the pressure off the other kids.
“The team knows that if the puck gets past our last line of defense, David’s going to be there to stop it.”
Thanks to several years of attending University of Wisconsin men’s assistant coach Bill Howard’s goalie camp, Jacobson’s all but perfected the position. His incredible balance on skates keeps him from being out of position or vulnerable to being screened in front of the net
Mauermann said Jacobson’s innate ability to follow the puck at all times allows him to keep many teams from icing the puck.
Jacobson credits Howard’s camp with instilling a simple philosophy about goaltending. Eight of Howard’s goalies at the UW have gone on to careers in the NHL—including Mike Richter, Curtis Joseph and Jim Carey.
“The first thing they tell you is that no matter what, your job is to stop the puck from going in the net,” Jacobson said. “That’s all it comes down to.”
Because of the Bluebirds’ potent offense, Jacobson’s got to sit back on more than one occasion and watch the goals pile up. He enjoys the show.
“We’ve got good forwards, and sometimes the things they do with the puck are ridiculous,” Jacobson said.
Eau Claire Memorial will present Jacobson his biggest challenge of the season. The Old Abes have scored a staggering 156 goals in 23 games for an average of nearly seven per game. Jacobson hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any game.
“Our conditioning is going to be important,” Jacobson said. “We can go hard for three periods, and I’m not sure that they (Eau Claire) have had to do that yet.
“As long as we play hard and move the puck on the big ice, we should be OK.”
And as long as David Jacobson is in goal.